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Expert says UT fan uproar over Schiano hire is a 'sign of the changing times'

A Tennessee fan holds a sign reading "No Schiano!" during a gathering of Tennessee fans reacting to the possibility of hiring Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano for its head coaching vacancy Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017, in Knoxville, Tenn. (Calvin Mattheis/Knoxville News Sentinel via AP)

The University of Tennessee- Knoxville is still recovering from a major fan fallout over the next coach of the Vols football team.

Leaders scrapped a deal with Greg Schiano following outrage and uproar on social media.

David Dahlroos, managing owner at Pastime and proud UT alum said he's noticed more empty seats in his Germantown restaurant on game days as the Vols trudged through a dismal season, starting with the loss to the University of Florida. Pastime is the host of the official watch parties for alumni.

"Georgia Tech was the first game," Dahlroos said. "Everybody was pumped. We probably had 300, 400, 500 people in here, and it steadily started going down."

The firing of Butch Jones brought new hope for fans wanting to turn things around, until it was announced Sunday Ohio State Defensive Coordinator Greg Schiano had been picked for the job.

Vol nation didn't like that, making their feelings loud and clear on social media, and leaders listened.

"In a lot of ways, this is unprecedented," FOX 17 Sports anchor Dave Foster said. "There haven't been a lot of situations where fans put pressure on the administration and then the administration backed out of a coach they had agreed to hire."

Joseph Bamber is a Visiting Professor at Lipscomb University's School of Business, specializing in social media and marketing. He said the way this played out is a reflection of the changing times.

"I think it's empowering people in a way," Bamber said. "They've never had a voice before, and it's effecting companies, governments, and sports organizations as well...One of the things I've seen is the more extreme the emotion behind something, the stronger this viral effect," he continued.

What's next for the UT football program is still up in the air.

Foster mentioned it could be someone with ties to the university, whether it be a former coach or player, and that could be a real rallying force for Vol fans.


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