Sunday, September 25, 2011

Was the obsession over Derek Dooley's orange pants inspired by Kenny Chesney?

Tennessee's loss to Florida on Sept. 17 has failed to stop the growing obsession over the orange pants worn by Vols' head football coach Derek Dooley. The pair of pants has its own 25,000-plus member Facebook page, as well as the inevitable Twitter account, featuring it's own set of General Neyland-esque Maxims. Now comes the awful truth that Tennessee fans may have to thank metrosexual country music star, BFF of Peyton Manning, and hated enemy of college sport bloggers Kenny Chesney for His Hairness' inspiration to don the orange trousers.

Coach Dooley says his inspiration for wearing the pants came from watching "The Color Orange: The Condredge Holloway Story," which told the story of the first African-American starting quarterback in the SEC. It featured footage of former Tennessee  coach Bill Battle wearing orange trousers.

"Holloway's coach, Bill Battle, would occasionally wore orange pants, but his game outfit of choice was an orange shirt with a tie and slacks of a more conservative color. His successor, Johnny Majors, wore orange polyester pants, a white polo-style shirt with orange collar, a white belt and white shoes to games during the first few years of his Tennessee career, which stretched from 1977-92, but opted for a suit for games later in his career.

"There's nothing better than old footage," Dooley said. "I just remember seeing the old footage of the coaches out there and they all had orange pants on. So I asked (team equipment manager Roger Frazier) if he could get a pair of orange pants. He didn't think I'd wear them. He thought I was wasting my money."

The Color Orange aired earlier this year on ESPN.  It was produced by Chesney, who has a reputation of being an all-around college football jock-sniffer aficionado. So, he can apparently take some credit for a fashion craze and internet meme that's gotten completely out of hand.

And on top of that, Chesney has also helped bolster the bottom line of Knoxville clothier John H. Daniel, who made the original pair of trousers for Dooley. The company sells versions of the pants ranging from $199 to $399, depending on the fabric used. (Apparently dying wool orange is a tricky business)

"Because all of the pants are custom made, the turn around on them is about three weeks. That means the Tennessee fans who ordered theirs immediately after the season opener will get their first chance to wear them at Neyland Stadium on Oct. 1, when the Vols (2-1) host Buffalo.

The company has taken so many orders, Taylor can't keep up with the number. Since receiving a mention during CBS's broadcast of the Tennessee-Florida game, orders have come in from as far away as California.

"I didn't know what to expect," Taylor said. "On game day when he first wore them, my phone was blowing up."

Who knew that Kenny Chesney and Derek Dooley would turn out to be helping out the economy?

(via The Houston Chronicle)

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