Fans rush to grab new gear

As soon as campus stores opened Wednesday, Tennessee faithful flocked to the team shops to purchase the Vols' new NIKE merchandise.

Bryan Jakes didn’t get to see the high-production online reveal of Tennessee’s new NIKE uniforms Wednesday.

Unfortunately for him, the Nashville-based attorney was toiling away at his job, the grind of another day.

But don’t feel too sorry for him.

As luck would have it, that work he was completing was based in Knoxville, so when Jakes finished he popped over to the official team store inside Neyland Stadium to snatch up some of the newest NIKE gear on display.

“As soon as I got out (of work) I saw a bunch of texts from my friends. My phone had been blowing up,” Jakes said. “Everybody was real excited. They’re all pumped up about the new gear and everything, so I figured I’d come up here and check it out.”

With a handful of shirts, gym shorts and a couple of trademark Kahlil McKenzie bucket hats in tow, Jakes spoke about his appreciation for the way NIKE was able to adhere to the tradition of Tennessee’s new sartorial look. He likened the careful innovation combined with a clean, traditional appearance to what NIKE did for the uniforms of programs like Alabama and Penn State.

“It’s been working for 100 years, so you want to keep it as traditional as possible,” he said. “This southern spot is a good, traditional area. You don’t want to go Oregon with it.”

Plenty of fans like Jakes braved gray skies and intermittent rains Wednesday to snag the first wave of NIKE gear that lined the shelves inside the team stores on campus. Others, like Jennifer Yount, merely stumbled into it.

Yount’s son, Trenton, was atttending Tennessee’s orientation when she heard about the unveiling and hurried over to purchase some of the newest threads. While the incoming students learned about their new campus, parents were given time to shop around.

Big Orange Country came out in droves to purchase NIKE apparel this week.
(Danny Parker/

“It was great, and who knew when we scheduled it all this time ago that we would be here for it,” she said. “It was great. It’s been a good day.”

A steady stream of fans continued in and out of the shop inside Gate 20 throughout the day as Tennessee capitalized on the buzz permeating throughout the fan base on the switch to the Swoosh.

"It gives me goosebumps because we are a student-athlete centered athletics program ... We're very, very excited,” Tennessee director of athletics Dave Hart said. “You see the passion of our fan base on full display again (Wednesday) at our Vol Shops. You see the excitement of our alumni.”

Hart praised the rollout and NIKE’s overhaul of Tennessee’s uniforms, echoing sentiments made by many of the fans who jumped at the first chance to purchase the new merchandise.

"It takes us to another level, in my opinion, because we are now partnered with the best there is in the branding industry,” he said. “In terms of branding and marketing, nobody does it better — in any facet of the business world — than Nike does.”

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