KODAK, Tenn. — They have long memories on Rocky Top.
Lane Kiffin has never been particularly popular at the University of Tennessee since his lone season as the Volunteers’ football coach in 2009. He led the Vols to a 7-6 record before infamously bolting for the University of Southern California.
They still remember that in eastern Tennessee.
The Tennessee Smokies, a Double-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs based east of Knoxville in the city of Kodak, held a promotion with Kiffin in mind. Fans had the chance to throw mustard bottles at an image of Kiffin, who is currently the head coach at the University of Mississippi, AL.com reported.
Lane Kiffin is not welcome in Tennessee. pic.twitter.com/gXyKFzkcwb— Tennessee Smokies (@smokiesbaseball) August 28, 2022
A plastic skeleton in a chair with a printout of Kiffin’s face -- wearing Ole Miss gear, of course -- was propped on the sidelines, and some sharp-armed kids made the most of their chance.
The mustard bottle wrinkle flashes back to last year’s game at Neyland Stadium between Tennessee and Ole Miss.
With under a minute left and Ole Miss leading 31-26, the Vols faced fourth-and-24 from the Tennessee 36, AL.com reported. Hendon Hooker completed a pass to Jacob Warren for 23 yards to the Ole Miss 41. The play was reviewed as it appeared there was a chance Warren had stretched far enough to make a first down, but after a review, the play came up short.
Upset and unruly Tennessee fans began hurling various items on the field as Kiffin and Ole Miss exited the field. Infamously, a bottle of yellow mustard was one of the items thrown on the turf, the Clarion-Ledger of Jackson reported. Kiffin also was nearly hit with a golf ball, which he picked up and showed an official, according to the newspaper.
“It’s an emotional game and fans are emotional, but you never expect something like that, to see all that stuff come flying out of the stands,” Kiffin told ESPN after the game. “I got hit with a golf ball, but at least whoever threw it was smart enough to throw a dirty range ball.”
“There were a number of bottles with some brown stuff in them,” Kiffin added. “I’m not sure what it was. It probably wasn’t moonshine. They probably wouldn’t waste moonshine on me.”
During SEC Media Days in July, Kiffin signed a mustard bottle for a fan, AL.com reported.
“That was the first guy to come up, which I think he had an Alabama shirt, so I was a little confused there,” Kiffin said at the time. “So, I have signed a lot of mustard bottles and golf balls.
“It’s been a unique offseason.”
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