- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: It Books; First Edition edition (August 18, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0061719269
- ISBN-13: 978-0061719264
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #694,352 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $8.13 shipping
On Rocky Top: A Front-Row Seat to the End of an Era Hardcover – August 18, 2009
The Amazon Book Review
Discover what to read next through the Amazon Book Review. Learn more.
Frequently bought together
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
“Clay Travis’s On Rocky Top is the best book on college football I’ve read in a generation. A truly masterful look at the passion, intensity and--quite often--insanity of America’s unofficial national pastime. If you love college football, you’ll love this book.” (Jeff Pearlman, New York Times bestselling author of Boys Will Be Boys and The Bad Guys Won!)
“On Rocky Top combines the fan’s passion of Fever Pitch with the inside access of A Season on the Brink. The result is a compelling portrait of one of the SEC’s premier football programs—and one of college football’s most beloved coaches. A must-read for every sports fan.” (Warren St. John, nationally bestselling author of Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer and Refugees United)
From the Back Cover
There is no college football team more zealous and competitive than the University of Tennessee Volunteers
When Clay Travis, acclaimed author of Dixieland Delight, decided to spend the 2008 season up close and personal with UT football, he—and every other college football aficionado—thought he was in for a rollicking ride with one of the leading contenders for the national title. After all, when the Vols kicked off the season on September 1, the defending SEC East champions were ranked 18th in the country. As head coach Phillip Fulmer prepared for the game, he reflected upon a coaching career that included an astounding 147 victories, two SEC championships, and a national title. With 34 years at UT under his belt as both a player and coach, the Tennessee native had just signed a contract extension that projected to keep him at the university long enough to become the winningest coach in program history.
But when the Volunteers lost their season opener and the losses continued to mount, it became clear that 2008 was going to be a season on the brink for UT football. By December, the team had suffered its second-worst season ever, and Fulmer, the most beloved and recognized man in Tennessee, had been fired.
Based on exclusive interviews with Fulmer, UT athletic director Mike Hamilton, university boosters, team personnel, players and their families, and fans, On Rocky Top recounts in vivid detail how a season of promise tragically ended an era of college football. Enlivening the narrative is a diverse cast of supporting characters, including 65-year-old "Good Time" Charlie Harris, who has driven the UT big rig for almost 10 years; star running back Arian Foster, a fifth-year senior striving to become the all-time leading rusher in Volunteer history; and multimillionaire booster John "Thunder" Thornton, who defended Fulmer till the end.
A lifelong Volunteer fan whose grandfather played for the team during the 1930s, Travis reports from the locker room to the sideline, and has created a fascinating and loving chronicle of an impassioned state, a celebrated football culture, a beloved coach, and the sensational collapse of a once-mighty juggernaut.
Browse award-winning titles. See more
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
When writer Clay Thomas agreed to write a book chronicling the season of the 2008 UT Volunteers football season, he had visions of a trip to Atlanta for the SEC title game and possibly the chance to celebrate the 10th anniversay for the 1998 national title by competiting for another one. Instead, what he got was the story of a season in turmoil and a program at a crossroads. And all of that is chronicled in his new book, "On Rocky Top: A Front-Row Seat to the End of an Era."
Thomas' chronicle of the 2008 season from a fan turned journalist perspective is a fascinating one. It may be hard for a lot of UT fans (myself included) to relive the horror that was last year. Thomas has some fascinating insights in the book, including one that stated he felt more comfortable in the stands, pulling for the team than he did on the sidelines watching as things unfolded. He also examines some of the aspects of the passionate fans--both himself and others--wondering if they know how the players view the games they play each Saturday and the impact what they say and how they act have on the players. Thomas talks to Arian Foster and his family at several points in the unfolding narrative, looking at how Foster entered the season with the chance to become the leading rusher in UT history and ended the season as a goat of sorts and possibly having his chances for an NFL career go up in flames.
But make no mistake that the focus of this book is Fulmer. Fulmer began the season as the dean of SEC coaches and was facing a crossroads. Despite making it to the title game three times in a decade, the Vols hadn't won an SEC title since 1998. He was also bringing in a new offensive coordinator, who was told he would be the next guy with Fulmer decided to retire in a few years.
And then the season began with a road loss to LSU and quickly spiralled out of control, leading to the moment when ahtletic director Mike Hamilton felt the time had come to replace Fulmer. One interesting chapter shows two boosters and their views on Fulmer and why he should be either allowed to stay and given time to right the ship or why he should be removed as head coach. Both sides have some interesting arguements and, in the end, it comes down to a decision of whether to go with your head or your heart in keeping or firing Fulmer. Hamilton looked at the bottom line with declining attendance and the lack of a bowl game on the horizon and made the call.
The chronicle of what happened is peppered by personal observations by Travis, wondering whye he cares so much about the team and its successes or failures. He also examines the growing trend of bloggers and Internet chat rooms, discussing not only Fulmer but also the players and their impact. And, along the way, Travis litters in some history of the Vols--not only their history as a team, but his own moments that defined him as a Vols fan.
Oh and he calls Urban Meyer a midgit wrestler, too. Pure gold, if you hate all things Florida.
The book weaves in stories of the impact Fulmer had both on the field and and off it. And it also makes you wonder if UT didn't sell out the last little bit of its old soul and that of the old SEC to try and become a national powerhouse by hiring Lane Kiffin.
If you've a UT fan, this is a must read. But I think the story and observations go deeper than that. If you're an SEC football fan or a college football fan, this is essential reading. The questions about the cost and price of winning and being a national powerhouse are shaking as well as the implications of the new hires at various schools around the SEC. Travis argues that a part of the identity of the South was lost when Fulmer was fired becuase he truly was one of the last of the old guard who attended the school he coached at and cares passionately about the program beyond the wins and losses. Again, read the chapters on the trainers or the man who drives the equipment to and from road games to see how Fulmer was more than just the guy who coached the team on Saturday afternoons and how great a loss his firing truly will be to the UT program long term.
Travis asks some hard questions and offers no easy answers in the book. But if you want to really get inside the program and understand a bit more of all that went on last year, then this is a must read.
We get it, you are obsessed with football and you live and die with your team. We also understand that you have matured since "Dixieland Delight" was published now that you have a son. Please stop hitting us over the head with it. Too many of the same stories and themes popped up throughout the book. For example, Travis points out at least twice that his grandfather told him to never cry over a football game after UT loss to Alabama in 1992. Furthermore, the theme of fans taking it more serious than the players was touched on so many times that by the end of the book, it felt like pure filler.
That being said, this book is a must read for any college football fan, especially if their allegiance is a team within the Southeastern Conference. Travis does point out how the SEC has grown from a regional attraction into a national phenomenon and how this has changed the SEC. His portrayal of Fulmer as on old relic from a time when SEC schools were coached by former players of the school and not the likes of "mercenaries" such as Nick Saban and Urban Meyer effectively drives this point home. The reader is able to witness the evolution of the SEC and the "win now" attitude of the fan base and administration through the dismissal of Fulmer towards the end of the season. When Travis touched on these points, the book was great. Also, the chapter detailing Travis' travels with the UT truck driver, Charlie, was excellent writing. However, with all due respect to Travis, I purchased this book in order to get a "front row seat" to UT's 2008 football season, not a sideline pass to Travis' internal psychiatric visit discussing the pro and cons of his obsession with UT football ad nauseum.