The city of Knoxville seems fired up about welcoming music icon Dolly Parton into Neyland Stadium this Saturday when the No. 18 Vols host No. 1 Georgia.
That includes Tennessee football head coach Josh Heupel and Tennessee baseball head coach Tony Vitello.
While Heupel’s focus this week is certainly on the daunting task of upsetting the top-ranked team in front of 100,000 screaming fans, the third-year Tennessee head coach did acknowledge Parton’s attendance during press conferences this week.
“I think it’s the first time we’ve been back home for an SEC game inside Neyland Stadium in over a month. Looking forward to our fans, seeing them there on Saturday. Need a great atmosphere. Dolly’s gonna be there as well, so my mom will be excited about that one,” Heupel said on Monday with a grin.
Parton will be in attendance on Saturday as fans hope for her to lead her rendition of “Rocky Top” at some point during the game. Heupel knows that with the icon Dolly Parton coming into town, there might even be some raised pressure during the game.
“Anytime Dolly’s gonna be around it certainly adds pressure, absolutely, to our performance,” Heupel said on Monday with a big laugh. “For Tennesseans, that’s, you know, one that everybody will enjoy seeing.”
— Tennessee Football (@Vol_Football) November 13, 2023
Parton’s latest project, Rockstar, dropped on Thursday to the excitement of many Tennessee fans, Tennesseeans, and music fans alike. Her latest 30-song album explores different eras of music with several covers and a long, long list of famous musicians and bands that are featured on the songs: Wrecking Ball with Miley Cyrus, Free Bird with Lynyrd Skynyrd, Open Arms with Steve Perry, and more. Parton also released a Tennessee-themed special edition of the album that includes a live version of Rocky Top.
Heupel wasn’t the only Tennessee coach to mention Parton’s arrival this week, either. During a press conference on Thursday to dive into a recap of fall ball, Tennessee baseball head coach Tony Vitello revealed his excitement for Saturday and added in a funny, recent story about Parton.
“The whole week is insane,” Vitello said on Thursday. “We got all kinds of stuff going on, so I’m glad you asked. I don’t know where to start. I mean, if you’re gonna start, I think you start with Dolly Parton. She was on the Howard Stern Show yesterday. I called in to a radio show for the first time in my life to try and let her know how much she does for the state of Tennessee. Uh, I got rejected. So maybe I’ll get to say hello to her in person. The Kansas City Chiefs can have Taylor Swift all they want. We’ll take Dolly Parton on Saturday.”
“The Kansas City Chiefs can have Taylor Swift all they want, we’ll take Dolly Parton”
Tennessee HC Tony Vitello mentions Dolly Parton, Howard Stern, Taylor Swift, and Todd Helton all in one answer.
Check this one out ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/Q3iCg8trrh
— Rocky Top Insider (@rockytopinsider) November 16, 2023
Tennessee will need all the help that Dolly Parton can offer on Saturday afternoon. The Vols (7-3) will host Georgia (10-0) this weekend in Neyland Stadium as Tennessee looks to knock off a No. 1 ranked team for the first time since 1985. Tennessee and Georgia will kick off at 3:30 p.m. ET in Neyland Stadium as the game will be broadcast on CBS.