KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Win or lose, Vol fans are in it for life.
Some of those fans take it a step further, teaching future VFLs the history of the Vols since the dawn of Vol time (that's like the 1890s).
Sound like your kind of history class? It's one anyone can take at UT. "Tennessee Football: From Bob Neyland to Jeremy Pruitt" is a three week non-credit class put on by the University of Tennessee. It covers more than 121 football seasons and 1,260 games.
Tom Mattingly leads the course, even though he's technically retired.
"I'm a retired sports writer," he said. "I retired from UT twice."
Mattingly's not done working yet.
"I've written six books since 1998 and it's been a lot of fun," he said.
Those books are all about the Vols, including one of the most famous Vols of them all.
"He said, 'I'd like you to write the official Archie-authorized Peyton Manning collegiate biography,' and I said, 'Well, hello," Mattingly said.
Now, after condensing years of Vol history into a three-part lecture, Mattingly is back at UT and he's teaching.
"This is the ultimate part-time job," he said.
This Vol historian has a lot of information to share.
"I'm teaching about the history of UT football from the days of Robert R. Neyland and before," Mattingly said.
And yes, he pronounces it "Nee-land."
"Not Nay-land, as some people say," Mattingly said.
This VFL is full of fun facts.
"For 50 years, Coca-Cola was the only advertiser in the stadium, over the score board," he said.
He also told his students the same ticket printers have been creating the football game tickets for more than 90 years. Even though he's teaching, Mattingly isn't done learning.
"People tell me, 'No, that's not right.' We argue about it, and most of the time they're right," he said.
From former players to super fans, Vols of all ages have sat through his Tuesday night lectures. He's just glad to talk about what he loves.
This year's team doesn't look like it'll make the dean's list, but each season is another chapter to Mattingly's lesson plan.
The lecture series ended Tuesday night, but Mattingly plans to teach it again next fall.