Kenny Chesney to tell Condredge Holloway story

Tue, Feb 15

Kenny Chesney turns 43 in about a month.

But Wednesday, the country music superstar will turn back into a 6-year-old boy playing football in his backyard trying to emulate the University of Tennessee stars he remembered seeing while growing up in eastern Tennessee.

Chesney will be in Knoxville to premiere his recently produced and directed ESPN documentary "The Color Orange: The Condredge Holloway Story."

That's the story of Condredge Holloway, a star quarterback at the University of Tennessee from 1971-74 and the first starting African-American quarterback in the Southeastern Conference.

Both will be walking the "orange" carpet Wednesday, along with other greats from past Tennessee teams.

"It's like going back and seeing all my idols. I'm going to have a lot of goose bumps," said Chesney, who used to wear Holloway's No. 7 tear-away jersey while playing as a kid. "I have many musical heroes, but going back as a kid, my heroes played for the Tennessee Volunteers. It's going to be a special night."

Chesney was approached to do the movie after ESPN executives saw a scene in Chesney's recent documentary "The Boys of Fall" in which Chesney was talking with Holloway. ESPN saw the great rapport between the two and asked Chesney to do a whole new show about the relationship. Chesney immediately came on board. Holloway heard about the project and said, "As long as Kenny is in charge of it, I'll do it."

So the two collaborated and created the documentary to talk about their relationship and life as a Tennessee Volunteer in the early 1970s. There is no bigger fan of the Volunteers than Chesney.

"As kids, we'd watch Holloway on TV and then try to do what he did. It didn't matter that he was black. Yes, I know there were race issues all over, but not in my family and friends," Chesney said. "I didn't have a grandfather who said, 'Why do you like this guy?' I even wore his jersey for a school picture. My teachers, my school -- we all loved Condredge."

Fans can watch the televised debut of "The Color Orange: The Condredge Holloway Story" on Sunday at 8 p.m. on ESPN.

After that, Chesney heads back on the road for another tour.

"As a songwriter, you search for inspiration in so many different ways," he said. "I didn't know before I got into these documentaries that sports would have fed my soul as much as this has."