The 2007–08 school year was a great one to be a Tennessee Vol.
It will be long be remembered as the greatest overall basketball season in Tennessee history thanks in large part to the heroics of an outstanding senior class that included JaJuan Smith, Chris Lofton, Alexis Hornbuckle and Candace Parker.
Pat Summitt further solidified her place as college basketball's finest coach, and Bruce Pearl officially resurrected the once dormant Volunteer basketball program.
It's frankly undeniable that this season Thompson Boling Arena moved ahead of Neyland Stadium as the most intimidating place to play on campus.
The football Vols held their own, however, and overcame an early season rout in Gainesville to win the SEC East and earn a trip to Atlanta. It's doubtful that Erik Ainge will be remembered as fondly as his basketball counterpart Chris Lofton, but the senior quarterback certainly restored dignity to a program that lost its way just two years ago.
Here are the top 10 moments from the Volunteer season that was.
10) Linebacker Jerod Mayo drafted 10th overall
Junior Jerod Mayo, who contemplated staying for his senior season, steadily climbed NFL draft boards after his impressive pre-draft workouts. His draft stock apparently peaked on Draft Day when the defending AFC champion New England Patriots selected him with the 10th overall pick.
Mayo became the first Vol selected in the top-ten since John Henderson was drafted 9th overall in the 2002 draft. NFL brass were said to be most impressed with Mayo's intelligence and work ethic.
9) Vols manhandle Bulldogs
Amid controversy over a Knoxville News Sentinel article that questioned the program's direction and quoted several former players, the Vols whipped Georgia 35–14 after taking an early 28–0 lead.
The win became more impressive as the season developed because the Bulldogs did not lose again and finished the season ranked second in the country.
8)Lofton sets SEC career 3-point mark
Though overshadowed by his team's success, Chris Lofton shot his way into college basketball history during the 2007–08 season. His 431 career 3-pointers rank first in SEC history and 3rd in NCAA history. Lofton left UT owning almost every 3-point record imaginable including most in a game, a season and a career.
7) Scotty Hopson signs with UT
McDonald's All-American Scotty Hopson signing with the Vols was significant on a number of levels. First, it provides a replacement for Chris Lofton at the shooting guard position next season, but more importantly it proves that Bruce Pearl is also a force to be reckoned with on the recruiting trail.
Kentucky's AP High School Basketball Player of the year signing with Tennessee is a sign that Volunteer basketball has arrived.
6) Candace Parker drafted 1st overall
National Player of the Year Candace Parker was drafted 1st overall in the 2008 WNBA Draft by the L.A. Sparks. The rest of the Lady Vols starting five was also drafted including Alexis Hornbuckle with the fourth overall pick.
5) Rubin Williams breaks Gatlin's 200-meter record, fourteen-time All-America
Sprinter Rubin Williams won his first national title and in doing so broke Justin Gatlin's school record in the 200-meter dash. Williams 20.36 time in the 200-meter was one of the fastest times in the world and gave him his 13th All-America honor, also a school record. He would go on to win his 14th All-America award later in the spring.
4) Vols outlast Kentucky in 4-OT Thriller to win SEC East
Erik Ainge set a school record with seven touchdown passes en route to a 52–50 victory in Lexington that earned the Vols a trip to the SEC Championship. Senior Antonio Reynolds sniffed out Wildcats' quarterback André Woodson in the backfield on a two-point conversion attempt to seal the deal for the Big Orange.
The win preserved one of college football's longest win streaks with Tennessee beating Kentucky for the 23rd consecutive time.
3) Vols win first SEC regular season title since 1967
Bruce Pearl's stated goal from the beginning of the season was to win the school's first regular season SEC title since 1967. The Vols overcame a 16-point deficit in Gainesville to do just that with an 89–86 win over the Gators behind strong performances from seniors Chris Lofton and JaJuan Smith.
2) Win in Memphis propels UT to No. 1 ranking
Call it what you want, but then second-ranked Tennessee's matchup with cross state rival and top-ranked Memphis was rightfully billed as the biggest basketball game ever played in the state of Tennessee.
The game lived up to the hype as Tennessee rallied late for the win in front of the largest viewing audience for a college basketball game in ESPN history. Though the Vols reign at number one was short lived it ushered in a new era for Tennessee basketball and marked the first time the Vols basketball squad had held the top spot in the country.
1) Lady Vols win eighth national championship
It's become old hat for Pat Summitt, but the Lady Vols second consecutive national championship was every bit as impressive as the first seven. Candace Parker fought through a shoulder injury and established her place alongside Chamique Holdsclaw as one of the greatest women's basketball players of all time.
When her team needed her the most, senior Nicky Anosike responded with arguably the best game of her collegiate career as she put up 12 points, eight rebounds and six steals in the championship game.