KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The effort to rebuild Tennessee football into a championship level program got a boost from a guy who has won back-to-back NBA titles.
Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra spent Wednesday in Knoxville, visiting with the UT football team.
"Anytime you can bring an individual like Erik Spolestra, with the stature he brings, to come in and spend an entire day with your football program, it means everything," said Tennessee head coach Butch Jones.
"He is a first class individual with high character. He loves college football. He's a winner. He doesn't have a lot of time-off and for him to come to Knoxville and spend a whole day with our football team means a lot."
Jones and Spoelstra have developed a friendship in recent years. In June, Jones went to Miami to watch the Heat beat San Antonio in Game 7 of the NBA finals.
Tennessee players were impressed.
"It's so cool for me. I've watched him," said Tennessee tight end Brendan Downs.
"I've kept up with the NBA playoffs for the past three years really. The Heat, the whole team, it's really awesome."
Vols receiver Justin Croom said he is a Detroit Pistons fan, but was appreciative of the visit by Spoelstra.
"It was real nice to just have someone come in here and teach us how to win and we're going to take a lot from him," said Croom.
"Of course I kept up with him throughout the playoffs but like I said, I'm a Detroit Pistons fan."