The hype is real: Trennie Williams has now been named the Ultimate Lady Vols Fan.
Williams, a freshman in journalism and electronic media and a trumpet player in the Pride of the Southland Band, earned his title at the Lady Vols-Notre Dame basketball game when he was given the opportunity to substitute for a trumpet player in the Lady Vols Pep Band.
"The game was hyped up and there was a tailgate and everything, so I came as the 'ultimate' fan," Williams said. "I painted my face and wore my first version of the super fan costume."
After participating in some relay races, winning a Lady Vols goody bag and frequenting the Jumbotron screen, Williams was admired by UT Athletics Vol Reporter Sara Mitchell on Twitter, sparking a social media frenzy in Williams' honor.
"I attended every home game I could after that, getting recognized by the whole fan base, student section and news reporters," Williams said. "I felt it was now my duty to attend the games and get hype, pump up the crowd, and cheer on the Lady Vols."
Nick Chafin, a video producer for the UT Video and Photography Center, also noticed Williams and subsequently asked him to be the star of upcoming hype video "Big Orange Friday: What Day is it?"
"He kind of embodies the entire Volunteer spirit," Chafin said.
The video will be released Wednesday to promote the Big Orange Friday initiative, which asks all UT supporters to don orange every Friday, year round.
The video will also feature cameos by Butch Jones, Smokey, students from SGA and students from a management class taught by Debbie Mackey, senior lecturer.
"I felt like a movie star," Williams said. "They felt that I was the perfect person to do it because I don't have any shame and I'm not self-conscious. Dancing around in front of the torchbearer decked out in orange and white is just me being myself."
Already heavily involved with the band, Williams also disk jockeys for WUTK 90.3 under the name DJ Allstate. Next year, he will serve as a 2014 Welcome Leader and a mentoree in the Multicultural Center Mentor Program.
Sam Gilliam, sophomore in special education, plays trumpet alongside Williams in the Pride of the Southland Band. Gilliam said that although Williams' infectious energy can be alarming upon first encounter, people are inevitably drawn to his natural charisma and enthusiasm.
"People want to be around him and talk to him because he has a genuine love for life," Gilliam said. "He puts in so much work, (is) always early to band and (is always) giving 110 percent at every game.
"... He leads by example and really embodies the Volunteer personality."
Williams favorite aspect of his newly acquired title is the recognition he receives from Volunteer fans. Once, a fan asked him to pose for a photo with her baby in his arms.
"I love putting a smile on the fans' faces," Williams said. "My dance moves and loud outbursts seem to be everyone's favorite. Everyone anticipates what I do when a song comes on or when the opponent is at the free throw line. I'm the ultimate distraction."
Surprisingly, Williams was never a Vols fan until he arrived at UT. Born and raised in Memphis, Tenn., Williams grew up preferring the Memphis Tigers.
"Before I enrolled to the University of Tennessee, I had nothing to do with the color orange," Williams said. "I was all about the blue my whole life."
But now, Williams is a certified "die hard" orange supporter.
"No one can know the difference from me and a lifelong fan."