Young Tennessee fan's homemade shirt takes off, more than 16,000 sold in official Vols store

Ryan YoungYahoo Sports Contributor
More than 16,000 Tennessee fans have preordered a young Volunteers fan's homemade shirt design after he was bullied at school. (Bryan Lynn/Getty Images)
More than 16,000 Tennessee fans have preordered a young Volunteers fan's homemade shirt design after he was bullied at school. (Bryan Lynn/Getty Images)

Just days after a young student in Florida was bullied for wearing his homemade Tennessee T-shirt to school, the university has debuted his design on an official shirt — and Vols fans are loving it.

More than 16,000 shirts have already been ordered through the VolShop, according to ESPN, and part of the proceeds will be donated to STOMP Out Bullying — a nonprofit organization that helps fight bullying nationwide.

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"As the Volunteers, the University of Tennessee believes in putting others before ourselves," Tennessee’s director of media relations Tyra Haag said, via ESPN. "We're so glad we were able to support this student, put a smile on his face and bring more orange into his life. In the true spirit of UT, alumni, fans and honorary Volunteers around the world have stepped up."

An elementary school in Altamonte Springs, Florida, put on a “College Colors Day” last week, where it encouraged students to wear their favorite team’s shirt to school. One fourth-grader, who is a huge Volunteers fan, didn’t have a shirt. So instead, he designed his own logo and pinned it onto an orange shirt.

Other students, though, made fun of him for it.

“When I told my students about this day a week before, this particular child came to me and told me that he wanted to wear a University of Tennessee shirt, but he didn’t have one. We discussed that he could wear an orange shirt to show his spirit,” his teacher, Laura Snyder, wrote on Facebook. “I was impressed that he took it one step further to make his own label. After lunch, he came back to my room, put his head on on his desk and was crying. Some girls at the lunch table next to his (who didn’t even participate in college colors day) had made fun of his sign that he had attached to his shirt. He was DEVASTATED.”

Snyder’s post, which has since gone viral, prompted Tennessee to send the student and his entire class a huge package of brand new Volunteers gear.

Now, it seems, there are plenty of Tennessee fans who want to rock the fourth-grader’s custom logo themselves.

“I am overwhelmed by the love I feel from this extended community and the pride I feel for my son,” the student’s mother wrote in a letter, which Snyder shared on Facebook. “Every comment, item sent, and action taken on behalf of my son will never be forgotten and hopefully will serve as inspiration for him throughout his life.”

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