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Former Tennessee QB Erik Ainge Roots For BYU Except This Week Versus Vols

Photo: Courtesy of Tennessee Athletics

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – In the early 2000s when message boards were the main source of information for college football diehards, anytime the Tennessee Volunteers would play on national tv, BYU fans would be buzzing about their quarterback.

Why do you ask?

From 2004-2007 Erik Ainge was the Volunteers signal-caller and BYU fans on message boards and online communities were always intrigued with him because of his famous last name.

Yes, Erik is related to BYU legend Danny Ainge. Danny is Erik’s uncle.

With the strong family connection to BYU, why didn’t Erik play for the Cougars?

“Well, how do I say this the right way? Provo, Utah, and teenager Aingey would not have probably done well together (laughs),” said Ainge.

Coming out of high school, Ainge was a heralded recruit from Hillsboro, Oregon, who had offers to many schools around the country. As his last name would suggest, he was also a good basketball player as well in high school. He had a little taste of BYU hoops back in the day.

“I went and played basketball in 2001 or 2002 when I was in high school with Austin, Danny’s oldest son. So I’ve been there before and seen it all and been around it and obviously followed BYU sports forever because of my uncle. He’s y’all’s Peyton Manning,” said Ainge.

Ainge has found a home in Knoxville where he currently hosts a sports radio program called, The Erik Ainge Show on WNML in Tennessee. Ainge was the last starting Vols quarterback to lead Tennessee to a 10-win season back in 2007.

In his four seasons with Tennessee, Ainge threw for 8,700 yards and had 72 touchdown passes. After his time at Tennessee, Ainge spent a few seasons with the New York Jets in the NFL.

Whenever he had time to catch a BYU game, he would always cheer for the Cougars because of his uncle.

“I always cheer for BYU to win, except for this week against the Vols,” Ainge said.

You can hear the full interview with Erik Ainge this Saturday from Knoxville on KSL Newsradio’s Cougar Sports Saturday beginning at 12 pm (MDT).

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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