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Big crowd, little controversy greet Saban's arrival in Tennessee

EVAN WOODBERY, GOVOLSXTRA • Jun 11, 2013 at 11:17 PM

ATHENS, Tenn. — The local chamber of commerce was flooded with angry emails, threatened with boycotts and besieged with publicity after it invited Alabama coach Nick Saban to its annual benefit dinner.

In the end, Saban’s arrival produced a record-setting crowd and little controversy.

The Athens Area Chamber sold 1,500 tickets — many to out-of-state fans — and flooded the tiny campus of Tennessee Wesleyan College with crimson on Tuesday night.

“Not only will this be a record attendance,” said Murray Willis, the chamber’s chairman, “it will be the only time we’re on ESPN.com.”

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