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Happy Birthday - March 17

We've got five Big Orange birthdays to celebrate on this St. Patrick's Day 2015! Today, we're wishing a happy birthday to football linebackers coach Tommy Thigpen as well as VFLs Cordarrelle Patterson and Robert Lee Suffridge. Also, today is the birthday of women's basketball's Bashaara Graves and soccer's Carlyn Baldwin

Coach Thigpen is heading into his third year at linebackers coach at the University of Tennessee. He has played and coached in seven bowl games over his career, including the Vols' 2015 Tax Slayer Bowl victory back in January. He has been considered one of the top recruiters in the country on multiple occasions, named National Recruiter of the Year by Rivals.com back in 2013. 

Tommy Thigpen

A current wideout for the Minnesota Vikings, Patterson played just one season for Tennessee back in 2012 but made an immediate and memorable impact. In 12 starts, he racked up a school-record 1,858 all-purpose yards and ranked first in the SEC. He notched 10 total touchdowns on the year, doing so in four different ways: receiving, rushing, kick return, and punt return. He was selected as the 29th overall pick of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings. 



Bob Suffridge played football at UT from 1938-40 and collected All-America honors in all three years. A two-way player, "Suff" was dominant on both sides of the ball and helped the Volunteers to a 30-0 record during his time on Rocky Top. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1941, but his professional career was shortened due to his service in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Suffridge was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1961.

Bob Suffridge

A junior from Clarksville, Tennessee, Graves and her Lady Vol teammates are gearing up for another NCAA Tournament run when they face Boise State at Thompson-Boling Arena on Saturday. This season, Graves is averaging 10.1 points per game to go along with 6.8 boards per contest. She has seven double-doubles to her  name in 2014-15 and became the 40th Lady Vol to surpass 1,000 career points when she scored 17 in a win over Mississippi State.

Bashaara  Graves

A midfielder from Oakton, Virginia, Baldwin played in 21 games and saw 20 starts as a true freshman in 2014. She scored one goal and notched two assists on the season. Prior to arriving at UT, she traveled with the U.S. Under-20 Women's National Team to the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup -- one of three incoming college freshmen to be named to the team.

Carlyn Baldwin


Happy Birthday - March 16

On March 16 we're wishing a happy birthday to freshman rower Katherine Pearson

Katherine Pearson

A native of Garden City, New York, Pearson is a member of the novice squad. At Pomfret School, she was a member of the varsity rowing team, squash team, and cross country team. She is majoring in business at UT and turns 19 years old today.

Happy birthday, Katherine!


Happy Birthday - March 15

On the heels of this weekend's NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships -- and on the brink of the 2015 outdoor season, which begins on Thursday -- we have a quartet of Tennessee track and field birthdays to report on this day. Today we're celebrating the birthdays of junior thrower Cameron Brown, junior pole vaulter Jake Blankenship, freshman cross country and middle distance runner Drew Kelley, and VFL from the throws Aslynn Halvorson. Today is also the birthday of rowing's Natalie Tavares

Brown is the 2015 SEC Indoor Champion in the men's weight throw after turning in a winning effort of 74 feet, 1.75 inches (22.60 meters) two weeks ago in Lexington. He was just the second Volunteer in the conference's history to win the event. He is also the current school record-holder in the men's weight throw, having broken Garland Porter's 11-year-old record with a throw of 76 feet, 8.50 inches (23.38) back in February. 

Cameron  Brown

Blankenship is blowing out the candles just two days removed from a silver-medal performance in the men's pole vault at the 2015 NCAA Indoor Championships. He set a new lifetime-best in the event with a vault of 19 feet, 0.25 inches (5.80 meters). That mark is the second-best in program history and also stands as the second-best mark for a runner-up finisher in NCAA history. He has earned indoor first team All-America honors for the second time in his career on Rocky Top. 

Jake  Blankenship

Kelley is in the midst of his first season with the Tennessee track and field program, hailing from Roswell, Georgia. Just two weekend's ago, he set a new personal best in the mile at the 2015 SEC Indoor Track and Field Championships with a time of 4:21.12. 

Drew  Kelley

Halvorson competed in the throws for UT from 2010-14, notching marks in the indoor shot put and weight throw as well as the outdoor shot put, hammer throw, and discus. She ranks seventh all-time at UT in the outdoor shot put (52-5.5/15.99) and is ninth in the discus (169-9/51.75). She owns a degree in kinesiology from Tennessee.

Aslynn Halvorson

A sophomore from Fonthill, Ontario, Tavares has logged two seasons with the varsity rowing squad. This season, she was part of the shell that placed fourth in Women's Cup 8+ at the Head of the Hooch race with a time of 16 minutes, 26.4 seconds. She earned gold during the women's 2- with partner Thomson behind a time of 21 minutes, 20.9 seconds. She is an accounting major at UT.

Natalie Tavares

Happy birthday Cameron, Jake, Aslynn, and Natalie! 


7822554.jpeg
Tennessee Baseball made national headlines following a record-setting win over the No. 3-ranked Florida Gators on Friday night, propelled by an 8.0 no-hit inning performance from starting senior Bret Marks.
Marks' 8.0 innings established a new career high for the righthander, as he did not allow a hit until the top of the ninth inning in Gainesville against the Gators. He threw 101 total pitches and struck out eight batters en route to earning the win.

The Vols' offense produced another record feat, blasting four home runs against Florida's starting pitcher Logan Shore, who was 3-0 with a 0.00 ERA entering Friday's contest. Three of UT's homers came in the first inning, led by junior A.J. Simcox's solo homer to left field to snap Shore's 23.2 scoreless innings streak to start the season. The home run was the first of Simcox's career as a Vol and paved the way for sophomore Nathaniel Maggio, who later hit a two-run shot over the right field wall for his first-ever homer in a Tennessee uniform. To top off the first frame, designated hitter Andrew Lee laced one off of the right field foul pole, giving Tennessee a 4-0 advantage in the first inning. Maggio and Lee became the first pair to hit back-to-back homers for UT since May 18, 2010. 

Capping off the Tennessee slugfest was cleanup batter Christin Stewart, who sent one sailing over the right field wall again in the third to make it a UT 5-0 lead. Stewart's home was his team-leading fourth of the year.
Entering Friday night's game against Florida, Tennessee's offense had knocked four home runs all season before knocking four against Florida's Shore alone.

With a near no-hit effort and an incredible display of offense against the Gators, here's a look at the recent headlines made for Bret Marks and Tennessee Baseball:
- VIDEO: SEC Network/ESPN: Vols top Gators in SEC Opener, 6-3
- Knoxville News Sentinel: Vols Power Past Florida, 6-3

Happy Birthday - March 14

Today we're wishing a happy birthday to soccer's Anna Bialczak and to football VFL Deon Grant!

Born this day in 1996, Bialczak redshirted her first true freshman season in 2014. She is a native of Lutherville, Maryland, and attended McDonough High School, leading it to three IAAM Championships. She was an NSCAA Fall High School Girls All-American in both 2012 and 2013 and in the spring of 2014 she played with the U.S. U-18 Women's National Team in the 10 Nations Tournament in La Manga, Spain. 

Anna Bialczak

Grant starred at defensive back on Tennessee's undefeated 1998 national championship squad. A safety from Augusta, Georgia, Grant played at UT from 1997-99. His leaping, one-handed interception in UT's overtime win over Florida proved crucial in the Vols' march to the BCS National Championship in 1998, and in 1999 he earned consensus first team All-America honors. He was drafted by the Carolina Panthers in the second round of the 2000 NFL Draft and went on to play 12 years in the NFL with stops with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Seattle Seahawks, and New York Giants. He was a member of the Giants' Super Bowl XVLI winning squad.

Deon-Grant-vs-Eagles-11-2-08.jpg

Happy birthday, Anna and Deon!


Happy Birthday - March 13

On this Friday the 13th of March we've got five, count 'em, five birthdays to celebrate on Rocky Top. Current student athletes Candace Flemmings (rowing), Molly Hannis (women's swimming and diving), and Gustav Aberg Lejdstrom (men's swimming and diving) will each be blowing out the candles today, as will VFLs Tonya Edwards (women's basketball) and David Martin (football). 

Flemmings is a true freshman from Cary, North Carolina, and is a member of UT's novice squad. She attended Green Hope High School where she played basketball and ran track. She is 19 years old today.

Candace Flemmings

One of the senior leaders on the women's swimming and diving squad, Hannis has qualified for this month's NCAA Women's Swimming & Diving Championships. She has clocked a pair of top-three times nationally this season after earning two silver medals at the 2015 SEC Championships in late February. She ranks first in the country in the 100 breaststroke (58.42) after winning the gold medal in Greensboro last December at USA Swimming Winter Nationals and ranks third in the women's 200 breaststroke (2:06.98) after earning second place i the same pool the next night. She has collected 13 SEC medals over her storied career. Hannis is 23 years old today.

Molly Hannis

Aberg Lejdstrom is a junior from Helsinborg, Sweden. During this last season, he picked up a win in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:44.24 to open the year at UNCW. At that same meet, he anchored the 200-yard medley relay team to a first-place finish. He earned three A final appearances at the Nike Cup in the 100 free, 200 free, and 100 fly. He turns 23 years old today. 

Gustav  Aberg Lejdstrom

Edwards played basketball for the Lady Vols from 1986-1990 under head coach Pat Summitt. She was a two-time national champion, helping the squad to national title in 1987 and 1989 and scored 1,309 points in her career. After her playing career, she went on to play professionally in Spain, Turkey, and Israel before returning to America to play in the American Basketball League. When the ABL folded, she was selected by the Minnesota Lynx in the 1999 WNBA draft. She also played with the Charlotte Sting and Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA. 

Tonya Edwards

Martin, a football VFL, played wide receiver at Tennessee from 1998-2000 before being selected by the Green Bay Packers in the 2001 NFL Draft. He would play 11 seasons in the league, including stops with the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills, and amassed 152 catches for 1,519 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns. He returned to Knoxville in 2012 to accept his diploma from the University of Tennessee. 



Happy birthday, Candace, Molly, Gustav, Tonya, and David!


Knoxville Named America's #2 Most Affordable City By Forbes

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Check out what makes Knoxville special: #2 Knoxville

Happy Birthday - March 12

On March 12 we're celebrating the birthday of senior track and field athlete Julia Petree and new men's golf assistant coach Matt Henderson

A native of nearby Maryville, Tennessee, Petree is gearing up for her senior outdoor track and field season. She has had a busy year thus far, competing in both cross country in the fall and indoor track and field during the winter months. Petree set a new personal-best in the indoor 600 meters during the Hokie Invitational with a time of 1:40.80. During her freshman season in 2012, she won the Indoor Lady Vol Freshman of the Year Award. She turns 22 years old today.

Julia Petree

Henderson recently joined the men's golf staff as the Director of Instruction/Player Development. A native of Cheyenne, Wyoming, he earned his degree in golf management at UNLV and arrived on Rocky Top as one of the most sought after instructors in the state of Nevada. He was previously the head instructor at TPC Las Vegas Tour Academy.

Matt Henderson

Happy birthday, Julia and Coach Henderson!


Williams Signs With Oakland Raiders

NFL Vol Dan Williams was recently signed with the Oakland Raiders. He joins VFLs Mychal Rivera and Denarius Moore. Williams spent five seasons with the Arizona Cardinals at the nose tackles position. In 70 games played with the Cardinals, he started in 40 of them and recorded 109 total tackles, eight pass deflections and an interception for a touchdown. 



Check out what local and national media is saying about the addition of Williams to Oakland:





When Beth Alford-Sulliavn was hired this summer as Tennessee's director of track and field/cross country, she became the SEC's first female coach over a men's program. As the UT Daily Beacon's Shane Switzer writes, that barrier was just one of many broken by Sullivan on her way to taking the reins on Rocky Top. With six Volunteers, including four from the 14th-ranked men's squad, set to take on the NCAA Indoor Championships this weekend, get a glimpse on the career journey Tennessee's newest head coach has taken toward rebuilding this storied program.



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