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Happy Birthday - March 11

March 11 brings us a trio of birthdays on Rocky Top -- two belonging to a pair of longtime VFLs and another for a young man whose Volunteer career is just about to begin. Today we celebrate the birthdays of Tennessee football VFL Eric Westmoreland, baseball standout Chris Burke, and incoming freshman Eli Wolf.

Westmoreland was a linebacker for the Vols from 1997-2000, playing an integral role in UT's run to the BCS National Championship in 1998. He was named a captain in 2000 and went on to lead the squad in tackles with 83, earning All-SEC honors from the league's coaches. For his career, Westmoreland logged 253 total tackles, including 34 for loss. He was a third round pick in the 2001 NFL draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars and played three seasons before signing on with the Cleveland Browns in 2004. He played three more seasons with the Browns.



A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Burke played baseball at UT from 1999-2001. He was named to three All-America teams during his time in Knoxville, including a Freshman Second Team All-America pick at second base in 1999. In 2000, he was named third team All American and picked up All-SEC honors. He moved to shortstop in 2001 and helped the Volunteers to an appearance in the College World Series. That season he hit .435 with 20 home runs and 49 stolen bases. He was named to the CWS all-tournament team and was the unanimous choice as the 2001 SEC Player of the Year. He went 10th in the 2001 MLB draft to the Houston Astros and made his major league debut with the club in 2004. Other big league stops included the Arizona Diamondbacks, the San Diego Padres, and the Atlanta Braves.



An incoming freshman tight end from Minster, Ohio, Wolf set new records at Minster High School in career receptions (124), receiving yards (2,234), and receiving touchdowns (27) over his three varsity seasons. He helped the Wildcats to the 2014 Ohio State Division VI championship, catching nine passes for 145 yards and three TDs in the title game. He is the younger brother of current Vol tight end Ethan Wolf and turns 18 years old today. 



Happy Birthday - March 10

We have a pair of Big Orange birthdays to celebrate today on Rocky Top, both coming from the "football" persuasion. Sophomore defensive lineman Dimarya Mixon turns 20 years old today while fellow sophomore Meghan Flynn, of Tennessee "futbol" (soccer) is 19. 

Mixon appeared in 12 games for the Vols during his freshman campaign. He logged four tackles on the year, three of which came in an early September win over Arkansas State. He was one of 21 true freshman to make their Orange and White debut in the season-opener against Utah State. 

Dimarya  Mixon

Flynn arrived on Rocky Top from Arlington, Virginia, for the 2014 season after capping her prep career with a third consecutive national district title at Yorktown High School. She had 30 goals and 18 assists during her junior season at YHS, earning National District Player of the Year honors. 

Meghan Flynn

Happy birthday, Dimarya and Meghan!


Happy Birthday - March 9

It's birthday time in Tennessee and we've got three of them to celebrate on this second Monday in March. Football's Pig Howard turns 22 years old today and will be celebrating his birthday alongside two Tennessee legends: Rudy Klarer and Ron Widby. 

Howard recently wrapped up his junior season for the Vols, appearing in all 13 games and making nine starts at the wideout position. He led the team in receptions (54) and in receiving yards (618) and scored three touchdowns -- two rushing and one receiving. He owns a current streak of 33 consecutive games with a catch and his 111 career catches rank 13th all-time at UT. 

Pig  Howard

One of Tennessee football's eight retired jerseys belong to the legendary Klarer, who played guard at UT in 1941-42. A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Klarer lost his life fighting for the United States in World War II. His number, alongside those of Bill Nowling, Willis Tucker, and Ron Fuson -- other Vols who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country during WWII -- was officially retired in 2006. 



Tennessee legend Ron Widby turns 70 years old today. He is the last four-sport letterman in UT history, earning All-American status in both football and basketball as well as one letter in baseball and golf. During his senior year in 1966-67, Widby led nation in punting average at 43.8 yards per kick and went on to average 22.1 points and 8.7 rebounds per game in basketball to help lead the Vols to a conference title. He was first team All-America in both sports and picked up an SEC Player of the Year award in basketball. 




Happy Birthday - Feb. 7

We have a trio of birthdays to celebrate on Rocky Top today: volleyball teammates Taylor Johnson and Bridgette Villano are blowing out the candles, as is swimming and diving's Amy Lubawy

A setter from Temecula, California, Johnson recently completed her first season with Tennessee volleyball after transferring to UT from Long Beach State. She appeared in 22 matches on the year, logging 225 assists at an average of 4.09 per set. She also notched two double-doubles on the year, including a career-best 34-assist, 11-dig performance at Mississippi State. Johnson is 20 years old today.

Taylor Johnson

Also celebrating her 20th birthday is teammate and UT volleyball defensive specialist Bridgette Villano. A native of Davie, Florida, Villano appeared in all 32 matches for the Lady Vols last season and saw significant time at the libero position. She led the team in total digs with 328, ranked second in digs per set 3.01, and had 15 matches of 10 or more digs on the year. 

Bridgette  Villano

Lubawy just concluded her freshman season on Rocky Top after arriving at UT as the No. 1 recruit in the state of Nevada. The Las Vegas native swims freestyle and butterfly and posted career-bests at UNC Wilmington to open the year. At that meet she finished fourth in the 50-yard freestyle (24.76) and was runner-up in the 100-yard butterfly (57.52). 

Amy Lubawy

Happy birthday Taylor, Bridgette, and Amy!



Happy Birthday - March 6

On March 6 we're wishing a happy Big Orange birthday to football's Coleman Thomas!

Coleman  Thomas

A sophomore on the offensive line from Max Meadows, Virginia, Thomas appeared in 11 games for Tennessee last season, getting five starts along the way. He got his first career start at No. 4 Oklahoma in September and went on to earn honorable mention All-America honors from Campus Insiders in the postseason. 

Happy birthday, Coleman!

Happy Birthday - March 5

We have a trio of Big Orange birthdays to celebrate on this fifth day of March: football's Neiko Creamer, track and cross country's Caroline Duer, and women's basketball's Diamond DeShields!

A tight end, Creamer recently completed a redshirt season with Tennessee football -- his first with the program. Creamer came to Rocky Top from Wilmington, Delaware, as a three-star prospect at wideout. He was a second team all-state performer during his senior season. 

Neiko  Creamer

Duer recently wrapped up her junior seasons in both cross country and indoor track and field and is now setting her sights on her redshirt sophomore outdoor track campaign. The Greenville, South Carolina, native competed in six races for UT cross country this fall, notching a career-best 6K time at the NCAA South Regional (22:34.50) and a personal-best 5K time at the Bluegrass Invitational (18:56.30). During the indoor season, she established a new PR in the mile at the Tyson Invitational (5:11.23).

Caroline  Duer

A sophomore from Norcross, Georgia, DeShields is redshirting this season for Lady Vol basketball as per NCAA transfer rules. During her freshman season at North Carolina the 6-1 guard was named national freshman of the year and selected as an honorable mention All-American after averaging 18.0 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 2.6 apg, and 1.7 spg. She set four ACC freshman records, including points (648), field goals (248), and double-figure scoring games (32). 

Diamond DeShields

Happy birthday Neiko, Caroline, and Diamond!


Happy Birthday - March 4

We've got two Big Orange birthdays to celebrate on this March 4 as football's Matt Giampapa and baseball VFL Dalton Saberhagen are each blowing out the candles today!

A long snapper from Jackson, Tennessee, Giamapapa just concluded his redshirt junior season in 2014. He started all 13 games for the Vols, providing long snapper duties on all 80 punts and 69 kicks for a grand total of 149 snaps on the season. Born this day in 1993, Giampapa is 22 years old.

Matt  Giampapa

With baseball season now in full swing, we're also wishing a happy birthday to alumnus and Calabasas, California, native Dalton Saberhagen. A lefty reliever, Saberhagen appeared in 54 games in his UT career, turning in a career record of 6-5 with a 5.62 ERA. 

Dalton Saberhagen

Happy birthday, Matt and Dalton!



Happy Birthday - March 2

Today, on March 2, we're wishing a happy birthday to baseball redshirt freshman Andrew Plunkett!

Andrew  Plunkett

After a redshirt season in 2014, the Memphis native made his Orange and White debut during the 2015 season-opening series at FIU. He made two pinch-hit appearances during that series and has since made three starts at DH for the Vols. He hit the first home run of his Tennessee career on Saturday, helping UT to a 12-10 win at UC Irvine. 

Born this day in 1994, Plunkett turns 21 years old today. Happy birthday, Andrew!


Happy Birthday - March 1

It's a brand new month and we've got two birthdays to celebrate along with it. Rower Nicole Burnett and baseball VFL Rich Rodriguez both blow out the candles today!

Burnett is a freshman from Morristown, Tennessee, and a novice and the 2014-15 rowing squad. At Morristown West High School, she was a member of the Beta Club and an AP Scholar. She is majoring in psychology. Born this day in 1996, Burnett turns 19 years old today.

Nicole Burnett

Rodriguez was a pitcher for the Tennessee baseball team from 1982-84. He started 34 games in his UT career, including 11 complete-game efforts. He was drafted by the New York Mets in the ninth round of the 1984 MLB Draft and made his major league debut in 1990 with the San Diego Padres. He pitched in the bigs for 14 seasons, concluding his career with the Anaheim Angels in 2003.



Happy birthday, Nicole and Rich! 

Happy Birthday - Feb. 28

We've got a bevy of birthdays to celebrate on this final day of February: football's Jason Croom and soccer's Michele Christy each blow out the candles today, as do VFLs Antone Davis (football) and Michael Christy (swimming and diving). Soccer alumna Caroline Capocaccia was a leap-year baby, born Feb. 29.

A redshirt junior, Croom saw action in 12 games with one start at wideout during the 2014 football season. He finished the year with 21 catches for 305 yards and four touchdowns, including a career-long, 52-yard TD reception against Kentucky. Born this day in 1994, Croom is 21 years old today.

Jason  Croom

Another junior, Michele Christy appeared in 22 matches for UT Soccer last season, including 16 starts. A midfielder from Ursuline Academy, Christy scored her first career goal in the 67th minute of an SEC Tournament game against Alabama -- a headed effort that leveled the score. She turns 20 today.

Michele Christy

An offensive lineman for Tennessee from 1987-90, Davis was an All-American and an Outland Trophy finalist. He went on to be drafted eighth overall by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 1991 NFL Draft, kicking off a five-year NFL career. In 2012, Davis was hired to head UT's Vol For Life program. 

Antone Davis

Michael Christy swam for Tennessee from 2007-12 and ranks inside the top 10 all-time at Tennessee three individual events: 200 backstroke, 200 IM, 400 IM.

Michael Christy

Capocaccia played defender with UT Soccer for four seasons from 2010-13. She appeared in 59 games in her career, getting the starting nod 53 times. She turns 23 years old today. 

Caroline Capocaccia

A very happy Big Orange birthday to each of these members of the Tennessee family!

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