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Happy Birthday - June 22

We've got four Big Orange birthdays to celebrate on June 22!



First, we're sending happy birthday wishes to A.J. Simcox of Vol Baseball! A Knoxville native, Simcox appeared in 50 games for UT last season, playing primarily at shortstop. He finished the year with a .293 batting average to go along with 27 RBIs and one homer. On June 10 he was selected in the 14th round of the 2015 MLB Draft by the Detroit Tigers. He is 21 years old today.



Teammate Tyler Schultz is also celebrating a birthday today. A senior catcher out of Huntington Beach, California, Schultz appeared in 32 games for UT during the 2014 season. He made 71 plate appearances and hit .254 with eight RBIs. He began his collegiate career at the University of San Francisco before transferring to Cypress CC for his sophomore stint. He turns 23 years old today.



From Vol Track, we wish a happy birthday to rising senior thrower Carson Frost. Frost was sharp in 2015, setting a new personal best in the weight throw during the 2015 indoor season and achieving his highest individual finish ever during the outdoor season. He logged a career-best weight throw of 57 feet, 5.5 inches at the Doc Hale VT Elite Meet during the indoor campaign and finished a career-high fifth during the outdoor season in the hammer throw at the War Eagle Invitational. Today is Frost's 22nd birthday. 

Ariel Kupritz

Lastly, we wish a happy birthday to Ariel Kupritz of women's soccer. A native of Maryville, Kupritz began her collegiate career at Miami before transferring home to UT. She sat out the 2014 soccer season. She appeared in eight matches during her freshman season with the Hurricanes and achieved Dean's List status in the business school with a perfect 4.0 GPA. Kupritz is 20 years old today.

Happy birthday, A.J., Tyler, Carson, and Ariel!


Happy Birthday - May 28

On May 28 we're wishing a happy birthday to a quartet of Volunteers: Hannah Wilkinson of women's soccer, Austin Sanders of football, Steven Kane of baseball, and VFL and former big leaguer Mike DiFelice



Wilkinson wrapped up her senior season in the fall but will return in 2015 after being granted a fifth-year of eligibility. That fifth year will come after a stop at this summer's FIFA Women's World Cup in Canada where she will represent her native New Zealand on the global stage. A forward, Wilkinson scored a team-high nine goals for UT last season, including a two-goal performance against No. 17 Kentucky in the SEC Tournament. She is 23 years old today.



Sanders is a rising sophomore offensive lineman for Vol football, standing 6-5 and weighing in at 307. He made his UT debut last season as a redshirt freshman in the season-opener against Utah State and went on to appear in four more games for the Vols. The Cleveland, Tennessee, native turns 20 years old today.



Kane recently completed his debut season for Tennessee baseball after arriving on Rocky Top from Cypress Community College. The righty pitched in 19 games for UT, recording an ERA of 4.64 and a 2-1 overall record in 33 innings of work. A native of Peoria, Arizona, Kane is 22 years old today.



Lastly, we wish a happy birthday to former big league catcher and current minor league manager DiFelice. He was an All-SEC catcher for the Vols and lettered from 1989-91. During the 1990 season, he ranked among the top 10 in the SEC in hitting (.353), home runs (10), and slugging percentage (.624). He was drafted in 1991 by the St. Louis Cardinals and went on to spend 11 seasons as a catcher in the majors. DiFelice was inducted into the Tennessee baseball Hall of Fame in 2007.

Happy birthday Hannah, Austin, Steven, and Mike!





Happy Birthday - April 12

Four birthdays on Rocky Top for this April 12! Today we wish a very happy birthday to diver Sarah Chewning, soccer's Josie Jennings, football's Brett Kendrick and men's golf VFL Oliver Goss!

A junior transfer from the University of Kentucky, Chewning made her Orange & White debut this season. She picked up a win in her first meet as a member of the UT squad, posting a 260.25 in the 3-meter springboard. 



Jennings is a defender out of Knoxville's Farragut High School. She completed her freshman season in the fall of 2014, seeing action in 17 matches and picking up seven starts along the way. She closed out the year with 757 minutes played, including a full 90 against Tulsa in September. Jennings turns 19 years old today.



Another Knoxville native, Kendrick enters spring camp as a redshirt sophomore. He appeared in all 13 games for Vol Football in 2014, getting two starts on the offensive line. Kendrick is 20 years old today.



Goss played two seasons at Tennessee before turning pro in 2014. A native of Perth, Australia, Goss was a two-time All-SEC performer and turned heads in 2014 when he finished as the low amateur at the 2014 Masters (+10). He has played this season on the Web.com tour, logging six tournament appearances. He has three top-25 finishes to his name and one top-10. He turns 21 today.



Happy birthday Sarah, Josie, Brett, and Oliver!


Happy Birthday - April 8

It's April 8 and we're sending happy birthday wishes to graduating soccer senior Allie Sirna!



Sirna recently wrapped up a stellar four-year career with Tennessee, starting in all 85 matches in which she appeared during her time on Rocky Top. A standout defender, Sirna helped UT record seven shutouts last season and earned SEC All-Tournament Team honors after logging 290 minutes played during the tournament and helping the Volunteers rally back against Alabama and stifle a potent Florida attack in the quarterfinals. In December, Sirna earned NSCAA Scholar All-Region Honors and was awarded an NCAA postgraduate scholarship just last month. She is 22 years old today.

Happy birthday, Allie!

Happy Birthday - March 23

We have four Big Orange birthdays to celebrate on this March 23rd as football's Jordan Williams, men's basketball's Braxton Bonds, soccer's Kiah Allen, and football VFL Carl Pickens are each blowing out the candles today. 

After a 2014 season that included a TaxSlayer Bowl win over Iowa, senior defensive lineman Williams concluded his career on Rocky Top. He started all 13 games during his final season, registering 27 tackles (four for loss) with two sacks and four pass break-ups. He had a career-high six tackles, including a sack, on Senior Night vs. No. 19 Missouri. He finishes his career with 66 total tackles, 6.5 sacks, and 10.5 tackles for loss. Williams was also a member of the 2013 and 2014 SEC Academic Honor Roll. 


A native of Nashville, Tennessee, Bonds redshirted the 2014-15 men's basketball season. The 6-1 guard played prep ball at Christ Presbyterian Academy under head coach Drew Maddux. He helped lead the team to a pair of state championships in 2012 and 2013 and was rated the No. 8 overall prospect in the state of Tennessee. During his senior season, he averaged 15.3 points and 7.8 assists per contest. Nephew of former MLB slugger Barry Bonds, Braxton Bonds turns 20 years old today.

Braxton  Bonds

Allen was a redshirt sophomore for Tennessee soccer this past fall, appearing in 16 matches for UT at defender. She notched one goal and two assists on the year -- scoring on a free kick during her first start against Tulsa in early September. She also successfully converted a penalty in a shootout against No. 8 Florida in the SEC Tournament. In all, Allen logged 833 minutes of action last season. Born this day in 1993, Allen turns 22 years old today.

Kiah Allen

VFL Pickens played wideout at UT from 1989-91, amassing 1,875 career receiving yards over those three seasons. As a junior in 1991, he caught 49 balls for 877 yards and five touchdowns, earning All-America recognition after leading the SEC in yards per game at 79.73. As a freshman, Pickens played both ways and had four interceptions in four games at free safety. He was even named the Defensive MVP of the 1990 Cotton Bowl. He opted to bypass his senior season on Rocky Top to enter the NFL Draft where was picked 31st overall by the Cincinnati Bengals. He was named the NFL Rookie of the Year in 1992 and in 1995 set the Bengals single-season record for receptions (99) and touchdown receptions (17).



Happy birthday, Jordan, Braxton, Kiah, and Carl!


Happy Birthday - March 22

On March 22 we're celebrating the birthdays of soccer's Christine Creighton, rowing's Nikole Metz, and men's tennis legend Rhyne Williams

Creighton is a native of Haverhill, Florida, and recently completed her true freshman season with the Tennessee women's soccer program in 2014. She appeared in 16 matches on the season, logging three goals and one assist. Her first career goal came in the 40th minute of a home match against Mississippi State in late September. She is an elementary education major and turns 18 years old today.

Christine Creighton

Metz is a junior coxswain with the rowing program and is a native of Fayetteville, New York. This season she placed fourth at the Chattanooga Head Race in Women's College 4+ with a time of 18:52.3. The political science major began her collegiate rowing career at SMU before transferring to Rocky Top. She is 21 years old today.

Nikole Metz

Williams played varsity tennis for his hometown University of Tennessee from 2009-11, piecing together two of the best seasons in program history in 2010 and 2011. During those years, he captured consecutive All-America honors and earned the ITA's No. 1 ranking in 2011 en route to reaching the NCAA Singles Championships. He finished his career with a singles record of 83-17 and a doubles mark of 66-14. Williams now competes on the ATP World Tour. 



Happy birthday, Christine, Nikole, and Rhyne!


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 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 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 - 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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