Jan. 15, 2004
Longtime VASF donor Pete Kutz of Nashville, joined so ably by his wife, Carole, and 1992 UT co-captain Todd Kelly of Knoxville have been named the National Chairpersons for the 2004 Volunteer Athletic Scholarship Fund (VASF) Drive.
As leaders critical to the success of the VASF in meeting the needs of UT
student-athletes, co-chairs Kutz and Kelly will serve as the public face of
the Drive. They will take a leadership role in an ongoing basis to spearhead
the effort to grow the VASF annual fund in terms of members and dollars raised.
Kelly and Kutz will provide leadership for VASF Fund Drive workers, and will help plan and implement strategies to increase the number of Fund Drive workers. They will also provide motivation for Fund Drive workers, based on their unique experiences with the Vol program.
"Todd Kelly and Pete Kutz bring unique and solid credentials to the Fund Drive," John Currie said. "They will bring capable and strong leadership to the effort to grow the Fund Drive."
The two co-chairs will be out front on the Fund Drive in speaking to Fund Drive meetings in their area, hosting Fund Drive events, and recruiting and mentoring Fund Drive workers.
While educating others about the Fund Drive is a year-round proposition, the Drive's main focus comes in November, January and February.
TODD KELLY: The key word is opportunity."
Kelly, who came to the Vol football program in 1989 from Hampton, Va., earned All-SEC honors as a defensive end in 1992. Kelly was co-captain of the 1992 football team (with J.J. McCleskey).
He was a dominating persona from his defensive end position, using quickness and strength in nearly equal proportions to get to the quarterback and throttle Vol opponents' running game.
for student-athletes begins with the donors who make the scholarships
possible. The key word
is opportunity. I want to share my
story so other student-athletes can have the same opportunity I had. There
is no way I can say thanks for the opportunity I was given."
Former Vol co-captain Todd Kelly
He was a first round draft choice of the San Francisco 49ers in the 1993 NFL draft, playing for the 49ers from 1993-95, the Cincinnati Bengals from 1995-96 and the Atlanta Falcons in 1996. He played in Super Bowl XXIX Jan. 29, 1995, a 49-26 49ers victory over San Diego.
"I am honored to have a leadership role in the 2004 Fund Drive," Kelly said.
"As one who benefited from the success of the VASF when I was in school, I'll be talking with existing and new donors about what the scholarship meant in my life and what it means to the student-athletes of today.
"My first speaking engagement is mid-January."
Kelly talked about the opportunity participation in the VASF program affords young athletes and how it helped him coming out of high school.
"If not for the donors who made my scholarship possible, I wouldn't have had the opportunities I have today, the opportunity to excel in sports, go to the NFL, get a Super Bowl ring and get an education. It all starts with the donors who make the program possible."
PETE KUTZ: "What they're looking for is an identifiable face behind the program to illustrate how important it is."
Pete and Carole Kutz were named by NACDA as National Volunteers of the Year and have conducted seminars for athletic directors and development directors.
You name any aspect of the VASF program and Pete and Carole have been right there. Out front.
"We've been involved with the program for some time. We think
it is serious. We'll use that to bring more people into the program." Pete
Kelly said people remember him as No. 58 in an Orange and White jersey.
He finds people can cite his Vol pedigree almost from memory. They know about the sacks and the big plays of his Vol career.
He's now on the other side of that equation, taking the acumen he picked up as a Vol. what he learned as a component of a successful sports franchise, and the lessons he's learned in his professional life to help the VASF meet the needs of UT student-athletes over the years to come.
"Success for student-athletes begins with the donors who make the scholarships possible," Todd said. " The key word is opportunity. I want to share my story so other student-athletes can have the same opportunity I had. There is no way I can say thanks for the opportunity I was given."
It's an intriguing combination, what with the the grizzled veteran of the wars on the playing field, combined with the veterans of the fund-raising side.
Will it be a success? You bet.
The VASF Fund Drive offers Vol fans the chance to make a difference in the lives of young student-athletes. It's an integral part of the winning edge in Tennessee athletics.
Watch for the VASF Fund Drive to coming to an area near where you live. The next Todd Kelly, and many others as well, are depending on you.
For more information, please call the VASF Office at (865) 974-1218.