Ken Knight, general manager of Crowne Plaza Hotel, Knoxville presents UT Men's Athletic Director Mike Hamilton with the check.
Feb. 28, 2006
The thoughtfulness of the University of Tennessee football team and athletic department in the wake of Hurricane Katrina has netted a $10,000 contribution to UT from the owner of Knoxville's Crowne Plaza Hotel.
Ken Knight, the Knoxville hotel's general manager, presented the $10,000 check from Steven Rayman and his company, Executive Hotel Management, to UT Men's Athletic Director Mike Hamilton.
"UT impressed everyone in our organization, as well as the people of Baton Rouge, where our sister hotel is located, with its very considerate actions after Hurricane Katrina forced many New Orleans residents to seek shelter in Baton Rouge," Knight said.
Hurricane Katrina made landfall on Aug. 29. Several hundred evacuees were housed in the Holiday Inn Select, which is also owned by Executive Hotel Management. For the Sept. 26, 2005 LSU game, UT had reservations for the team and staff at the Holiday Inn Select.
However, the team flew to Baton Rouge and back to Knoxville the day of the game to prevent the hotel from having to ask evacuees to relocate.
"We are happy we were able to help in some small way," Hamilton said. "The gulf state region was undergoing tremendous difficulties in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. We would not have felt right taking hotel rooms away from the workers who were in the area to try to restore services back to the thousands of people devastated by this tragedy."
Knight said that the hotel company.s owners were impressed that UT took the initiative.
"Disrupting a team.s schedule in advance of a big game early in the season is problematic,. Knight said. .Acting on its own and without having to be asked, UT volunteered to do something that helped a lot of people."
UT won the game 30-27 in overtime.
"The team and athletic department are to be commended for the thoughtfulness they displayed,. said Rayman. .This gift to the university is a tangible expression of the gratitude toward UT that was shared by many people in Baton Rouge."