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Ask Mike - March 2005

March 31, 2005

Just a note of support for your superb management of the current basketball dilemma. I am certain that you receive many emails concerning this subject, but this is from a member of the silent majority who seldom, if ever, voice an opinion. You are to be commended for having the fortitude to put the long-term interest of the Tennessee basketball program at the forefront of your decision making process. My son and I are both UT graduates and avid followers of Tennessee athletics. However, we have not attended a basketball game for several years because we perceived a general lack of commitment and/or direction on the part of the athletic department administration. It is now apparent that we (along with a legion of many thousands of apathetic fans) have reason for hope. If there is any truth to the rumors of a mutual interest between Bob Knight and the Tennessee Athletic Department, I believe there would be overwhelming popular support for such a union. There iis no doubt that he is an outstanding coach who would bring a wealth of experience and winning tradition to this program. He has shown over time that he can consistently recruit, develop, and motivate high quality athletes to excel at the highest level of competition. Additionally, he has demonstrated over the years that he has a strong commitment to the academic achievement of his student athletes along with a strong personal financial and civic commitment to the Universities he has served. Finally, an alliance of this magnitude would bring instant and sustaining media publicity to the University of Tennessee as well as a substantial increase in season ticket sales and overall attendance and CHAMPIONSHIP basketball! Wishing you the best of luck and continued success.
Stephen Clonts, Andersonville, TN

Mike Hamilton:

Thanks for your support Stephen. I hope you will be able to come out for a few games this year!

Expect to win!

Mr Hamilton, I just have a few questions about the STEP UP campaign. When is the Soccer Complex and the Softball Stadium set to groundbreak and will they be ready for next year? Also, when is the construction of the Allen Jones Aquatic Center set to begin? And finally, can we expect to see a basketball practice facility equipped with practice floor, weight room, health and conditioning room, etc. anytime soon? I feel that is something we could really use to help sell our basketball program and show that we are serious about turning things around. I realize these things cost a lot of money, but I also realize the Tennessee has one of the largest athletic budgets in the country. Good luck with finding a new coach, I hope we can get things turned around in our men's basketball program. Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions.
Whitney Kerr, Dayton, Tennessee

Mike Hamilton:

Whitney -
Thanks for your inquiry about the STEP UP Campaign. The STEP UP Campaign was a success - as we successes our fundraising goal by bringing in $28.61 million in private gifts and another $20 million in earned revenue. The campaign was earmarked towards improving seven different athletic facilities. The ones you mentioned specifically, we hope to have ground broken in the next twelve months. Soccer and Softball ground breakings are scheduled to happen after their upcoming seasons. Both will receive permanent stands, locker rooms, etc. at their current sites.

The Allan Jones Intercollegiate Aquatic Center has been delayed due to the original cost estimates. Our goal is to have the project re-drawn and out to bid this summer. That would mean a ground-breaking this fall, if all goes according to plan.

You are correct in that our athletic department has a significant budget. These resources are allocated towards providing our student-athletes, coaches, and teams with the best resources to compete for championships. These dollars are allocated towards annual operating needs (recruiting budgets, travel, athletic training, coaches salaries, etc.). Therefore, facilities such as those mentioned and the much needed basketball practice facility, require private support from donors. We are in the midst of another capital campaign and hope to fund this project and the Neyland Stadium renovation over the next few years. If you have specific questions, I encourage you to contact Scott Rabenold, our Director of Capital Support, at 865-974-1218.

Thanks for you support and interest in Tennessee Athletics!

A tremendous accolade to you Mike for a great, exciting hire in Bruce Pearl. I just wish BB season were here already. When will 05-06 schedule be formalized and when will it be made public? Jack Lowe, Kingsport, TN

Mike Hamilton:

Thanks Jack. Unfortunately the schedule will not be available until mid-August. If you think you might be interested in season tickets, you can call the VASF office at 974-1218. They'll take your contact information and send you the brochure when its ready.

Thanks for your support of the basketball program.

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