April 5, 2012
2011 Volscars Photo Gallery
BY JOHN PAINTER
Volscars is just a weekend away.
Monday's event at the Knoxville Convention Center marks the sixth time UT student-athletes have planned, produced and participated in their celebration of the year in Tennessee sports.
UT's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee once again is running the show and expects around 300 of their fellow Vols and Lady Vols to be there in their formal wear.
"It's a night to celebrate our student-athletes in a non-athletics way," said senior diver Gaby Trudeau, this year's SAAC president. "Everybody is dressed up and it's fun to see everyone come together and appreciate what has happened over the past year."
Lady Vols tennis senior Natalie Pluskota is a member of the SAAC executive committee, so she too has been involved from Day 1. Pluskota appreciates the pomp and fanfare involved but looks forward to the award presentations and what they represent.
"I really enjoy reminiscing about things that have happened over the past year, celebrating the really great accomplishments by individual athletes as well as teams," Pluskota said. "It's great that we go back and re-live those memories."
"Kentucky has an event like this, and Missouri does as well," said Woodruff, who is attending his first Volscars after joining the UT staff last summer from Florida. "We tried to implement something similar at Florida, but it was nowhere near the scale it is here. It's amazing how much planning is going into this. I can't wait to see it."
The "Orange" Carpet welcoming reception begins at 6 p.m., when everyone first makes their best-dressed appearance. Dinner starts at 6:30 and the program begins around 7.
A total of 29 awards are being presented this year, along with two live performances, four video montages and the threat of another surprise or two that has become a Volscars tradition.
"I hear we've had some interesting moments up there on those stages," Woodruff said.
This year's master of ceremonies is Brian Russell, Thornton Center academic counselor for football and women's basketball. Vols senior golfer Garrick Porteous designed the poster.
"I'm the face of the student-athlete committee but I have almost every student-athlete on the committee helping me," she said. "I've been on SAAC for a couple of years but this is the first year of being full-out, hands-on with the project.
"Last year, I helped in scheduling but it was nothing like I've been doing this year."
Trudeau also admits there are plenty of starts and stops to what turns out to be an impressive production.
"We learn by making mistakes, that's for sure," she said with a laugh. "There are a couple of things we forgot here and there, and a couple of things we did where we said, `No, that was wrong. Let's do it all over.'
"But we had a plan and it's nice to see it all coming together. We're all just looking forward to Monday night."