Sept. 10, 2003
Sometimes a job becomes more than a job. There are times, given the ebbs and flows of life and the way fortune smiles, that a job becomes a personal commitment. A man becomes associated with a job and the job becomes associated with a man.
Consider a couple of cases in point.
When sportscaster and UT alum Lindsey Nelson left Shea Stadium for the last time after retiring as the beloved "Voice of the New York Mets," he recalled thinking, "I left a lot of my life there." That's what happens when people make great impacts on organizations over a number of years.
UT team orthopedist Dr. Bill Youmans could very likely say the same thing about the time he's spent at the University of Tennessee, a tenure which started in 1969 under Doug Dickey. During that time, Dr. Youmans has done great things for the University of Tennessee and its student-athletes. It's been a lifelong commitment for him, at least for 34 of his 66 years and still counting.
He started under Dickey, and continued through head coaches Bill Battle, Johnny Majors and Phillip Fulmer. He has worked closely with head trainers Mickey O'Brien, Tom Wall, Tim Kerin, Mike Rollo, and Keith Clements, always bringing a sack full of dignity and professionalism to his job. It's a tenure marked by his always keeping the welfare of the student-athlete as his primary focus.
That hasn't changed over the years," he said. "The focus is still on the student-athlete and their welfare. That's the way it was then and that's the way it is now."
Dr. Youmans and wife, Cathy, have taken the next step in his loyalty to the Vols by making a significant gift to STEP UP - The Campaign for UT Athletic Facilities. In honor of their commitment and service of Dr. Youmans and his practice, Knoxville Orthopedic Clinic, has led to the naming of the William T. Youmans Head Trainers Office in the Neyland-Thompson Sports Center.
"I am honored to have Bill Youmans' name on my office," Clements said. "He has been a mentor and leader for all of us who have served with him here. There's really no one better."
STEP UP is a comprehensive capital campaign to raise $44.25 million for new, renovated and expanded facilities benefiting 17 of UT's 20 men's and women's intercollegiate teams. These improvements are designed to enable UT to continue competing for SEC and NCAA Championships in each sport.
"Dr. Youmans and Knoxville Orthopedic Clinic have been a significant part of our life here at the University of Tennessee and have made a commitment that will be a part of the Athletics Department for years to come," AD Mike Hamilton said. "They will leave their mark on the University in a number of ways that will benefit student-athletes and other students in the years to come."
"It was not something I went looking for," Dr. Youmans said, "but when Carmen Tegano approached me about it, I took it to my partners and they believed it was something appropriate for us to do."
He's worked on a number of famous Vol players' knees, including Jamal Lewis, Bobby Majors, Jackie Walker, Alan Cockrell and Ron Slay, to name just a few. He specializes in shoulders and knees now, although at one time he did most every surgery that could be classified under the rubric of "orthopedic."
He's still there at KOC as he has been since 1968, with a passel of professional accomplishments in his back pocket, notably a number of invited lectures on topics related to knees and shoulders in the main, and an equal number of continuing medical education topics also showing up on his impressive curriculum vita.
His service to the University took up a great deal of his time in the early years, but with the addition of Drs. Russ Betcher and Greg Mathien, he does have some breathing room today. He said he plans to practice a few more years before taking a well-deserved break from it all.
"We are honored by Dr. Youmans' commitment to the University over the years," John Currie, Associate Athletics Director Development, said. "He has made a significant contribution of his time, energies and resources to help further what we're doing and it's something we appreciate and honor with this naming opportunity.
In addition, Dr. Youmans and Cathy have also made an estate gift that will establish an endowment for both the men's and women's programs, with some of the proceeds being earmarked to assist with the education costs of graduate assistants in athletic training. You wouldn't have expected anything else.
In every organization, there are people who do great things during their careers without a lot of fanfare. As the sports slogan says, they just do it. That's what Bill Youmans has done and he's done it quite well.
(For more information about Tennessee's athletics facility renovation plans or to find out about donating to the university athletics department, contact John Currie at (865) 974-1218.)