KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The University of Tennessee Athletics Department today announced the 2007-2008 VASF Tri-chairs and the Coca-Cola Big Orange Caravan Winter Tour schedule of events featuring former student-athletes in 19 cities throughout Tennessee and the surrounding states.
"These names may sound pretty familiar," said John Currie, senior associate athletic director of external operations. "These three Volunteers have more than 100-years of combined experience with Tennessee Athletics, and our VASF staff could not be more thrilled at their willingness to help drive this project."
Jeff Hall, Haywood Harris and Gus Manning have been named this year's tri-chairs and will be working with the Volunteer Athletics and Scholarship Fund (VASF) staff to promote and encourage fans to attend an event in their area.
"This year's chairs are not only outstanding Volunteers, but alumni of the university as well," said Lofton J. Stuart, Jr. executive director of the UT National Alumni Association and assistant to the UT President. "It's great to see events that bring Tennessee fans together to show support for Tennessee athletics."
The Coca-Cola Big Orange Caravan Winter Tour, formerly known as the Big Orange Fan Receptions, will consist of a variety of events this year, as opposed to year's past, to appeal to a more diverse group from the community, including a pre-game event when the men's basketball team takes on the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in December.
"As a former student-athlete, I understand the importance of the connection between the players and the fans," Hall said. "Being able to work with the athletic department to maintain that relationship is a great way to give back to the university community that means so much to me and my family."
Hall, a former UT place-kicker and Winchester, Tenn. native, will be joined by Tennessee Sports Hall of Famers Haywood Harris and Gus Manning.
Harris, has served with the Tennessee Athletics Department since 1961 when Gen. Robert R. Neyland appointed him sports information director. He now serves as an executive assistant to Athletic Director Mike Hamilton and historian for the athletic department.
"It's such a thrill to continue to be involved in growing and maintaining our fan base around the state," Harris stated. "I'm very excited to be working with Jeff, Gus and the whole VASF staff. I think we all bring unique backgrounds that fans will be able to relate to."
Gus Manning, the longest-serving member of the Tennessee administrative staff, has been with the Tennessee Athletic Department since 1951. He currently works as an executive assistant to the Athletic Director and serves on several sports related committees, including some affiliated with the Southeastern Conference.
"I always love the opportunities to get out and meet with Big Orange fans," said Manning. "I think this year's line-up of cities and the events that have been scheduled will make for a great time."
The Coca-Cola Big Orange Caravan Winter Tour events are free and open to all Tennessee fans and are designed to bring UT closer to the hometown of Vols and Lady Vols supporters. These casual events feature former student-athletes, coaches and other Tennessee personalities, as well as current UT Alumni and VASF staff.
Below is a list of cities that will host the Coca-Cola Big Orange Caravan events this winter. Venue locations will be announced closer to the event date and all times are subject to change. Information regarding event times and locations will be continually updated on the www.utsports.com, or call the VASF office at 865-974-1218.
2007 / 2008 VASF Fan Receptions