Oct. 5, 2013
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The mission of the University of Tennessee department of athletics is to inspire and support student-athletes in the pursuit of comprehensive excellence. In keeping with that mission, and with the goals of returning Tennessee to the top of the nation's elite programs and positively impacting key areas of the student-athlete experience, UT Athletics today announced the official launch of the Campaign for Comprehensive Excellence.
The Campaign for Comprehensive Excellence began on July 1, 2013, and will continue until June 30, 2016. During this time, the UT athletics department has set a goal to raise $154.2 million in annual, capital, endowment and planned gift commitments through the leadership and generosity of its donors. Members of the campaign will play a key role in enhancing the lives of Tennessee student-athletes while investing in the vision that Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Dave Hart has challenged student-athletes, coaches and administrators to achieve since arriving at UT in 2011.
To begin the campaign and inspire others to give, the UTAD has received a transformational commitment from Mike and Mickala Sisk of Colleyville, Texas. The Sisk family has pledged $16 million to fund construction and improvements that are part of the campaign's Phase I facility priorities. The pledge from the Sisks is one of the largest in the history of Tennessee athletics and will allow work to begin on some of the campaign's time-sensitive initiatives.
Mike & Mickala Sisk are originally from Selmer, Tennessee, and are the founders of Low T Centers, which has 34 locations across the United States. Started in 2009, Low T Center has quickly evolved into a pioneering and innovative medical practice model with its physicians at exclusively diagnosing and treating men with low testosterone. The Sisks, along with their daughters Sarah, Sidney and Lexi, are lifelong Tennessee fans and have been members of the Tennessee Fund since 2007.
"We feel honored and extremely appreciative that Mike and Mickala would make this transformational commitment to take the lead in helping Tennessee athletics achieve its goal of comprehensive excellence," Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Dave Hart said. "This is a key time in the history of our athletics department, and the Sisk family has stepped forward with a very generous gift that will make a difference in the lives of student-athletes for years to come."
The facilities component of the campaign includes two Phases estimated at $73.2 million. Phase I includes construction of Pat Summitt Plaza, expansion of the Haslam Field practice football footprint, men's and women's basketball locker room renovations, a new volleyball practice facility, a state-of-the-art broadcast studio on the ground floor of the Lawson Center, renovations to the Goodfriend Indoor Tennis Center, and renovations to the rowing boathouse.
Haslam Practice Field Expansion - In order to address one of the smaller footprints of outdoor practice space in Division I football, the athletic department plans to expand Haslam Field to three full fields by constructing two new ones in the space currently occupied by the half-field, Johnny Majors Drive, and the Stokely Athletics Center. The estimated project cost is $10 million. The space currently occupied by Stokely and Gibbs Hall (demolition scheduled for early 2014) will also feature a new residence hall and a parking garage. The goal is to have the practice fields completed by the start of the 2015 season.
Thompson-Boling Arena Basketball Locker Room Renovations - The men's and women's basketball locker rooms are basically the same as when constructed in 1987, and the proposed renovation will completely change the structure and transform the locker rooms into the national standard. The estimated project cost is $5 million.
Volleyball Practice Facility - The volleyball program does not currently have a dedicated practice area, and the team is forced to split time between Pratt Pavilion, Thompson-Boling Arena, and other off-campus facilities. At an estimated cost of $3 million, the proposed facility will feature three courts, a locker room and coaches' offices, and will be constructed adjacent to Regal Soccer Stadium.
Broadcast Studio - To be located on the ground floor of the Brenda Lawson Athletic Center, the unique broadcast center will be a state-of-the-art facility where the UT broadcasting and video staff can tell the story of Tennessee athletics, past and present. The area will feature a working studio that will include everything from coaches' television shows to a production area for broadcasting live athletic events on campus. At an estimated cost of $10 million, the studio construction will allow Tennessee to fully capitalize on the opportunities offered by the launch of the SEC Network in August of 2014.
Goodfriend Indoor Tennis Renovation - A 2010 renovation expanded the tennis center from four to six courts, allowing the men's and women's teams to host home matches as well as the SEC tournament. Much of the interior work was not completed, and at an estimated cost of $1.6 million, the coaches' offices, satellite training and weight rooms, locker rooms, and players' lounges will be completed.
Rowing Boathouse - The current rowing locker room space is insufficient for the 40-plus member team roster, and the floor space is currently shared with fitness machines for the squad. The top floor will be modified to make room for an indoor training space, making it possible for an expanded locker room on the lower floor to accommodate the entire squad.
Upon completion of funding for Phase I priorities, the campaign will move into Phase II, which includes the following at an estimated cost of $42 million: continuation of the Neyland Stadium Master Plan renovations, completion of the Day Golf Practice Facility, expanded seating at Sherri Parker Lee Stadium, renovations at Lindsey Nelson Stadium to include construction of a permanent porch, additional seats down the third base line, and a renovated press box, construction of an indoor track facility,
Additional priorities that are components of the Campaign for Comprehensive Excellence includes funding for the Renewing Academic Commitment (RAC) program that allows former student-athletes to return to Tennessee and complete their degree requirements as well as funds for scholarship endowments. The campaign goal is to raise $2.5 million for each of those priorities.
The campaign also has a goal of raising $66 million in annual contributions over a three-year period from 2013-15, as well as a three-year goal of $10 million in new planned giving commitments.
To learn more about the campaign and see renderings of the Phase I & II facility priorities, visit TENNESSEEFUND.ORG.
Listed below is an overall outline of the campaign funding goals:
Facility Funding Priorities
Phase I - $31.2 million
Phase II - $42 million
Total Facility Funding Goal - $73.2 million
Renewing Academic Commitment Program (RAC) - $2.5 million
Scholarship Endowments - $2.5 million
Educational Initiative Funding Goal - $5 million
Three-Year Goal - (2013-15) $66 million
Three-Year Goal for New Commitments - $10 million