|Lettermen's Club Make Generous Contribution to
STEP UP Campaign
|Rusty Ensor presents UT Athletics Director Mike Hamilton a check for $50,000 on behalf of the UT Lettermen's Club prior to the Vols' win over South Carolina.|
|Lettermen's Club Page|
One of the best-kept secrets in town is the Tennessee Letterman's T-Club and its contributions to the UT program. After you read this, that secret will be like taking the cat out of the bag.
Not that the T-Club doesn't do a lot for the athletics program already.
It helps keep former Vol players involved with the program and, each year, helps keep the camaraderie alive that Lettermen have traditionally shared over the years. The Lettermen's activities, such as the golf tournament each fall and spring and the annual picnics and "must-attend" events for the old Vols. It's special. No doubt about it.
The Lettermen's Wall in front of the Neyland-Thompson Center on campus, built with money raised by the T-Club from its membership, also stands in tribute to the role the T-Club plays in making things better, athletics-wise, on campus.
Hardly a day goes by that someone isn't carefully examining the wall, searching for the name of a favorite Vol player or coach. When the name is carefully rubbed on a piece of paper, it's a great moment to watch from afar.
What you may not know, however, is that the T-Club has also put its money where its collective mouth is. It's a classic example of saying "thank you," of giving something back.
Here are two examples.
When the Thornton Center was being built, the T-Club chipped in with a $50,000 donation. You can find their name on the plaque outside the building.
"When the Thornton Center was proposed in the late 1990s," T-Club president Rusty Ensor, a former Vol baseball player, said, "we thought it was a facility that would benefit all student-athletes. Our bylaws clearly reference the desire of the club to help the University. The Board believed it was a good, well-rounded gift."
The same was true when the STEP UP Campaign came calling this year. The T-Club put another $50,000 in the program.
The former athletes are "stepping up,'" if you will, to help the younger athletes, the young men and women in Orange and White who are carrying on the UT tradition.
He said it was the same idea that caused them to support STEP UP. "We believed we were in a position to make a difference, to help pursue excellence in all sports," he said. "STEP UP fit into that category. There was no better way to help improve the facilities for our student-athletes. We brought it up at our summer meeting and everyone was for it."
"The Athletic Department has been very supportive of our efforts. Coach Dickey came by our meetings to offer his support for our projects. We think Mike Hamilton will do the same thing.
"We had a good discussion about STEP UP. We try to do things the right way, to benefit all student-athletes. We value everybody's opinion. We have representatives from every sport and try to bring in as many perspectives as possible. We have an active, working board."
That active working board, as well as the overall membership, has taken
two great strides in their support of the Thornton Center and their support
of STEP UP. The old Vols aren't far away from the program and have shown
their loyalty and desire to support those who have followed them and
those who will.