|Touching the Lettermen's Wall of Fame has become a tradition in the "Vol Walk" before each home football game as a tribute to those who have come before to compete for the University of Tennessee.|
When the Lettermen's Wall of Fame was built in 2000, it was understood that, unlike most memorials, it would be an ongoing testimonial to the University of Tennessee's continuing athletics tradition.
While it would initially honor UT's sports heroes dating back more than a century, its vibrant quality would be attested by the addition of new names with each passing year. The hallowed Lettermen's Wall of Fame, by design, would like the past, the present and the future, united by a common allegiance to the UT Vols.
Today, the Wall continues to live, its location at the front of the Neyland-Thompson football building a magnet for campus visitors. Children, grandchildren and other family members stop by a search for the names of relatives who gave their all for Tennessee.
As befits a vibrant athletics program, leaders of the Lettermen's Club are looking for space nearby where the updated rolls of letter-winners will be appropriately recognized. Dozens more every year join the ranks of UT sports immortals after having carved their niche in the rich mosaic of Vol and Lady Vol athletic teams.
The sprawling marble memorial to Tennessee's glorious sports tradition beautifully illuminated at night, has become a symbol, much like the Volunteer Statue, of the school's compelling history.
Four people in particular were the driving force behind construction of the Lettermen's Wall of Fame, which sprang from a seed in the mind of Gene Moeller. A retired Army colonel and former Vol player and administrator, Moeller came up with the idea from the memorial in 1998.
Two other Tennessee football legends, Pat Shires and Gordon Polofsky, shepherded the project from the outset, volunteering their time selflessly to raise the $230,000 it took to see the memorial through to fruition.
Overseeing every detail as the project moved forward, Judy Constantine brought the pieces together in her capacity as executive director of the Lettermen's Club. "It couldn't have happened without the enthusiasm and know-how of Judy Constantine," Colonel Moeller remarked before his unexpected death in 2002.
The next generation of Vols and Lady Vols will have their names preserved for posterity just like the thousands who came before them in proudly bearing the Orange and White banner.
"The Lettermen's Wall of Fame is a lasting and fitting
tribute to all those student-athletes who have helped build the Tennessee
athletic tradition over the years. The story of Tennessee football, and
Tennessee athletics in general, is told in the accomplishments of these
student-athletes who have done great things on and off the playing field
while wearing the Tennessee Orange and White. Vol fans will remember
their playing careers and the great moments in Tennessee athletics as
they view the Lettermen's Wall of Fame in the years to come."
|Wall of Fame|
Be sure to stop by and check it out when you come to campus.