June 16, 2017
By Tyler Hotz
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Carmen and Deborah Tegano were recognized Friday morning for their countless hours of service on Rocky Top at the dedication of the new dining facility in Stokely Hall named in their honor.
A gift from Peyton and Ashley Manning, longtime friends of the Teganos, paved the way for the naming of The Carmen and Deborah Tegano Student-Athlete Dining Hall. Carmen Tegano is a longstanding Associate Athletics Director, and his wife, Deborah, was one of Manning's professors at UT.
"When I think of Carmen and Debbie Tegano, two words come to mind: friendship and service," said Peyton Manning. "I know I speak for everyone in this room and many others when I say how lucky we all are to call both of you our friends."
Carmen Tegano has served in the Tennessee Athletics Department since 1985, making numerous connections and friendships with student-athletes. Still serving as Associate Athletics Director, Tegano has also spent time at Tennessee as an adjunct professor, a member of the Office of Development and the Associate Athletics Director for Student Life.
Tegano has had many different responsibilities at Tennessee, staying directly involved for 32 years. Now, his primary focus is overseeing the Tennessee baseball program, which just recently hired and introduced new head coach Tony Vitello.
"We go through life and do things to add days to our life. We do the little things, but that's not the way it should be," Carmen Tegano said. "We should address every day as adding life to that day.
"You [Peyton] have added a lot of life and joy to my days, but nothing like today."
Deborah Tegano served 22 years at Tennessee as a teacher and researcher in the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences. Teaching many student-athletes in her time on Rocky Top, Tegano had the opportunity to teach Manning in a class that visited various elementary schools across the area.
Through the Peyback Foundation, Manning has lived out Tegano's teachings, donating millions of dollars to programs that provide leadership and growth opportunities for students in Knox County and across the country.
"I love this university. Carmen and I love this university, and I believe we share that feeling with everybody in this room today, and we especially share that with Ashley and Peyton," said Deborah Tegano.
Concluding a morning of laughter and emotion highlighted by a video featuring many former student-athletes, coaches and former athletics director Doug Dickey, a crowd of family and friends packed into the bottom floor of Stokely Hall to see the unveiling of the plaque that now adorns the wall of The Carmen and Deborah Tegano Student-Athlete Dining Hall.
With the dining hall officially dedicated, current and future Tennessee students will be able to enjoy meals in a setting that helped make the Teganos an influential presence on campus.