July 31, 2002
The doors to Neyland Stadium were opened July 30 and touchdowns were tossed on the green grass. The film room was opened as well, as samples were studied and discussed. No, football season didn't start early. Tuesday was the third annual Football 101 For Women Only, sponsored by Merrill Lynch.
Football 101 serves as an educational event for women to give them an inside look at the Tennessee football program. Associate Director of Development Claire Stone, also the brains behind Football 101, had a goal of getting females more and more involved in Tennessee football and the class has done just that.
"Claire has been wanting to address the female population for some time now," said Mike Hamilton, Associate Athletics Director for Marketing and Development.
"We want to make sure we recognize a large part of our donor base. We have a great number of donors who are female and we want to bring them closer and give them some insight to the program."
The ladies were treated to several tours and explanations of the football facilities in the Neyland-Thompson Sports Center. From there, they participated in the tradition of the Vol Walk to Neyland Stadium where they broke into teams of offense and defense for drills and plays. After some scrimmaging on the football field, the group went to the sky boxes for lunch with guest speaker Phillip Fulmer. The ladies listened to the coach speak and had several intriguing questions concerning football. A team photo was then taken on the field for the Football 101 participants.
While several NFL teams and some college schools hold a football camp for women, they also charge a high price to attend the event and sometimes have thousands of participants. At Tennessee, however, the day-long camp is by invitation only, but it is free. Football 101 has averaged from 40-60 participants each year, which allows for a more personal camp.
"We have received very positive feedback each year from our participants," Hamilton said. "We may get a little bigger next year, but we want to protect the intimacy of it. We want to focus more on a personalized relationship with our participants."