Jan. 13, 2012
This is the fourth of a 10-part series looking at each member of the Vols' 2012 roster leading up to the start of the season Jan. 20 with a home double header against Memphis and Eastern Kentucky beginning at 1 p.m. All 10 feature stories will be part of the 2012 media guide.
BY DREW RUTHERFORD
Regardless of whether a "House Divided" license plate is on Glenn Reese's car, that's an accurate description of his life at home.
In the South, no loyalties run deeper than the colors worn on autumn Saturdays. The Kennesaw, Ga., native, raised his son Hunter to be a Georgia Bulldogs fan. Glenn is a UGA alumnus and a season ticket holder at Sanford Stadium. A shrine of sorts exists somewhere in the Reese family's basement, paying tribute to Georgia football.
"The walls are Georgia red, there is all kinds of Georgia memorabilia," said Hunter. "I hated Tennessee--the color, the school, everything. But then it all changed."
As a senior at North Cobb Hugh School, Hunter was ranked the No. 2 prospect in the Peach State by tennisrecruiting.net. As colleges began to contact and recruit him, he started catching Big Orange Fever.
After breaking his wrist, Hunter emailed coaches from all over the country, however only one responded: Vols head coach Sam Winterbotham. After an unofficial visit, Reese was sold.
In fact, he was so sure that he graduated high school early to enroll at UT in January 2011.
"Sam mentioned that he'd like to have me here for a semester to redshirt and get some extra time in before I started playing," said Hunter. "At first I wasn't interested, but as the months went by I changed my mind. That was the right path for me.
"It was the best decision of my life. The improvement I made last semester was incredible. To see everything last season was such a valuable experience this season. Things won't feel new, I won't be surprised. It was just a great, great experience for me."
While he was adjusting to a new school and collegiate tennis, he was also adjusting to a new color--Big Orange.
"It was different, but it wasn't too hard," said Hunter. "I made my decision. I'm a pretty proud person and I am definitely proud of my school. I love Tennessee."
His arrival on The Hill was a gold star for Tennessee tennis, as well. It's safe to say most top Georgia prospects become Bulldogs. Reese was the first Georgian to choose the Vols since Jason Parker arrived on The Hill in 1993.
"It's pretty cool," said Reese. "I know Jason and he's a great guy. It's cool to be the first one to come up here in a while. I think it says a lot about our program. Georgia has such a great program so for Tennessee to get me out of Georgia says a lot about our program and our coaches."
His decision to enroll early paid off this fall as Reese, along with fellow freshman Mikelis Libietis, posted big wins over ranked opponents, most notably defeating 19th-ranked Kentucky duo Eric Quigley and Alex Musialek in the finals of the Ohio Valley Regional Championship.
"I wasn't playing for myself, I was playing for my team," said Hunter. "That was really the first taste of what a dual-match would be like with all of our team there cheering for us. It kept me pumped up the whole time. It was so much easier because they take care of the emotions."
While Reese quickly embraced the Vols and that trademark Orange, his father is still a work in progress. Rocky Top isn't exactly the top-played song on his iPod.
"He probably knows the words, but I doubt he would admit to it. But I know he wouldn't sing it," said Reese. "But he wears his Tennessee tennis hat all the time."
While Glenn probably still wears red and black on those autumn Saturdays, you better believe he's wearing Big Orange during tennis season, even if he doesn't sing Rocky Top.