LADY VOLUNTEER LOCKER ROOM
|Completed in 1989 and renovated during the summer of 1998, the Tennessee Lady Volunteer basketball locker room was already regarded as the finest women's collegiate facility in the country. That's why it may surp rise observers and frust rate opponents when they learn that the area was upgraded to an even higher level. Approximately 1,500 square feet were added to the locker room in the summer of 1998, bringing the total square footage to an eye-popping 4,500 square feet.
Upon entering, visitors will be amazed at the 900-square-foot living room and recreation area, easily the centerpiece of the redesign. This home away from home for the student-athletes includes lounge seating and occasional tables, an enormous projection screen TV and VCR for team viewing, along with custom trophy cases. Meanwhile, the recreation area houses an orange felt pool tabl e, seve ral video game systems, tables and chairs for studying or eating, a wall- mounted television and yet another custom trophy case.
Both of these areas showcase the unparalleled Lady Vol success story from the past to the present with displays containing photos of all six National Championship teams, every Lady Vol Final Four entry, SEC Championship squads and highlights of the various teams' visits to the White House. In addition, these rooms feature architectural pilasters of natural oak with brass lettering celebrating Tennessee's program and its unprecedented six national crowns.
Central to the room is a huge circular support pillar, which is traditionally signed by graduating players immediately after commencement ceremonies on the floor of spacious Thompson-Boling Arena. One hundred percent of all Lady Vol basketball players who complete their eligibility have graduated or are completing their degree requirements.
Another new feature to the facility is a 550-square-foot team meeting and film room that includes tablet arm chairs for the playe r s, a 60-inch plasma flat screen television with built-in VCR and two dry marker boards. The room also displays the impressive individual honors of current and fo rmer team members, along with pictures of UT All- A m e ricans and Olympians - more than any other school in the country for women's hoops.
While the teams, past and present, can take credit for the decorations included in their Thompson-Boling Arena sanctuary, the new look and interior motif of the renovated lockerroom can be credited to Margaret Denney. She is an interior designer with Martella Associates of Knoxville who oversaw the project.
Prior to the 1998 renovation, the locker room received a complete facelift in 1995-96 with the addition of custom wall-to-wall carpeting, a leather sectional sofa and assorted chairs, a state-of-the-art sound system, and a home theatre/surround sound big screen television. However, these amenities pale in comparison to what the Lady Vols will enjoy as they head into what they hope will be another successful campaign.
Other spaces featured in these palatial digs include a kitchen with a microwave and well-stocked refrigerator, a guest restroom, manager's office and a separate area for storage. Further down the hall is the training and taping area for basketball, the athletic trainer's private office and a physician's examining room. Around one more corner is a large dressing area for the players, complete with individual cubicles. Connected to this area are individual showers, whirlpools and restroom facilities.
The atmosphere is made homey with plush carpeting and fine furniture throughout with the predominant colors being orange, white and columbia blue. Over the past several years, custom rugs were made highlighting each of the NCAA Championships. The living room, recreation area and meeting room all feature creative carpet borders and custom insets of contrasting carpets cut into graphic basketball shapes. In fact, the players' dressing room has a custom carpet inset of a basketball containing the words, "National Champions '87, '89, '91, '96, '97, '98." The carpet is a textured loop product with hues of navy, orange and beige.
Hundreds of collegiate coaches and fans took a tour through the locker room during the Final Four in 1990. Their interest was piqued due to Coach Summitt's eviction of the Lady Vols from their plush pad after a dismal 1989 road swing through California. The story landed on the front page of the USA TODAY sports section and was the topic of conversation with the media for the month the team was kept out of the locker room. Said junior pivot Carla McGhee at the time, "It was like we didn't pay our rent by playing hard and she evicted us."
LOCKER ROOM STATISTICS