May 30, 2012
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - With the Women's College World Series just one day away and every game slated for broadcast by ESPN or ESPN2, all eight teams at this year's NCAA Division I softball mega event got a little taste of dealing with the media horde on Wednesday, as the WCWS version of "Super Bowl" media day was held inside the USA Softball National Hall of Fame and Museum.
Originally slated to be outside but altered due to the threat of inclement weather, the Lady Vols endured three hours of media sessions on the day. Take a look at what the softball team went through on Wednesday in order for viewers at home to enjoy the WCWS on television once games begin tomorrow.
9:30 a.m. - The team is up and eats breakfast at the hotel, fueling up for a busy afternoon of media obligations.
12:45 p.m. - Prior to heading to the stadium, the majority of the Lady Vols get on the bus and head to Jason's Deli for lunch
12:53 p.m. - Before Andrews can even get into the press conference, Mike Baldwin of the Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City) steps in to interview her, asking who she wants to win the NBA Finals among other things.
12:57 p.m.- Ralph Weekly and Andrews are up on the podium, joined by the head coaches and a student-athlete from Alabama, Arizona State and Oregon for the first of the day's two press conferences.
1:00 p.m. The press conference goes live on ESPNU as the coaches and student-athletes answer questions in front of seven cameras and approximately 20 members of the media.
1:02 p.m. - Ashley is asked one of the first questions, explaining the rivalry between Tennessee and Alabama and how excited she is to face the Crimson Tide in the opening round of the World Series.
1:07 p.m. - In what turned out to be a lightning-quick press conference, reporters flock to the coaches and student-athletes for one-on-one interviews.
1:09 p.m. - With Alabama being the first round matchup for the Big Orange, Ralph Weekly is interviewed by Tommy Deas of the Tuscaloosa News.
1:15 p.m. - Interviews conclude inside the stadium press conference room and Tennessee trio heads out before they have to return for the media gauntlet that awaits them.
1:57 p.m. - The entire UT softball team arrives at the USA Softball National Hall of Fame and Museum for an array of interviews with NCAA.com and ESPN, dressed in its Orange Women's College World Series jerseys and gray pants.
1:58 p.m. - The squad takes a quick team picture in front of a monument and sign a few autographs before entering the facility.
2:11 p.m. - The elder Renfroe sister, Ivy, who has experienced the media frenzy before, meets with NCAA.com's Jerry Trickie.
2:20 p.m. - While waiting in the lobby for ESPN to finish up with Alabama, members of the team do some improv picture taking with "fatheads" of UT's four seniors as well as signing autographs and taking pics with fans visiting the Hall of Fame store.
2:25 p.m. Ralph Weekly takes his turn with Trickie, discussing the Orange and White's appearance at the World Series.
2:28 p.m. - Across the room Karen Weekly sits down with the ESPN on-air talent staff of Jessica Mendoza, Holly Rowe, Pam Ward, Beth Mowins and Michele Smith.
2:30 p.m. - Junior third baseman Raven Chavanne is the first Lady Vol to brave the trip downstairs at the Hall and Fame, is interviewed by the ESPN production staff and then shoots some promotional footage.
2:40 p.m. - Once Chavanne is done with ESPN, the Renfroe sisters are interviewed on camera about playing together while growing up in Jackson, Tenn., and at UT.
2:43 p.m. - Madison Shipman, Andrews and Burchell take their turn in front of the ESPN cameras, posing for photos and intro videos.
2:52 p.m. - The entire team finally ventures to the basement to be filmed for the talking lineups, where they state their name, hometown and a fun fact about themselves. Some fun facts include Burchell being from the Mule Capital of the World, Columbia, Tenn., freshman Hannah Akamine's once auditioning for American Idol and Melissa Davin having been tall enough to ride every ride at Disneyland by the time she was four years old.
2:57 p.m. - Once done downstairs, Chavanne heads back up to interact with the ESPN talent.
3:00 p.m. - Ivy and Ellen shoot a promo for "The Worldwide Leader" at the WCWS and head upstairs to join Chavanne in talking with the ESPN personalities.
3:04 p.m. - Junior second baseman Lauren Gibson is the next to step-up in front of the ESPN cameras, shooting promo videos.
3:05 p.m. - As the Lady Vols are being filmed for the line-ups, Mowins quickly interrupts, shooting a WCWS promo on camera, nailing it in just one take.
3:10 p.m. - The Lady Vols finally conclude the lineup intros and head back upstairs before it's off to practice.
3:12 p.m. - Once the team has concluded its portion of filming, Karen Weekly takes to the ESPN hot seat, previewing the World Series.
3:19 p.m. - In a last minute request, the Renfroes and Chavanne race back downstairs for one more quick promo that includes the use of the head of UT's mascot Smokey. Unbeknownst to any of them, and with some help from Lady Vol assistant media relations director Brian Davis, who has bravely put on Smokey's head, the quartet is asked to dance to the event's theme song. After much convincing, the job is sort-of done with much laughing and some embarrassment.
3:22 p.m. - The team heads back to the bus to change into their practice gear.
3:30 p.m. - UT takes to the practice field in its final tune-up before the matchup between the SEC East and West Champions.
4:30 p.m. - After an hour of practice on one of the three practice fields, the squad then moves to the ASA main field for its final portion of the practice.
5:15 p.m. - Co-Head Coach Ralph Weekly ventures back over to the ESPN specialty shoot area for his own five-minute stint in front of the camera, outlining his team's arrival at the WCWS and their hopes for success at the event.
5:20 p.m. - Longtime Lady Vol bus driver Don Bustle even gets in on the media act as a reporter for The Oklahoman asks to interview him about his love for the Lady Vols and his many trips with the team since back in 2004.
5:25 p.m. - Before the Big Orange are set to depart, Ralph Weekly informs that team that four Lady Vols were selected All-Americans in Ellen Renfroe, Gibson, Chavanne and Shipman, tied for the most in the nation.
5:35 p.m. - The bus is finally packed up and the team heads off to dinner at Ted's Escondido Cafe for some Mexican food and some much needed relaxation.
8:20 p.m. - Team finally arrives back at the hotel after a full eight-hour day at the World Series.