Thornton Center
Student-Athlete Development
02 / 08
UT Celebrates Girls & Women in Sports
By: Volife Skills , Categories: Volife , Comments Off on UT Celebrates Girls & Women in Sports

On Thursday, February 2nd, several UT student-athletes took part in the celebration of National Girls & Women in Sports Day by visiting Beaumont Magnet Academy to share the impact of athletics in their lives.

Loran Grant (Rowing), Josie Jennings (Soccer), Kayleigh Moody (Volleyball), Emily Morrow (Soccer), Maya Neal (Soccer) and Gabbie Richardson (Rowing) all arrived at Beaumont Magnet Academy in Knoxville to greet third and fourth grade girls interested in sports. The event allowed the children to have an opportunity to share a one-on-one conversation with an athlete and included a panel Q&A session as well as a Title IX video presentation.

Although the event was primarily for Beaumont girls to learn about topics like gender inequality in sports and the historical progress made by women in athletics, the elementary students made sure to include some fun of their own, introducing the athletes with flair over a microphone and making sure each question in the Q&A panel began with a “What’s your favorite…?” question.

The event was sponsored by Girls Inc., a non-profit organization in east Tennessee. This year marks the 31st anniversary of the annual National Girls & Women in Sports Day.

12 / 05
UT Travels to Gatlinburg
By: Volife Skills , Categories: Volife , Comments Off on UT Travels to Gatlinburg

On Friday, December 2nd, more than 40 student-athletes from various UT sports teams traveled to Gatlinburg, Tennessee to show their true volunteer spirit. Days before the trip, students worked together to compile toiletries for the victims of recent wildfires that have plagued the area. The first destination was New Hope Church, a distribution center in nearby Kodak, Tennessee. After more than an hour of unloading, sorting, and packaging supplies, student-athletes traveled to the Red Cross shelter at Rocky Top Sports World in Gatlinburg. Here students were able to encourage evacuees and speak with the first responders on site. After nearly 4 hours of service students returned to Knoxville to prepare for their upcoming finals.

11 / 16
First Big Orange Game
By: Volife Skills , Categories: Uncategorized,Volife , Comments Off on First Big Orange Game

On Sunday, November 13th, the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) introduced its first ever Big Orange Game. These games were initiated by SAAC to foster unity and support among UT student-athletes by promoting several sport competitions a semester for all student-athletes to attend. More than 40 students arrived at Pratt Pavilion to enjoy music, games, and food before heading over to Thompson-Boling Arena to watch the women’s basketball team face Navy. Fittingly, SAAC was recognized during the first timeout of the first quarter for its leadership and service within the community.


Before heading to the WBB game, students enjoyed cornhole, table tennis, pool, and more.


More than 40 student-athletes attended SAAC’s first ever Big Orange Game.

10 / 27
Voloween 2016!
By: Volife Skills , Categories: Uncategorized,Volife , Comments Off on Voloween 2016!

Superheroes and creepy monsters took over Neyland-Thompson Sports Center on Monday, October 24th, for the Tennessee athletic department’s annual Voloween event. Kickstarted in 2012, Voloween brings together UT faculty and staff and their families for a night of trick-or-treating and games with Tennessee student-athletes. Decked out in their best costumes, kids run from station to station grabbing candy and playing games. The activities featured include everything from attempting to eat a donut hanging from a string to trying to dunk a member of the swimming and diving team in a dunk tank. Other activities for the kids included shooting layups with the basketball team and measuring the speed of their baseball/softball pitches with a radar gun. Grayson Steele, an eager participant in the Voloween festivities, had a blast hitting the dunk-tank bulls-eye and knocking athletes into the water. “I play baseball during the year,” Steele said. “I had a lot of fun dunking (the Vol). It was really funny to see him fall in.” This event has become a favorite for UT student-athletes each year. Instead of worrying about mid-terms or practice, the athletes can take a night off have fun with the kids in the community who look up to them.

10 / 27
Project Elevate: Zaevion Dobson Hero Day
By: Volife Skills , Categories: Uncategorized,Volife , Comments Off on Project Elevate: Zaevion Dobson Hero Day

On Saturday, October 22nd, UT student-athletes joined LaTroy Lewis in giving back to the community at Zaevion Dobson Hero Day. Lewis, who planned this event through his organization Project Elevate, wanted to show Knoxville’s youth ways in which it can effectively serve its communities while having fun. During the event, children from the Lonsdale community were able to enjoy a variety of fun activities, including face paintings, inflatables, giveaways and more. In addition, volunteers raised money for Lonsdale Elementary School by running a car wash. Lewis’ enthusiasm for the project spread to several UT sports teams and to his football teammates, including Kenny Bynum, Thomas Edwards and Todd Kelly Jr. Bynum and Kelly both spoke to the kids and Edwards served as the event’s on stage master of ceremonies. The event was ultimately organized to commemorate the legacy of Zaevion Dobson, a Lonsdale native and former Knoxville Fulton High School football player, who was killed last December while shielding 3 girls from a spray of bullets.



Latroy Lewis during his Hero Day event.


Thomas Edwards engaging with the youth during a trivia game.