Thursday, November 22, 2012

SxSE: Rocky Top

Lindsey Nelson Stadium:
  • Opened: 1993
  • Capacity: 3,800
  • Named after: Lindsey Nelson, Volunteer alum and New York Mets play-by-play announcer

from Project Phantom
Why "Volunteers"?

Tennessee acquired the name "The Volunteer State" during the War of 1812. At the request of
President James Madison, Gen. Andrew Jackson, who later became President himself, mustered 1,500 from his home state to fight at the Battle of New Orleans.

The name became even more prominent in the Mexican War when Gov. Aaron V. Brown issued a call for 2,800 men to battle Santa Ana and some 30,000 Tennesseans volunteered. Tennessee's color guard still wears dragoon uniforms of that era at all athletic events.

The term "Volunteer State," as noted through these two events, recognizes the long-standing tradition of Tennesseans to go above and beyond the call of duty when their country calls. The name "Volunteers" is often shortened to "Vols" in describing Tennessee's athletic teams.(

Is Volunteers Baseball headed into a new golden age?
  • From RockyTopTalk, June 2007, following the firing of longtime head coach Rod Delmonico:
    Delmonico will be remembered for directing the Volunteers to College World Series appearances in 1995, 2001 and 2005. But his legacy also will include feast-or-famine seasons that thinned support for the baseball program, which missed the NCAA tournament seven of the past 10 years.
    . . .
    Most Vol baseball fans have had an opinion on Delmonico for some time now. Personally I've never been a big fan of the guy. I've felt sorry for players I think he misused (like R.A. Dickey, whose arm is now held together with duct tape), but mostly I've never felt like Tennessee baseball -- even in the good years -- was fun. And if you can't look forward to enjoying a day at the ballpark, something's wrong. 
  • From, April 2012
    But in less than a year on campus, Dave Serrano is now doing something that might ease the offseason pain just a bit. A Tennessee Baseball program that was completely irrelevant on campus during the entire reign of Todd Raleigh now finds itself in the midst of a meaningful SEC campaign. . . . What does appear to be a guarantee is that Serrano has this program going the right way in a hurry. The Vols have gone from irrelevant to competitive in less than a year, led by young talent like Drew Steckenrider, Will Maddox, Zack Godley, and Nick Blount. This Tennessee team is scrappy, an always-lovable quality on the diamond.
♦ Conditioning Coach Brian Gearity Video on the University of Tennessee Baseball Experience

Best All-Time SEC Baseball Player (
While there are numerous notable Southeastern Conference college baseball standouts, the best all-time SEC baseball player is one who is still playing the game at the professional level. Todd Helton of Knoxville, Tennessee entered Major League Baseball play as a member of the Colorado Rockies since the 1997 season. But, before that he was the star first baseman (and pitcher) for the Tennessee Volunteers.
. . .
In 1995, Todd Helton was named the National Collegiate Player of the Year and before he would begin a career with the Colorado Rockies, he would leave Tennessee with a large collection of honors. These included the Dick Howser Player of the Year Award; The Collegiate Baseball’s Co-National Player of the Year; and, the Southeastern Conference’s Male Athlete of the Year Award (only second baseball player to ever win that). He was a first-team All-American two years in a row. Helton won numerous other awards – too many to recount all of them here.

Helton became a well-known and important member of the Tennessee team, as he helped lead the Volunteers to three straight NCAA Regional appearances, as well as a 3rd-place finish at the 1995 College World Series. Helton was named MVP of the SEC Baseball Tournament three years in a row.

The most successful and stable sport at Tennessee is women's basketball. Women's basketball coach Pat Summit has the most wins in NCAA history, and has won 8 national titles.  She announced her retirement in April, due to health issues.  Knoxville is the site of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame.

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