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Academics are important, but there is more to the Volunteer experience than what happens in the classroom.

Whether on the stage or on the field – show time or game day – there is something here for everyone.


On Rocky Top 2014

On Rocky Top 2014

THE DAILY BEACON • 3B Arts & Culture Editor Claire Dodson


Assistant Arts & Culture Editor Cortney Roark

Jenna Butz

Staff Writer In a nearly hidden sliver in a row of restaurants and shops lies the hidden jewel of Knoxville’s music scene. The Parlor, an eclectic music store on Gay Street, possesses a flair for the interesting, rare and antique. Specializing in vintage instruments, patrons can find anything from a 1920s banjo to a 1960 Gibson electric guitar. This attention to hand-selected, interesting and often rare instruments helped establish The Parlor not just in Knoxville, but throughout the world. “We ship all over the world on a regular basis; the stuff we carry is not easy to find,” Josh Sidman, owner of The Parlor, said. “Our product is not easy to find, and we can’t reorder new stuff. The search is a big part.” Sidman buys the store’s vintage instruments himself often through eBay and Craigslist. People also walk into The Parlor to sell. While he has experience with vintage instruments, Sidman admits it’s been a learning process in buying instruments outside of his own favorites: the mandolin and bass. However, he admitted he sees his knowledge of mandolin as a strong appeal of the store. “In the beginning, I focused on mandolins because that’s what I knew well, and there’s definitely a niche market there,” Sidman said. “I thought that was a way to establish a position for this shop that would appeal not just in the local area but all over since there’s only about five shops that have a really good mandolin selection. And it’s worked.” The idea of The Parlor formed five years ago with a slightly unusual idea: to combine a café with a music shop. However, after obtaining a space in north Knoxville and beginning the process of putting the idea together, the city shut the operation down. It was then that Sidman heard of an opportunity with the Knoxville Visitors Center. With WUOT’s Blue Plate Special every day, they were also looking to introduce a café for the concert series. After putting their name in, The Parlor was selected for this opportunity. “We did that for about a year and a half,” Sidman said. “The Blue Plate Special is in that space, and given the focus on food and music, it was an

ideal spot to establish an identity in Knoxville.” However, space difficulties prompted Sidman to give up the job. At the visitors center, there is no kitchen, which resulted in The Parlor leasing another space, preparing the food there and transporting it to the center. After leaving, Sidman learned of another opportunity. Shortly after giving up the Knoxville Visitors Center, the shop that was originally Morelock music became available. “Matt Morelock had started that shop at similar time when we were starting ours,” Sidman said. “But, he moved halfway around the world to Hawaii and found that running a store from that far away made business not really work. Then, we started discussing the idea of The Parlor. We obtained that space in December 2012 and have been rebranding from Morelock since.” Beyond traditional music store offerings, The Parlor also sells a selection of vintage clothing and collectables. With items such as vintage cowboy boots, jackets, leather vests, dresses, hats, flasks and lighters, this section was revived during the switchover from Morelock Music. “That was actually a part of what Morelock did, but by the time I took the place over, that had more or less stopped going on, but a lot people I talked to mentioned missing that aspect of the store,” Sidman said. “I thought it would fit in well with what we do. It fit in nicely with the overall vibe while helping appeal to general traffic. With our location on Gay Street, we get a lot of walk-ins, so that aspect has helped.” In addition to being a music store, lessons are also available. Five instructors share three studio rooms where they each teach anywhere from two to 20 students a week on various string and percussive instruments and voice. The Parlor also does more than just sell music. Every Monday night at 7 p.m. right next door at Suttree’s High Gravity Tavern, The Parlor hosts free jam sessions where Sidman plays with whoever is willing to join. Afterwards, a guest musician also plays for free at 9 p.m. Lately, Sidman has noticed a growth in UT students who have joined the weekly jams and has even invited some of their bands to perform. “A couple students play this type of

Photos by Janie Prathammavong • The Daily Beacon

Vintage music store adds strum of culture to Gay Street

music and started showing up,” Sidman said. “I’ve only known them for a few months through this, but I think they’ve started bringing their friends. There’s a community of players here with acoustic roots. Some of them have bands, and I’ve even had some of them play. There’s a home for it here.” Sidman sees The Parlor’s vintage fare in both musical and non-musical aspects as helpful in establishing the shop’s spot in the Knoxville community. Coming from New York and having lived in larger cities, Sidman said he believes Knoxville’s music scene appreciates The Parlor in a way that fits it in with the community. “For two reasons this business very much belongs here,” Sidman said. “First, the music scene here is The Parlor, located on Gay Street, sells vintage instruments, clothing second to none. ... I think our music and furniture. The Parlor also offers music lessons for voice and scene is bigger, deeper (and) richer various other instruments. than larger cities. Everyone goes to New York thinking it’s this great recycling stuff of all kinds. With a cool York City. creative hub, and I found life too harsh. vintage article of clothing, you’ll never “There’s something very cool about ... Knoxville has a world-class music show up to a party and be embarrassed, vintage,” Sidman added. “A piece scene, and I knew The Parlor would unlike a party because someone else is becomes unique as it gets older and thrive here. wearing the same thing. But, if you buy gets rarer. I think that’s something in “Second, the community is very a $200 Giorgio Armani shirt, then you this community that people really like.” oriented toward vintage and reusing, will, and that’s what happens in New



On Rocky Top 2014 Arts & Culture Editor Claire Dodson

Assistant Arts & Culture Editor Cortney Roark

UT’s Canoe and Hiking Club finds solace in great outdoors • courtesy o f Brian Payne

Claire Dodson

Arts & Culture Editor While students lug heavy backpacks up and down the rolling hills of UT, they do not often stop to appreciate Knoxville’s unique geographic location. The UT Canoe and Hiking Club, however, spends its weekends embracing all Knoxville and the surrounding areas have to offer by backpacking, spelunking, kayaking, rafting, biking, climbing, cross-country skiing and taking mountaineering trips. The club, a part of RecSports, is entirely studentled and organized. The $50 semesterly fee covers gas, lodging and some gear for any trip the students plan. Brian Payne, junior in mechanical engineering and president of the club, said he hopes to promote the many unique opportunities UT students have available to them. “The Knoxville area has so much to offer,” Payne said. “With the mountains so close, it opens up a bunch of outdoor

opportunities. “I think it is important for students to take advantage of this location because there is so much fun to be had in the outdoors.” While the Smokies are a popular destination for people who love the outdoors, undecided sophomore Austin Eddy said he simply gives encouragement for students to broaden their adventureseeking horizons. “A lot of people always say ‘You really should go hike in the Smokies while you have the opportunity,’” Eddy said. “While I’m certainly not disagreeing, as I do hike there when I can, I actually spend a lot more time taking advantage of the close proximity of the Obed Wild and Scenic. It is about an hour away from Knoxville and has over 450 rock climbing routes, some of which are considered the best in Tennessee.” Many club members, like Payne and Eddy, have a background in the outdoors – Payne lived in Alaska for five years, and Eddy has been camping since the age of four. For students less naturally inclined, however, the club offers a community of students that hope to encourage new people in their fresh air pursuits. “Before I joined Canoe and Hiking, I had never really done anything outdoorsy,”

said Hayley Moran, a junior in child and family studies and psychology who transferred to UT her sophomore year. “However, in just two years I have tried everything from outdoor rock climbing, to first time snowboarding, to crawling on my knees on our annual caving trip. “After coming to the first meeting in fall of 2012, I was hooked.” Moran said joining the club helped her conquer some of her fears about the challenges of trying new things. “The club really opened me up to new experiences and has really given me a new relationship with nature,” Moran said. “I honestly just never knew I was capable of doing these things until everyone in the club encouraged me to try them. I always assumed they were too strenuous or that I would be too slow to keep up with everyone else. “C&H really just cares about having fun and being with each other outside, so its never a competition or anything like that. Everyone just wants everyone to be enjoying themselves.” UT students are often in the prime of their lives, and it is a time that students should be taking advantage of their youth, Moran said. “Unfortunately, I feel that UT’s community mostly cares about partying on the weekend when they could be spending their time observing the beautiful world around them,” Moran said. “We have the rest of our lives to go to bars on the weekend. Why not spend this time stretching your body and your mind when you live in such a geographically advantageous place?”

On Rocky Top 2014

THE DAILY BEACON • 5B Arts & Culture Editor Claire Dodson

ARTS Square Room offers old-school feel for local artists

Assistant Arts & Culture Editor Cortney Roark

Liv McConnell

Copy Editor The Square Room, which has been generating buzz around town for its intimate atmosphere and support of local artists, is a venue that believes in thinking outside of the box when it comes to booking entertainment. Nestled down a cobbled alley in Market Square, the venue’s lit sign, reminiscent of what might have highlighted the entrance to a 1940s night club, hints at the old-school charm awaiting inside. Dark curtains flank a stage whose grand piano serves as focal point; large linen-clad tables dot the dance floor; a bar offering beer and wine borders the back of the room. A bygone audience of dapper dans and dames, puffing on cigars and pinching cigarette holders between gloved fingers, easily could fit in here. It is exactly this cozy and nostalgic charm that The Square Room, which shares a mutual building and owner with Café 4, prides itself on. “One thing that’s unique is that it is smaller and intimate,” said Kenny Woodhull, director of public shows and ticketed events. “We really strive to create a listening environment. Other small rooms have more of a bar scene, and the music can become second priority.” That’s not the case at The Square Room, where the artist on stage is clearly the focus, Woodhull said. “Some clubs you go to for the night and it’s a cool thing, but you wake up in the morning and don’t really remember the band you heard,” he said. “We want you to wake up in the morning and think, ‘Wow, that was one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to.’” The range of performances

seen on The Square Room’s main stage run an impressive array of genres. “We try to create programming that is consistently excellent and reaches a diverse audience,” Woodhull said. “Our audience demographic runs the gamut from UT students, to people in their mid-20s and 30s, to alternative folks, the jazz community and classical enthusiasts. In addition to musical diversity, we’ve also hosted storytelling and small theater productions. “We have an eclectic nature to our programming, but the common thread is quality and the listening environment.” For Tyler Anthony, a 2011 psychology grad and lead singer of local band Cereus Bright, that “listening environment” proves beneficial both on and off the stage. “From the beginning, the mission behind The Square Room really was to facilitate listening,” Anthony said. “The art isn’t background entertainment. It’s about the music when you go there. As a musician, that’s really important.” Anthony can attest to this importance first-hand after taking the stage at the Square Room last October. “We’d been traveling a lot and came back to play The Square Room (a few months ago),” he said. “It was so nice to be in a place where you don’t have to fight for the audience’s attention.” After having experienced the struggles bands often face when trying to take off on the local level, Anthony partnered with The Square Room to find a way to facilitate the careers of his fellow Knoxville artists. On the first Wednesday of every month, the Square Room Showcase features up-and-coming local acts. “When we first started Cereus Bright, we found that

the road to grow and develop a local fan base for certain kinds of music was not best served in bars,” Anthony said. “Kenny gave us The Square Room as a place to dream. It will be a kind of stepping stone for local bands to play bigger gigs, including at The Square Room.” The venue also seeks to cultivate the local music scene through its weekly SingerSongwriter Night. “On Thursdays, we recognize local singer-songwriters through a friendly competition,” Woodhull said. “Weekly winners get $50, while monthly winners get $100 and a chance to compete for the $250 Best of Season spot. Whoever is identified as the best will go on to the nation- Cereus Bright performs at the Square Room on March 7 in Knoxville, Tenn. al competition and the chance to work with music producer Ed Cash.” While listening to local and nationally touring artists alike, audience members at the Square Room can reap the culinary rewards of the venue’s unique partnership with Café 4. “We’re not just The Square Room, we’re the Square Room in Café 4,” Woodhull said. “Because of this, we’re able to do so many unique things with food and beverage and offer special combinations of food and entertainment, like our lunches with the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra.” On the first Wednesday of every month, the KJO Jazz Lunch features Vance Thompson leading the jazz orchestra in a Café 4 catered luncheon for the cost of a $15 ticket. This is just one example of the Square Room’s commitment to providing a platform for Knoxville’s musicians, Anthony said. “The vibe is incredible and the kinds of bands just keep getting better and better,” he said. “In terms of size, it’s definitely the best venue in Knoxville. You won’t be disappointed.”

Claire Dodson • The Daily Beacon



On Rocky Top 2014 Arts & Culture Editor Claire Dodson

Assistant Arts & Culture Editor Cortney Roark

More than words UT language program starts conversation between American, International students Jenna Butz

Staff Writer Ellen Ford and Poliana Espindola chat over coffee, go to First Friday together and chat about what’s going on in Knoxville. But these casual meetings aren’t merely good conversation; they are good practice. Ford and Espindola are part of the English Language Institute’s Conversation Partners Program, which pairs international students with native English speaking students to expand their English vocabulary and learn more about American culture. Ellen Ford, a senior in College Scholars, found the program through her Portuguese class last year. After visiting Brazil twice for research, Ford wanted to maintain her skills after returning home. Now, she meets with Espindola, from Brazil, who is working to improve her English to study nutrition. Currently, Espindola only studies English at ELI. International students work with the ELI if their TOEFL score, the exam testing mastery of English as a foreign language, is too low to enroll in degree classes at the university. While involved with the ELI, students can live in dorms, get a VolCard and use all campus facilities. However, they cannot receive degree credit. “In the fall, I’m going to take classes at UTK,” Espindola said. “So I need to be prepared, and I would like to get English influence, make friends and to be immersed into American culture.” Beyond academic benefits, the program pushes students to bridge the gap between American and international students. For ELI students, that gap can be particularly wide. “In past semesters, I’ve met

and hung out with many of the undergraduate international students who attend university classes,” Ford said. “But the students at ELI are more isolated. Poliana mentioned that within ELI, students typically get to know others who speak their native language but don’t get the same opportunity to meet American students.” For many ELI students, the nuances of “street” English necessitate interpersonal practice. “In the classroom, you’re practicing mainly academic English,” said Erin Smith, the Conversation Partners Program coordinator. “They’re reading textbooks and focusing on grammar a lot. With

“We’ve only known each other for a few weeks, but we’re definitely friends.”

- Ellen Ford a conversation partner, they get to learn how people their own age talk. It’s much different from what they learn in the classroom. They get a lot of really useful vocabulary that way, I think.” The international student isn’t the only beneficiary. When interested volunteers email her, Smith sends an application requesting the candidate’s hobbies, availability and preferences regarding their partner’s cultural background. She then compares these applications with the ELI’s current pool of students and matches students accordingly, allowing both students access to a fluent speaker. “Sometimes, I get people who are also practicing another language,” Smith said. “So, maybe a

French student would want to be matched with a French speaker, and then they can split the time: half in French and half in English. It’s up to them what they want to get out of it.” Smith mentioned hearing of a student attending Thanksgiving dinner with his conversation partner. Similarly, Ford and Espindola communicate outside meeting times, drawing them closer over the last month. “We also share music on Google docs, which has become a sort of homework for me,” she said. “We’ve only known each other for a few weeks, but we’re definitely friends.” Ford has become an outlet for Espindola to speak plainly about her difficulties with English and ask questions without embarrassment. “It isn’t monotonous or mechanical when we hang out,” Espindola said. “Every time we meet each other is different and adorable. I do feel comfortable to ask her my doubts and questions about the idiomatic expressions or grammar, for example.” Ford expressed similar relief, having found someone to help improve her Portuguese before future trips to Brazil. The multiple connotations of certain words, for example, are not always included in university curriculums. By speaking with Espindola, Ford learned concepts she hadn’t realized she might need to know. “Speaking one-on-one with a native speaker for an hour forces you to stop worrying about constantly making mistakes,” Ford said. “Conversation really fills in the gaps that typical classes leave. “I really like this program because I can learn not just about the language but about culture and history and politics from someone who grew up surrounded by it.”

On Rocky Top 2014

THE DAILY BEACON • 7B Arts & Culture Editor Claire Dodson


Assistant Arts & Culture Editor Cortney Roark

s oto Ph All esy urt Co e• dig run yB yle Ha of con ea yB ail eD Th

From left to right: Cruz Contreras of the Black Lillies, Holly Williams, Celia Woodsmith of Della Mae, Deena Robbins of Crab Apple Lane, and Nicole Johnson of Elenowen.

Rhythm ‘N Blooms delivers in Old City Jenna Butz

Staff Writer For the Old City, a lively, bustling weekend night with patrons venue hopping is nothing out of the ordinary. However, from April 4-6, something was different. Instead, the loud partier was replaced with the quieter, yet just as energetic, Rhythm N’ Blooms festival goer. Americana festival Rhythm N’ Blooms overtook the Old City on Friday and Saturday, and then the Knoxville Botanical Gardens on Sunday as acts from the local to the national overtook the soundscapes of Knoxville. Playing Rhythm N’ Blooms for the first time, Tim Lee 3’s Tim and Susan Bauer Lee were most interested in the variety of music to be seen despite the festival’s label as an

“Americana” festival. “When we look at this festival, there’s no one playing this weekend that we’re remotely like that I can think of,” Tim Lee said. “I mean there’s a few that we’re kind of like, but not really. But... that’s the fun part.” Shows spanned the area, taking residence in The Standard, Remedy Coffee and Boyd’s Jig & Reel among others. Each venue encompassed its own ambiance for its shows. At Remedy, shows in the back room were warm and intimate. At the Pilot Light, it was sweat and grit. At the Jackson Avenue Viaduct Stage, it was loud and playful. Saturday night saw the largest crowd, with patrons crowding to see Shovels & Rope’s lively show that resulted in Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent teasing both each other and the audience. Sunday saw a change

of venue to the Knoxville Botanical Gardens, where all attendees were seated in the grass with their array of colorful blankets and quilts. The day was filled with the sounds of Caleb Hawley, Mutlu, Ben Sollee, Tim O’Brien & Darrell Scott, The Black Lillies and finally Brett Dennen. For some, the acts drew them in. For others, it was the festival atmosphere and the relationships that are formed there. “It’s always fun; it’s a great atmosphere,” Barham said. “We love it because a lot of bands that we know play them, so it’s like a family reunion among bands. “We all tour separately so much, and festivals are the time where we can get together for at least a day or two and just drink craft beer and listen to other bands play for once. It’s really fun.”


On Rocky Top 2014 Sports Editor Troy Provost-Heron


Assistant Sports Editor Dargan Southard

Matthew DeMaria * Tennessee Athletics

Exclusive Butch Jones interview Sports Editors Troy Provost-Heron and Dargan Southard sat down with UT head football coach Butch Jones to talk SEC, schedule changes and more. Dargan Southard: Since you’ve been hired, you’ve advocated for a stronger student presence, specifically at games. Especially with big home games like Florida and Alabama games this year, what can a strong student presence at the game do for the team? Butch Jones: Well, I think that was witnessed this past year with the South Carolina game. Our student body can really impact the game in terms of making Neyland Stadium a great home field advantage. Our student body means everything to us. To our players, it’s their peers, which is very important. We talk about ‘One Tennessee,’ and when you look at the landscape of college football and you look at the decline in student attendance, where at Tennessee we’re increasing our student attendance, and I think that speaks volumes for the passion that our student body has. Our stu-

dent section saw a 46 percent increase last year in attendance, and that’s important. I love our student body, and anytime I can give back or be around them, I love being around them. DS: This year, the university decided to move all student tickets to the lower bowl. How will that impact home games this season? BJ: I think it will involve them more into the game. They will have more of an impact in creating that home field advantage for us. Troy Provost-Heron: When you first took the job in December of 2012, did you expect the program to be as far along as it is now? BJ: We have made monumental strides in a relatively short period of time, but we are nowhere close to where we need to be. But I continue to see progress on the field, off the field, in our culture and in our environment day-today. We have made significant strides in moving forward and we will continue to do that, and it’s great to see. Sometimes those steps in moving forward maybe aren’t measured in wins, but they are measured in everything else and eventually those will lead to wins. That’s why we need everyone to continue to help us go through this maturation phase of our football program and support it. TP: You talked about those strides you’ve made since you’ve been here. Do you feel as if you’re in a position to where you can compete in the SEC this year? BJ: That’s why you’re a competitor. You always believe you can compete. It’s like I tell our football team: The team that has the most talent doesn’t necessarily win, it’s the team that has the best team. Team chemistry, playing complementary football in all three phases – offense, defense and special teams – staying healthy through the long

Tennessee Volunteers Head Coach Butch Jones and the Tennessee Volunteers run through the “T” during the season opener between the Western Kentucky University Hilltoppers and the Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium on September 7, 2013 in Knoxville, TN. course of the season, but also keep everything in perspective and be able to manage the many adversities that a long football season creates and that comes a lot from leadership. We only have 12 seniors on our football team right now, so leadership from everyone, every class is going to be at a premium. DS: Over the last 10 years, UT has had big non-conference games against “Power Six” schools, but as of late they’ve been even more prominent – going to Oregon, Oklahoma, Battle at Bristol, the 2015 opener at LP Field. What do those big out-of-conference games do in terms of returning Tennessee back to where it has been? BJ: First of all, it’s a great challenge, especially when you are trying to build – and re-build – a football program. So much comes with winning. Your morale, how individuals perceive things, so it makes our schedule a great challenge, and then you couple that with playing in the toughest football conference in the country, which is the SEC, makes it even more challenging. But there’s also benefits that go along with it. Exposing your players. Playing against really good competition before you enter the SEC schedule. Also, going and competing in different venues. You look at the philosophy we are having now of playing neutral site games and the ability to go into our backyard in Nashville and play in LP Field to open the

2015 season has really helped us from a recruiting standpoint, but it is also a way of rewarding our fan base. And then of course in 2016, being able to break the world record for fan attendance in all of football. All of that prepares your team in so many ways throughout the course of training camp, but also for a bowl game. What it’s like to prepare and go play in a neutral-site environment. With that said, we fully anticipate even though LP Field is a quote-on-quote neutral site and Bristol is a neutral site, we expect those to be a Tennessee fan base. DS: How do those two big in-state, neural site games help with in-state recruiting? BJ: It helps immensely. To be able to sell a young man that you’re going to open up the 2015 season in downtown Nashville, especially since the midstate has been so good to us in recruiting. We’ve made so many in-roads there and relationships, that to be able to play one of our home games – I consider it a home game – there downtown is significant. We talk about being “One Tennessee” and being able to start off in our great home state and being able to take a game here and a game there, I think speaks volumes for what we are doing here, but also the importance that we place upon the entire state of Tennessee. See BUTCH on Page 11

On Rocky Top 2014


SPORTS BUTCH continued from Page 10 DS: With the hiring of Donnie Tyndall, the football and basketball departments have seen seven coaches in seven years. How important is it to regain that stability inside the athletic department? BJ: We’re going through that right now from a football standpoint. You win with stability, and you win with continuity. Every situation is different. Every situation has its reasons for why it has happened. All I can speak on is behalf of football. We have to get stability and continuity in our football program. That’s what we are building here, and that’s what we now have. That’s what we have for the future. When you look at that, you see the advantages of having continuity and stability. You see a top-five ranked recruiting class. You see a program making tremendous strides in the classroom, on the field, off the field, the culture, the environment that’s in place, and that all comes with stability. That comes with having the same language each and every day. They are not learning new people because at the end of the day, every great family, every great organization is bonded upon trust. TP: A college football game hasn’t been played in three months and yet college football continues to make headlines throughout the country with the unionization at Northwestern and the NCAA’s announcement on Tuesday that they will provide players with unlimited meals. What are your thoughts about everything going on in college football right now? BJ: I think it’s a great illustration of the ever-changing landscape that is college football – that is athletics in general. It’s society, it’s the world that we live in, and it’s always about being able to adapt and adjust and to make the most out of changes.

Sports Editor Troy Provost-Heron

Assistant Sports Editor Dargan Southard

the next phase of our summer strength and conditioning program, I’ll probably research a little bit more, but I haven’t had much time to really dive into it and see what’s going on there. DS: Last semester you were involved with the whole band situation. As a former band member in high school, how important is the Pride to establishing a positive atmosphere on gameday? BJ: It’s critical. The band is part of who we are. They are part of the student body experience. They are part of our football family. They are part of our tradition. So the band aspect is very important to us. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know a lot of these members on a personal basis and I consider them part of our family and I respect everything they go through on a day to day basis – the giving of their time, the accountability that it takes to play in the band, the sacrifice that - Butch Jones it takes. They are going through the same things as a football team does. It’s all about the team and tial. Everything is about recov- teamwork. I’m their biggest fan. TP: You get Tennessee’s two ery as well, because we ask so much from our student-athletes. biggest rivals at home for the So now to have the ability to first time since you’ve coached give them three solid meals and here. What are you specifically to be able to gauge them from looking forward to in those a nutritional standpoint, I think games against Florida and that really helps in their overall Alabama or any other game? BJ: We have to be able to development. I think you’ll see gains off the field, but I also think compete and get the game into you’ll see gains from it in the the fourth quarter and have the classroom from the nutrition end ability to win the game, but of it – the ability to recover each that’s a long ways away. I think and every day. So I think that is I lean more towards Sunday extremely healthy for the game night against Utah State. You have Boomsday, a great event, of football. TP: How do you think in town. It’s going to be familythe unionization effort at filled and it’s going to be great Northwestern affects the future for the entire state of Tennessee. All our thoughts right now are landscape of college football? BJ: I had an opportunity to on Utah State, which is a bowl talk to some of the coaches at team. They possibly have a firstNorthwestern regarding it, but round draft pick at quarterback. I haven’t really spent much time Their players know how to win. on that issue. I have really been They have a standard and expecfocused at the task at hand and tation in place, and they are a that’s making this a better foot- very good football team. So all ball team. With spring ball now my focus and energy is on the in conclusion and us going into Aggies of Utah State. It’s how you embrace change. And that cuts back to the stability and continuity conversation we just talked about. But I like the meals. Everything in our program is based on the total development of the student-athlete. And so much of it is the rehabilitation of injuries. It’s the importance of nutrition. It’s about developing and meeting your fullest poten-

“A ll our thoughts right

now are on Utah State, which is a bowl team. They possibly have a first-round draft pick at quarterback. Their players know how to win.”



On Rocky Top 2014 Sports Editor Troy Provost-Heron

Assistant Sports Editor Dargan Southard

Who to watch

Troy Provost-Heron

Dargan Southard

Marquez North: It didn’t take long for him to make himself known. Throughout his freshman season, the Charlotte, N.C., native made tremendous catch after tremendous catch. With a more pass-friendly offense in the works for the Vols, expect North to vastly improve on his 38 catch, 496-yard season in 2013.

A.J. Johnson: After deciding to return for his final season in early January, it’s no secret that this senior will be a key part of UT’s defense in 2014. The Gainesville Ga., native is the clear cut leader of the linebacking corps and will be asked to guide a bevy of underclassmen linebackers, including Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Kenny Bynum, Neiko Creamer and Justin King.




Sports Editor

Josh Richardson: His tourna-

Asst. Sports Editor

Kevin Punter: After new Tennessee

ment performance where he averaged 19.3 points per game was no fluke. Richardson has one of the best mid-range jumpers in college basketball, and his range is improving everyday. Expect him to be the Vols’ leading scorer in 2014-15, all while shutting down his opponent on defense.

head coach Donnie Tyndall wrestled him away from Missouri in early May, it became evident that Kevin Punter would be a solid addition to the Volunteer back court. A 6-foot-4 shooting guard from State Fair Community College in Sedalia, Mo., Punter averaged 20.3 points per game and was named a NJCAA First-Team All-American following his sophomore campaign.

Jordan Reynolds: This

Cierra Burdick: As one of three

sophomore blossomed into one of the Lady Vols most clutch offensive performers during their postseason run. Her seven points in the final four minutes against Kentucky propelled UT to their 17th SEC title in program history. As a starter in her second season, look for Reynolds to make even more magic happen.

seniors on the 2014-15 roster, this forward will be a prime candidate to replace both the scoring numbers and leadership abilities of former Lady Vol Meighan Simmons. In 35 games last season, Burdick averaged 8.7 points and 7.3 rebounds per contest, but she will certainly need those figures to increase if Holly Warlick’s squad is going to do any sort of postseason damage.

On Rocky Top 2014



in 2014 - 2015 Steven Cook




Copy Editor

Patrick MacCoon Staff Writer

Jalen Hurd: With a green offen-

Curt Maggitt: With no returning starters on the defensive line and a surplus at the linebacker position, this redshirt junior has shifted to defensive end. His leadership on and off the field for the Vols has been huge so far, and his great instincts on defense should bring a solid rush to the table.

Derek Reese: After getting into

Armani Moore: With Donnie

Mercedes Russell: The Lady

Isabelle Harrison: She just

sive line and no Rajion Neal, Jalen Hurd will walk into a split backfield with Marlin Lane and a chance at plenty of touches. If he runs like he has shown glimpses of, he could be in for a Jamal Lewis-esque freshman season — or at the least, take some of the pressure off Lane and the passing game.

the rotation and playing big minutes last year, Derek Reese’s stock is soaring entering 2014-15. Reese will play as a stretch four – a polar opposite to the style that UT’s frontcourt ran last year –, and his ability to give the Vols another athletic, scoring wing all while defending the post will be as big a factor as any for Tyndall’s debut season.

Vols will have a chip on their shoulder coming into next season, but they can’t win their ninth national title without Russell making significant strides as a sophomore. To avoid being eliminated in early March again, UT will need the 6-foot-6 center to do more than the 6.3 points and five boards per game that she showed in 2013-14.

Tyndall now in town, the future looks bright for this junior, especially considering his new head coach likes to put an aggressive and unique defense on the court. The 6-foot-5 guard recorded 20 blocks in limited playing time and was one of four players to shoot 47 percent this past season.

finished one of the best seasons a junior has ever had as a Lady Vol. Not only did she shoot a careerhigh 58 percent from the field, but also set the record for most double-doubles by a junior at UT. For her senior season, she may even have more in store with a talented roster surrounding her.


On Rocky Top 2014 Sports Editor Troy Provost-Heron


Assistant Sports Editor Dargan Southard

A Vol’s Best Friend: Get to know Smokey Sports Editor

What could you do in five minutes? The answer to that question could be an array of things, but for one UT student, five minutes is more than enough time to make friends with tens of thousands of people. The process is as easy as a costume change and a mask on a Saturday afternoon in the fall. Following a morning full of appearances throughout the campus, there he is, leading the Vols out of the tunnel as they run through the ‘T.’ “I don’t really know how to explain it, that’s just such a great experience,” he said. “There is just such a big feeling of family because everybody is there for the same cause, they

all just love UT and there is just so much orange and they are all just chanting at the same time. It’s just one of the really big things about the job.” That job, of course, is being Smokey, the mascot of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. In his three years in the suit, he has perfected a character that requires an extraordinary amount of detail for every last second of a game. Costume changes, gathering props and preparing skits, celebrations and interactions are all requirements of the job, and while under the mask, all of it must be done without going unseen. “The ultimate goal is that Smokey is seen and prevalent at all given times in the stadium,” spirit program Head Coach Joy Postell-Gee

not provided that luxury. “So not only has he had to provide that for the character Smokey, but also for his understudies, so I feel like he has had to do double duty and I think he has certainly captured some goals and expectations that we had become complacent on in the past couple of years.” With an identity that needs to remain anonymous, the ability to snap out of character once the suit has been shed is a necessity. After an entire day of interacting with fans, however, that task is easier said than done, he says. “After an event with little kids, I’ll go change and get out of suit and just b e

walking out – and I’ve caught myself from doing this several times – but I’ll go to pat a kid on the head on the way out and then be like ‘well that’s weird, I shouldn’t do that because I’m not a dog right now,’” he said. “So it’s really hard to snap back and forth.” Anyone who’s ever seen Smokey knows how outgoing he can be, but the personality of the person behind the mask is nowhere near what Smokey’s is. “Contrary to popular opinion that a mascot is always outgoing and vibrant and very communicative, his personality is not like that,” Postell-Gee said. “He is much more comfortable putting that Smokey head on and he is very verbal with his expression (as Smokey).” As one can imagine, in three years, Smokey has racked up many

Troy Provost-Heron

said. “When Smokey leaves or departs for any amount of time, that should never be a visible observance of any fan.” Throughout history, Smokey has been much more than just a character for the university. The mascot was integral in bringing national recognition to the spirit program, winning the school’s first College Mascot National Championship back in 2000. The school has since won two more mascot titles, the last in 2008. But with all the history and success that prior Smokeys have seen, Postell-Gee, who has run the spirit program since 1991, said the current Smokey rivals anyone who has had the privilege of putting on the suit. “I’ve been very fortunate in my past couple of decades to have very successful mascots,” PostellGee said. “(With that said) I would venture to say that he is probably up there with the top five. His passion for being Smokey, first and foremost, is very equivalent with any of those in the top five. The other thing is that, often times mascots when they come into the program as an understudy, they come into a really good situation because they have a great leader in their head Smokey, but I feel like, unlike some of the other former mascots, he was

Jan Th ie Pr e D ath ail y B amm ea avo con ng

Who is the man behind the mask?

memories. While being on the sidelines and celebrating touchdowns – or whatever the scoring may be for the multitude of sports that Smokey attends – is an exciting experience for him, nothing lives up to the one thing he loves most about the job – interaction. “Whenever a little kid just runs to you – and some kids are really scared and that’s fine – but others just adore you, and they’ll run up to you and look at you with these big eyes, and they are just so enthralled by the mascot,” he said. “Those are my favorite moments.” When it comes to the actual games, though, one moment is right up there with interacting with the fans. “(Other than the interaction) I guess a really close second would be running through the ‘T.’ Just hearing the crowd roar as you run, it’s like you’re being carried by their voices.” And when a long day’s work of being the most recognizable figure on campus is over and the suit is hung up for the night, that’s when he goes back to being one of more than 27,000 students, a transformation that definitely elicits some emotion. “It’s really humbling, I’ll just put it that way,” Smokey said. “It’s hard to explain.” While the experience of unmasking and reverting back to a student is a humbling one, the feeling he gets seeing through Smokey’s eyes is one he wouldn’t give away for anything. “It’s an opportunity to get out of myself and to be something else,” he said. “Some people say when you read a book, you get to escape your life and you’re just like that character for awhile ... it’s exactly like that, only real life.”

On Rocky Top 2014


THE DAILY BEACON • 15B Sports Editor Troy Provost-Heron

Assistant Sports Editor Dargan Southard

How The Daily Beacon saved my UT sports experience The first words of advice I received as a freshman from a UT graduate sports journalist, was, “If you aren’t working with the Beacon by your sophomore year, change your major.” Of course, he was around long before TNJN and other similar programs existed for journalism majors. But the Beacon’s more than 100-year-old reputation is unmistakable, as are the rewards of working for a daily newspaper. Thankfully, I had made friends with then-soon-to-be Beacon Sports Editor David Cobb in journalism class. When I randomly emailed him late in the spring 2013 semester, I didn’t expect much. He answered back and said I could join the sports staff and cover whatever I wanted — football, basketball, baseball, intramural floor hockey, whatever. I could also copy edit the paper a few days a week. When I met the rest of the staff, it was more of the same. I came in not knowing practically anyone and not knowing the first thing about how a newspaper works, but I immediately felt at home and quickly became familiar. I’ve covered stuff like the NCAA tournament, road football games, SEC tournaments and SEC football media days. I’ve been able to put my recorder in the face of Johnny Manziel, John Calipari and

“Many people in my gradu-

Steven Cook Copy Editor

When asked of Tennessee athletics during their time as a student, most people in my graduating class won’t have many fond memories. My time on Rocky Top began the same year as Derek Dooley’s — enough said for the football program. Donnie Tyndall is the third men’s basketball head coach the Vols have had in those four years. There was a Sweet 16 sprinkled in there, but that sweet turned sour awfully quick. The baseball team is 30-76 in the SEC since I got here. Get the trend? But at least for me, it’s been different. Working in sports journalism for the past four years, especially this year with The Daily Beacon, has been an unforgettable experience I’ve been incredibly lucky to have. I spent my first three years with the Tennessee Journalist. Working my way up there into the sports editor’s role allowed me all sorts of awesome opportunities and taught me lesson after lesson on what goes into covering a collegiate athletics program. Going into my senior year, though, something was missing. I had yet to write for The Daily Beacon.

ating class will cringe at the thought of the UT athletics program from 2010-14 and request a do-over. And rightfully so, considering the results. But with the memories I’ve made, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.”

countless other famous people. Those will probably be the things I brag about most from my days as a student reporter at UT. But what I will remember most are the people who helped me become who I am now — a driven, soon-to-be graduate with quality experience and a firm grasp on the sports journalism industry (did I mention I’m humble, too?). Many people in my graduating class will cringe at the thought of the UT athletics program from 2010-14 and request a do-over. And rightfully so, considering the results. But with the memories I’ve made, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Steven Cook is graduating summer 2014 with a degree in journalism and electronic media. He can be reached at or on Twitter @steventerrycook.


On Rocky Top 2014

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