Vols' Martin Hangs With UT Students; Vols Dedicate Habitat House

Friday, August 31, 2012 - by special report to chattanoogan.com

KNOXVILLE -- Tennessee basketball coach Cuonzo Martin was out and about Thursday, eating lunch with UT students early in the day and attending a Habitat for Humanity new-home dedication with this players in the afternoon.

On Wednesday, Martin Tweeted an invitation to the UT student body to join him and his staff for lunch at Presidential Court Cafe in the heart of campus. The students responded Thursday, packing the cafe and displaying their enthusiasm for Tennessee athletics while entering an academic year filled with optimism.

Martin – who posed for pictures, shook hands, fielded questions and signed autographs for students – was joined Thursday by several members of his coaching staff. The lunch continued a string of similar attempts by Martin last year to engage and interact with the student body.

 

LUNCH PHOTOS: http://bit.ly/NAjgBt

LUNCH VIDEO: http://bit.ly/NFzKlN

HABITAT PHOTOS: http://bit.ly/OwvlUw

HABITAT VIDEO: http://bit.ly/OMQOJr

“This is just a causal way for our staff to hang out with the students,” Martin said. “We do this from time to time, and it’s great. I like (interacting with the student body) because your players are actually students, and this is their environment. You want to get a feel for where your guys hang out and also be a part of the student atmosphere.”

Nicole Fyffe was one of many students who got to meet Martin Thursday.

“It’s definitely an awesome experience,” Fyffe said. “It reminds you that (the coaches here are) normal people, too. It definitely gets people thinking ‘Oh, they come eat with us, so maybe I should start watching and supporting them.’”

Tennessee baseball coach Dave Serrano and members of his staff joined the basketball coaches for lunch with the student body Thursday as well. Martin and Serrano have struck up a friendship since beginning their respective UT head-coaching careers in the spring of 2011.

Later Thursday afternoon, Martin and his entire Volunteers team attended the dedication of a new home that they helped construct earlier this summer in conjunction with Knoxville Habitat for Humanity. Members of the Lady Vols basketball team attended Thursday’s dedication as well, as they also worked on the building project alongside the Vols when the house was in its early stages of construction in June.

During the dedication ceremony, Vols senior Jeronne Maymon and Lady Vols senior Kamiko Williams presented homeowner Karen Lowe with the keys to the house.

“(Having the Tennessee basketball teams here) shows they really care,” Lowe said. “They’re not just doing it for show. Hopefully other people will hear about this and realize that if (the basketball players) can find time to volunteer during their busy schedule, anyone can go volunteer.”

The home was constructed in such a way that it is completely accessible to Lowe, who is a little person. Light switches, thermostat controls, countertops and other facets of the home have been strategically placed so that Lowe can enjoy her new home with the highest level of independence possible.

“It’s really funny to me that the tallest people helped me,” Lowe said with a laugh. “If I had to do all this without Habitat, I would not be here now. It would have taken years to save up for the down payment and all of that. And even then, the house wouldn’t have been built correctly for me. Habitat makes a huge difference.”

For Maymon, it was the second Habitat home he’s assisted with during his time as a Vol.

“It definitely feels good to help give someone a home – a place to lay their head and a place where they feel safe,” Maymon said.

Lady Vols senior Taber Spani added to that sentiment, citing that the student-athletes took just as much away from the experience as the homeowner.

“It’s really unbelievable,” Spani said. “To be here (in June) when the foundation was laid and put up those first four walls and now to come back… it’s just a beautiful home and a beautiful young woman who’s going to hopefully enjoy it.

“We know we’re looked to by the community as role models, and we love that. If we can help and give back in any way possible, we’re willing and wanting to do that.”

Knoxville Habitat for Humanity President and CEO Kelle Shultz expressed gratitude and appreciation for Vols coach Cuonzo Martin and Lady Vols coach Holly Warlick allowing their teams to take part in a Habitat build project for a second consecutive year.

“It’s a tradition now,” Shultz said of UT’s involvement. “We’re truly blessed. We are ‘The Volunteer State,’ so It’s such a wonderful honor, when we need so many volunteers to help us accomplish our ministry and our work of building houses, to truly have ‘The Volunteers’ come out and be a part of this.”

For the most up-to-date information about the Tennessee basketball program, visit UTsports.com/basketball and follow @Vol_Hoops on Twitter.

(E-mail Stan Crawley at wscrawley@earthlink.net)


Randy Smith: Lady Vols Softball - UT's Best Program?

The Tennessee Lady Vols softball team is headed to the "Sweet 16" of the NCAA Tournament for the ninth time. Eighth-seeded Tennessee will host Texas A&M in a best two out of three series, with the winner advancing to the Women's World Series. The Lady Vols secured the trip to the Super Regionals with a 3-0 win  Sunday  over Longwood, as sophomore pitcher Matty ... (click for more)

Morris Wins Signal Mountain Invitational

Adam Morris shot  69 on Sunday and won the championship of the annual Signal Mountain Invitational at the Signal Mountain Golf and Country Club. Morris, the only golfer in the field to shoot in the 60s in all three rounds, finished at 203 (69-65-69). Mikey Feher finished second at 205. Randy Yoder won the Senior Flight at 212 (74-72-66). He finished two shots ahead ... (click for more)

Erlanger Expects $5 Million Profit Despite "Very Challenging" Budget

Erlanger Health System officials said they expect a $5 million profit for the upcoming fiscal year despite a "very challenging" budget. Britt Tabor, chief financial officer, said there will be continued top line growth, which has brought a 51 percent rise in patient revenue over the past five years. "This is organic growth. It's not from mergers or acquisitions," Mr. Tabor ... (click for more)

Public Defender Says Another Entity Needs To Continue Funding For New Mental Health Court

Public Defender Steve Smith said another entity needs to take over funding the new Mental Health Court. He said Criminal Court Judge Don Poole has agreed to oversee the court and will make a budget presentation to the County Commission on May 31. Mr. Smith told members of the Pachyderm Club on Monday that he has been funding the program through the services of Anna Protano ... (click for more)

Tennessee Business Expansions On Rise Across State

In 2016, Tennessee was named State of the Year for Economic Development by Southern Business & Development Magazine based on project totals and the variety of industries that invested in the state and created jobs. To a great extent, Bradley and Polk Counties have benefited from that investment.   From February 2015 to February 2016, Cleveland/Bradley County led the ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Public Defender And The Mental Health Court

I am holding in my hand a list of the names of 50 very real people who cost the taxpayers of Hamilton County a combined $3,037.090 in incarceration charges before July 2015. These people live in our county and I dare say it is not completely their fault that they were put in the county jail. Each has a professionally-diagnosed mental illness and today, most regretfully, the County ... (click for more)