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)


Lee Baseball Wins 9-1 Over Albany State

Senior Trent Hill enjoyed one of the best days of his career at Lee University on Sunday afternoon. The lefty hurled five innings of one-hit ball and struck out nine Albany State players. His performance continued with a pair of doubles and a triple in five trips to the plate. He knocked in three runs in Lee's 9-1 victory. The win completed the three-game sweep over the visiting ... (click for more)

Lee Softball 3-2 At Gulf Shores Invitational

Thanks to five home runs the Lee softball team swung past Tuskegee, 14-5 to finish up the Gulf Shores Invitational  on Sunday  afternoon. The Lady Flames ended the three-day event with a 3-2 mark and are now 5-3 overall. Tuskegee falls to 0-4 on the young season. The home run derby started early as NiaRaye Ceasar launched a two-run bomb in the top of the ... (click for more)

Underground Fire Closes Several Downtown Streets

An underground fire closed several downtown streets late Saturday afternoon. At approximately 5:20 p.m., the Chattanooga Fire Department responded to a reported fire in a man-hole at the corner of Chestnut Street and W. 8th Street. When fire companies arrived on the scene, they found black smoke coming from an underground electrical service line. The man-hole cover had been ... (click for more)

16-Year-Old Who Was Shot In The Head In East Ridge Dies

Monserrate Ferrer, the 16-year-old who was shot in East Ridge on Friday, has died. Investigators will meet early next week with the Hamilton County District Attorney's Office to discuss the case. The shooting that involved two juveniles was at the 4200 block of Bennett Road. Responding officers found a 16-year-old boy in the bedroom with a gunshot wound to the head. East ... (click for more)

The City Failed To Watch The Chattanooga History Museum Dollars

The tell tale signs of the History Museum's folly have been evident for years. When I was a former member of City Council I interviewed Dr. Daryl Black, Ph.D. to determine if I should argue for or against the annual funding of his organization. His interview, the multi-year history of administrative non-performance (despite consistent repetitive funding), and a review of the organizational ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Greenholtz: A No-Brainer

I am going to make this as simple as I possibly can. There are three fine lawyers now running for Criminal Court Judge and anywhere you go there will be people who like and admire Tom Greenholtz, Boyd Patterson and Mike Little. But when we select a judge, it should never be based on popularity. That’s why Gov. Haslam picked Greenholtz over both Little and Patterson this summer to ... (click for more)