Tennessee's Butch Jones Inspires Orange Grove Gathering

Energetic Football Coach Featured Guest At Lunch Of Champions Tuesday

Tuesday, May 7, 2013 - by John Hunt

The contagious spirit of Big Orange Country was overflowing at Orange Grove's Bucky Williams Auditorium Tuesday at noon.

With a near-capacity crowd gathered for the annual Lunch of Champions, Tennessee's newest football coach Butch Jones entertained and inspired the large contingent who are among the biggest supporters of Orange Grove Center, which is celebrating its 60th year in Chattanooga.

Jones has been a busy fellow in the past six months as he's gotten his staff in place while preparing for spring practice.

  His recruiting is a never-ending process and he's working around the clock to get Tennessee's football ship headed in the right direction.

Despite all of that, he was thrilled and honored to be invited to Orange Grove for such a special occasion.

"This place stands for everything we stand for.  I've been looking forward to being here today," Jones told a group of media members in the hallway adjacent to the auditorium prior to making his address.

"It's a balancing act with all I'm trying to do these days, but it's all about giving back.  I'm glad to be able to say thanks for the opportunity in front of us.  Obviously, we have a lot of work to do, but it takes time to create change like this.  We expect to win and we have everything we need to be successful," Jones said matter of factly.

"These guys on this football team have embraced all we've thrown at them so far and I'm very encouraged by what I've seen up to this point.  Tennessee football is a national brand as there are very high expectations associated with this program.

"It's a standard we need to uphold, but it's all been a teaching moment and I'm excited about seeing the finished product.  It's all about embracing the challenge in front of us," Jones added.

"Our goal is to get better each and every day.  We have a very high level of accountability and our spring drills were a critical time as we laid the foundation.  It's hard to get it all done in 15 practices, but I do know that we have a football team that is extremely hungry and anything is possible," he continued.

"This is what life is all about.  To be a champion is all encompassing and it's how we represent our family and our school.  We have to constantly strive to be better and we have to have a passion and commitment for being the best.

"I'm a football coach, but I'm still a teacher first and foremost.  There are three things we're focusing on in Knoxville and they're the key to our future.

"The first is a tough word that people don't like and that's discipline.  We think of it as a corrective device, but it's really the difference between being successful and not.  You can look at all the great players who have been at Tennessee in the past and they're all extremely disciplined.

"The second thing is the ability to handle adversity and sudden change.  There are times when you just have to perservere when you go through tough times, but you're a better person for doing so when you get through it.

"The third thing is leadership, which can be good or bad.  First, you have to take command of the situation.  Second, you have to coach and teach and third, you have to be a mentor.  That's probably the most important one.

"We're investing in the lives of young people and we're there to make a difference.  Not only we wanting to produce good football players, but we're looking to mold these young men into outstanding husbands and fathers.  We want them to make a difference in this world," Jones added.

The popular coach posed for as many pictures as time would allow and he signed a bunch of autographs as well.  Time was short and the lines were long, but Jones took time to address them all and he made a lot of new friends along the way in the process. 

Tuesday's gathering was by invitation only, but Heidi Hoffecker was quick to explain the purpose of the event.

"This is just our way of saying thank you to all of the folks who are loyal Orange Grove supporters.  I think we sent out about 350 invitations, but it looks like there are more than that here today," the Director of Development added.

Past Lunch of Champions speakers have included such notable coaches as Johnny Majors, Phillip Fulmer, Bruce Pearl, Gene Stallings and Vince Dooley.

(Email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@comcast.net)

 


Tuesday's Complete Prep Cross Country Results

Varsity Boys 5000 Meter Run                   =================================================================     Name                  Yr ... (click for more)

Randy Smith: Mocs Could Be Like 1998 Vols

I've never really liked  to compare teams from one era to another. It's really not fair to either team, but when I look at the 2016 UTC football team, I see a lot of similarities with the 1998 Tennessee Volunteers. In case you might need to be reminded, those Vols finished 13-0 and won the national championship. The Tennessee team the year before made a lot of noise, ... (click for more)

City To Begin Shipping Much Of Its Garbage To Bradley County

City Public Works Administrator Justin Holland said the city plans to begin shipping much of its garbage to Bradley County. He said the deal is projected to extend the life of the city landfill at Birchwood by 15 years. Mr. Holland said Bradley County "has a huge landfill and takes garbage from Knoxville and other municipalities. It's regional." He said Bradley County charges ... (click for more)

Man Says He Did Nothing To Provoke Shooting At Bakewell Gas Station; Suspect Says Victim Was Coming Toward Him

A 33-year-old man who was shot in the face during a clash at a Bakewell gas station said he did nothing to provoke the shooting. The man charged said the victim cursed him, then started toward him. General Sessions Court Judge Clarence Shattuck, after a hearing on Tuesday, bound to the Grand Jury a charge of attempted first-degree murder against Donald Stuard II, 29, of Old Washington ... (click for more)

Something Beautiful Happened Monday Night - Not The Debate

Monday, Sept. 26, our first presidential debate happened; no minds were changed.  Yet something beautiful and important happened.  The Atlanta Falcons, my team, played the New Orleans Saints.  Instead of some irrelevant, broad based, screw America protest, the opposing teams locked arms in unity. I was impressed. I have been a Falcon Fan since 1971 when WMOC AM ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Our 2.0 Embarrassment

Let’s pretend you are coming to a new and exciting world. You are on the jolly good ship “Mayflower” when some Miles Standish-type of a guy (he was the Pilgrim’s first cop) calls you into is presence and says, “Within two hours we are expected to stand on Plymouth Rock. Please come up with ten primary goals we should have in our public schools.” I believe you could do it within ... (click for more)