Dan Fleser: This Visit To The Hall Was Extra Special For Joan Cronan

Sunday, June 9, 2019 - by Dan Fleser

KNOXVILLE – Joan Cronan estimates that she’s been to the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame “thousands” of times before this weekend.

While the former University of Tennessee women’s athletic director’s estimate might be overly generous, it’s no stretch to assume that she was the featured attraction on many of those occasions. She’s passed through the Hall’s doors countless times to be a featured speaker for companies that had reserved the facility for corporate gatherings.

“They have their beginning of the year meetings or their sales meetings or any type of motivational (meeting),” she said.

“So it really is fun to be here and use it like that.”

Cronan’s feelings about her latest visit have been much different. They’re more personal in nature and more mind-boggling. This hasn’t been business as usual but rather a distinct honor. She’s one of seven inductees comprising the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2019.

During a media session on Friday, Cronan described the honor as “icing on the cake” for an administrative career that spanned five decades. She was the Lady Vols’ AD for 29 years (1983-2012).

“I was an OK player and coach but to be inducted as a contributor…,’’ she said. “On my tombstone, I hope it says, ‘I made a difference.’ This is kind of part of the making a difference thing. So I’m absolutely thrilled.”

A group of UT officials that included current athletic director Phillip Fulmer joined Cronan and the other inductees Friday night for a reception at the Hall. Fulmer congratulated Cronan via Twitter, saying: “Well deserved honor for a special lady! Enjoy your day!”

The official induction ceremony was Saturday night at the Tennessee Theatre in downtown Knoxville. During her speech, Cronan said that the honor “really gives me goose bumps.”

Cronan is inclined to think of the Women’s Hall in terms of players and coaches. She indicated on Friday that her career and any comments on her part ought to be considered in the context of former Lady Vols coach Pat Summitt’s legacy. Under Cronan’s watch, Summitt won eight national championships.

Cronan was one of three contributors inducted this year. The others were Nora Lynn Finch, the inaugural chair of the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee, and Beth Bass, former president of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association.

Bass played basketball for four years at East Tennessee State before coming to UT and serving as graduate assistant in media relations/marketing. She worked in the same athletic department with Cronan and Summitt.

“Somebody ought to do an ancestry.com for coaching and administration,” Bass said. “I think that would be interesting. How did you get in this business? Who were your mentors?

“You think about Joan’s family tree. I’m so proud. I’m the 14th person to be inducted who had some connection to Tennessee. I was really proud of that. Whether that’s Joan’s influence or whether that’s Pat’s, that meant a lot to me.”

* * *

Dan Fleser is a 1980 graduate of the University of Missouri who covered University of Tennessee athletics for the Knoxville News Sentinel from 1988-2019. He can be reached at danfleser3@gmail.com 


Dalton State Women Finish Strong At UTC Twilight Meet

Red Wolves Fall To Lansing Ignite 4-3

CFC Wins 3-0 Over Visiting Napa Valley


The Dalton State Lady Roadrunners competed Friday evening in a rare local meet hosted by The University of Tennessee–Chattanooga. Even more rare was the fact that it was a 4K (2.5 miles) race ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Red Wolves SC (8-8-9) fell to Lansing Ignite FC (12-5-9) 4-3 at Cooley Law School Stadium Saturday night. In a high-scoring match, Lansing’s goal in the 90th minute would prove to ... (click for more)

Corner kicks are, in many ways, similar to the most unlikely of American Football plays. Hail Mary passes involve heaving a deep pass into traffic, where the attacking side hopes someone will ... (click for more)


Sports

Dalton State Women Finish Strong At UTC Twilight Meet

The Dalton State Lady Roadrunners competed Friday evening in a rare local meet hosted by The University of Tennessee–Chattanooga. Even more rare was the fact that it was a 4K (2.5 miles) race – a little shorter than the standard 5K distance of most meets. With half the competing schools representing NCAA Division I programs, it was very competitive day. If you want to run faster, ... (click for more)

Red Wolves Fall To Lansing Ignite 4-3

Chattanooga Red Wolves SC (8-8-9) fell to Lansing Ignite FC (12-5-9) 4-3 at Cooley Law School Stadium Saturday night. In a high-scoring match, Lansing’s goal in the 90th minute would prove to be decisive in the defeat. The Red Wolves opened scoring in the 3rd minute with Vangjel Zguro striking an in-swinging corner kick that went untouched into the upper left corner of the net, ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Tennessee American Water Begins To Restore Water Service

Tennessee American Water successfully completed repairs to the impacted water main around 4 a.m. and has begun the process of restoring the system. Officials said, "The return to normal operating conditions will occur slowly and return last to customers at the highest elevations within the system, such as Lookout Mountain and Elder Mountain. We anticipate that most of the system ... (click for more)

Darrell Hill, 20, Shot And Killed On Dahlia Street; 3 Teenagers Arrested

Darrell Hill, 20, was shot and killed on Dahlia Street Thursday afternoon. Three teenagers have been arrested for the homicide. At approximately 12:14 p.m., Chattanooga Police responded to a p erson shot call in the 3900 block of Dahlia Street. Upon arrival, police located the victim lying on the ground with an apparent gunshot wound. Hamilton County EMS pronounced him ... (click for more)

Opinion

We Remember Sept. 11th

Our nation was attacked on Sept. 11, 2001 and our world changed. Muslim terrorists called al-Qaeda, with training camps all around the world were responsible for the death of the more than 3,000 victims. This is an enemy unlike any we have ever faced. There are multiple countries, multiple fronts and multiple threats. This enemy is committed to the absolute destruction of the ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Country Music’s Top 98

It was in the late ‘80s, not long before Auburn and Tennessee would play early in the year to set the early pace in the annual SEC race. I needed Auburn football coach Pat Dye to help me understand the early-season strategy of what the loser of the game between Tennessee and Auburn would need to do to stay viable in the home stretch of SEC play that year; it affected bowl invitations ... (click for more)