Dan Fleser: Dungy, Manning Among Those Paying Tribute To Tamika Catchings

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

KNOXVILLE – While listening to a compilation of video tributes to Tamika Catchings, it didn’t take long to come upon a Tennessee presence.

Right after former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy’s opening congratulations, there was Peyton Manning. The former Vols quarterback was sporting a gray t-shirt adorned with an orange Power T. He interrupted a workout to laud former Lady Vols basketball star Catchings for being inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

Manning’s fashion statement didn’t say as much as his compliment.

“I’m honored to know you, honored to call you a friend,” Manning said. “Proud to be a Tennessee and Indianapolis ambassador with you. You’ve carried that role so well and wear that hat in an appropriate way.”

Catchings and Manning share the distinction of being Indianapolis sports icons. They both have long histories in the city and led their respective teams to championships. Manning quarterbacked the Colts to a Super Bowl victory over Chicago in February of 2007. Catchings led an injury-depleted Indiana Fever squad to a WNBA championship in 2012.

Like Manning, Catchings always will be associated with Tennessee. And its not just the fans who hold on tightly to her legacy. She does as well. The late Pat Summitt, who coached Catchings at UT, was at the forefront of Catchings’ thoughts in considering the Naismith honor.

“I’ve tried to emulate so much of her on and off the court, with the way that I’ve worked, the work ethic that she instilled in me in my collegiate years,” said Catchings during an interview posted on the Fever’s website.

“Off the court, being able to watch her, the way she always carried herself at such a high level. All the character qualities that you think about with Pat Summitt, I’ve tried to emulate.”

In so doing, she’s established a foundation in her adopted hometown that promotes fitness, literacy and youth development with a focus on low- to moderate-income communities in Indianapolis.

Catchings operates a tea shop/café in the city. She’s preparing for her first draft as the Fever’s general manager.

Like Summitt, Catchings has carried herself at a high level, high enough for Dungy to conclude: “To me, you’re not just a hall of fame basketball player, but a hall of Fame person in the community of Indianapolis. Can’t thank you enough for all that you’ve done for our city over the years.”

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb and Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett both expressed a similar sentiment. Holcomb went so far as to say that, well, he didn’t know what to say.

“I can’t tell you in words how proud I am of you,” he said

I wrote about Catchings the basketball player when she was inducted earlier this year into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville. The June induction ceremony has been cancelled by the coronavirus pandemic. The Naismith induction, which is scheduled for Aug. 29 in Springfield, Mass., will be a big entry on the player’s resume. 

Considering the Naismith honor from an Indianapolis perspective, though, has given me a greater appreciation for Catchings the person and who she’s become since leaving Tennessee. While basketball has been a big part of the evolution, there’s now more to her than that.

There’s a lot more worth emulating.

* * *

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

 


CoCo Bosman To Join Mocs' Tennis Roster In Fall 2021

SEC Announces 2021 Baseball Schedule

Randy Smith: The Totally Dysfunctional Vol Football Program, And How About Will Healy?


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's tennis head coach Chad Camper announced the addition of Coco Bosman to the program today. A native of Baarn, Utrecht, in the Netherlands, Bosman ... (click for more)

The Southeastern Conference on Tuesday announced conference baseball schedules for all 14 SEC schools for the 2021 season. The 2021 SEC baseball season is comprised of the traditional four ... (click for more)

Once again, for the fifth time in 13 years, the University of Tennessee is searching for a head football coach. Jeremy Pruitt was fired on Monday after only three years due to NCAA recruiting ... (click for more)



Sports

CoCo Bosman To Join Mocs' Tennis Roster In Fall 2021

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's tennis head coach Chad Camper announced the addition of Coco Bosman to the program today. A native of Baarn, Utrecht, in the Netherlands, Bosman will officially join the team in the Fall of 2021. "The team is really going to benefit with the addition of Coco," stated head coach Chad Camper. "Not only is Coco a great player, but ... (click for more)

SEC Announces 2021 Baseball Schedule

The Southeastern Conference on Tuesday announced conference baseball schedules for all 14 SEC schools for the 2021 season. The 2021 SEC baseball season is comprised of the traditional four weeks of non-conference play followed by 10 weeks of conference series. The NCAA permits teams to being play Feb. 19, and the first weekend of SEC series is March 19-21. The schedule is ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Lee Tells General Assembly "It's Time To Intervene For Our Kids

Saying the COVID-19 pandemic has caused major disruptions for schools, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee told members of the General Assembly, "It's time to intervene for our kids." The governor spoke at the opening of a joint convention on education that he called. His remarks as prepared for delivery are: Thank you Lt. Governor McNally and Speaker Sexton, Speaker Pro-Tem ... (click for more)

2 Men, 21, 40, Shot In Separate Incidents Monday Evening

Two men were shot in separate incidents on Monday evening and showed up at a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries. At approximately 8:41 p.m. Monday, Chattanooga Police were dispatched on a report of shots fired in the area of Olive Street and Roanoke Avenue. While en route, officers were advised that a 40-year-old man had arrived at a local hospital by private vehicle ... (click for more)

Opinion

It's Time For Impact Fees

This letter is regarding the potential high density development on Snowhill Road in Ooltewah. Growth is good. But it needs to be responsible growth. It would be instructive to see studies by other communities who have already gone through this so we can understand just what is the taxpayer cost burden of these high density developments. Additional taxes to add infrastructure, ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: We Ramp Up

As you know, federal and state employees will honor Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday today (Monday) so it will be tomorrow (Tuesday) when the vaccination efforts to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus in Hamilton County will really begin to ramp up. This week will also mark the start of “Round Two” for our First Responders, our medical providers, and others who were given their ... (click for more)