Tell me about Stokely Athletic Center.

#76
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#76
My Dad was a big golden gloves fan. We would go over there 2 or3 times a year to watch them fight. Got to talk to him several times over the years, both while he was in the Golden Gloves program, and after he turned pro. As to too many blows to his head, I don't see that. Until Weaver, I don't think he was ever hit hard. He usually knocked the other guy out early. And no, John was not mentally retarded. If you ever talked to him, he was actually pretty bright. He just got addicted to drugs. Badly addicted. Whether he had a learning disability or not, I cannot say. But I do believe he was stubborn as an ox. Last time I saw him, he was hanging out at Fountain Lanes when another friend and I were over there bowling. That was about three month before he got killed. Think about him what you wish; I liked the guy.
IMO the years of blows to the head heavily contributed to his drug addiction, mental failings, and horrible life choices. I’m certainly not a medical professional but my amateur diagnosis would be that his downfall was directly linked to CTE or something similar. He was a mess not long after that Weaver fight. Opening himself up to the Weaver knockout was a major mental lapse.
 
#77

Hallie

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#77
Mike Edwards’ senior year was the year before Grunfeld’s freshman year (1972-73 and 1973-74). John Snow and Rodney Woods were the guards Ernie’s freshman year. Rodney’s senior year was Ernie's sophomore and Bernard’s freshman years. Mike Jackson was in Ernie’s class but rarely played in varsity games as a freshman. Mike Jackson and David Moss were stars of the 1973-74 JV team. Jackson became the off guard King’s freshman year as John Snow had graduated. Austin Clark was the 6th man.

The 1974-75 roster had one of the greatest starting 5s ever, but Ashworth was small for a center. King. Grunfeld, Woods, Jackson, and Ashworth. If only Kosmalski would have had one more year of eligibility that team could have won it all. It was really a 2 guard, 3 forward lineup in an era that large centers/low posts were critical for success. Ashworth would have been an ideal 6th man.

The final score of the Temple game in the 1973 Volunteer Classic was 11-6.
Went to Atlanta and watched TN loose to UCLA .. Reggie Johnson and Johnny " dirt dobber" Darden joined King, Grunfeld and Jackson ... as starters .. I was in school there then .. spent night in freezing cold in student lines just to get KY tickets .. friend of mine parents had a RV .. we parked on the street next to student car.. and had to check in the line every hour .. it was freezing outside .. we were popular with the ladies during that night .. lol ...
 
#78
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#78
Ok .. I was just going off a memory from way back but I was close on the score .. I remember all those guys you mentioned watched them all play alot .. I can remember watching that 11-(6) game .. I was on front row .. players actually sat down on court a couple times ..
The post game intra squad scrimmage was a disappointment. I don’t remember players taking seats on the floor (I’m not disputing that... I wasn’t very old and my attention wandered) but it seems like some did jumping jacks during the stall. It was Grunfeld’s 5th game and the 117 points TN scored two games earlier was one of the highest ever in a game.
 
#79
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#79
Went to Atlanta and watched TN loose to UCLA .. Reggie Johnson and Johnny " dirt dobber" Darden joined King, Grunfeld and Jackson ... as starters .. I was in school there then .. spent night in freezing cold in student lines just to get KY tickets .. friend of mine parents had a RV .. we parked on the street next to student car.. and had to check in the line every hour .. it was freezing outside .. we were popular with the ladies during that night .. lol ...
Seems like in the UCLA game King and Grunfeld both fouled out and Jackson couldn’t match Marques Johnson and David Greenwood basket for basket. UCLA was as blue blood as they came in 1977.
 
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#80
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#80
Being a younger fan, I never got to experience Stokely.

Interested in hearing from fans who attended games, concerts, etc. there.

What did you like/dislike about it? What was unique about Stokely compared to other arenas.

I have a big interest in old gyms, arenas, stadiums.
My Dad took me to the LSU game in 1967 at Stokely and I saw Ron Widby score 50 points there. I kept score on a popcorn box with a pen Dad had in his pocket. Later on I was at the Auburn game with my wife when Tony White scored 51 in 87. No popcorn box scorecard. Good times.
 
#84

Frozevol

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#84
The post game intra squad scrimmage was a disappointment. I don’t remember players taking seats on the floor (I’m not disputing that... I wasn’t very old and my attention wandered) but it seems like some did jumping jacks during the stall. It was Grunfeld’s 5th game and the 117 points TN scored two games earlier was one of the highest ever in a game.
I was at that game and started until the end. I just had to see the ending. Never booed so much in my life.
 
#85

Teeman

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#85
It was Great!! Much better than TBA!!!
It really was. I saw Ralph Sampson, Charles Barkley, Tony White, and Dale Ellis there. The cigarette smoke just lingered. As a freshman I had ROTC class there. Also, that is where you picked up your schedule. The concourse had pics of legends and the bathrooms were like Melrose. From an era long gone.
 
#88
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#88
It really was. I saw Ralph Sampson, Charles Barkley, Tony White, and Dale Ellis there. The cigarette smoke just lingered. As a freshman I had ROTC class there. Also, that is where you picked up your schedule. The concourse had pics of legends and the bathrooms were like Melrose. From an era long gone.
I don’t think that Ralph Sampson played at Stokely. He met TN twice in the NCAAT at the Omni in Atlanta and then a year later in Indy. Unfortunate early round draws for TN. I don’t think that the tournament was seeded yet in those years. TN nearly pulled off a win at Indy.
 
#90
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#90
IMO the years of blows to the head heavily contributed to his drug addiction, mental failings, and horrible life choices. I’m certainly not a medical professional but my amateur diagnosis would be that his downfall was directly linked to CTE or something similar. He was a mess not long after that Weaver fight. Opening himself up to the Weaver knockout was a major mental lapse.
I just read something about John I was not aware of. When he crashed that truck, he had a massive stroke caused by a brain tumor. That explains why he was having a headache that last time I saw him. The pathology of his death tells me that tumor could have been slowly growing in his skull for awhile. Like I said, John was stubborn. He hated doctors. But as to why he was a mess after the Weaver fight? Remember how so many around here acted toward him afterward? Hell, he was crushed by that. As to his horrible life choices? That was a product of his environment. He lived in the projects. Ace Miller tried to help him as much as he could, but somebody selling cocaine got him hooked. He was focused beforehand.

As to CTE? Maybe, but I doubt it. Most of his fights, very few of his opponents got a decent shot at him. He usually knocked them out first. I dare say he caused more CTE than he got. All I know for sure was he was the same John Tate I knew from his days in the golden gloves that night. Same personality. As to his mental lapse that got him knocked out? He wanted to finish that fight the way we were accustomed. He wanted to finish with a knockout for Knoxville. Had he fought Weaver in Vegas or Atlantic City? He probably would have fought smart and stayed back. But he felt the pressure to finish strong fighting here. It is that damn simple.
 
#91

azvol03

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#91
If you sat on the top rows, sometimes you would find your view blocked (if you stood up) by ductwork or a piece of mechanical equipment or piping hung from the ceiling. At Christmas 1981, the Vols were all but beaten by American University in the Vol Classic holiday tournament. Gary Carter stole the in-bounds pass near half-court and threw in a prayer for a 59-58 win. I went to dozens of events there and that place is a cherished memory. Saw the Commodores, Stevie Nicks, EJ, and the 1983 NCAA tourney game between Louisville and Kentucky when they had not played each other in 45 years. One of my favorite memories was sneaking in with my roommate during a Georgia practice before a Saturday game. Dominique Wilkins drove left baseline, jumped up and grabbed the support for the bottom of the backboard, swung himself to the other side and reverse dunked with his opposite hand. We screamed in disbelief, were found by the staff and escorted from the building. Man I loved that place. Also it was crazy hot in there, so during a game everyone lost weight from sweating.
I was also at the UK v Louisville tournament game in ‘83. Since they hadn’t faced each other in 45 years, the tickets were selling for crazy amounts—but I wanted to go to the game and had seats about 20 rows from the floor, foul line extended. Most exciting though, was shaking hands and speaking briefly with the great Jerry West. He was walking down the aisle to his further down seats. I was on the aisle and saw him coming. I stood up and extended my hand, he shook it and I told him I was a big fan of his. Thanked me and said as a big basketball fan himself, “I couldn’t miss this game for anything.”

Noise at Stokely? Off the charts. My then wife and I had the bright idea of taking our six month old daughter to a game. Pregame and warmups she was fine. When the game started and we scored our first basket, the noise terrified her. She screamed and shook. We were dumb and in our early twenties to do such a thing. After displaying her obvious panic due to very loud noise, my ex spent the ENTIRE game holding our baby and circling the concourse outside the arena. My mom had knitted an orange and white jacket and tam (hat) for the baby to wear JUST for the game. That was in 1975. My now 45 year old daughter STILL has that orange and white knitted outfit in a cedar chest. And is not bothered by loud noises...so, no life-scarring moment. 🤭
 
#92

beamerman

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#92
Adolph Rupp and Joe Hall hated Stokely. Tennessee had a distinct home court advantage when games were played there, especially when Kentucky came to play. No matter how good Kentucky was, teams came there to die. In 1980 - my freshman year at UT - an unranked Tennessee team with two of its best players suspended beat the number 2 Kentucky Wildcats. The atmosphere was electric that day.
Kevin Nash. Only game I remember him playing lights out.
 
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#93

beamerman

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#93
Being a younger fan, I never got to experience Stokely.

Interested in hearing from fans who attended games, concerts, etc. there.

What did you like/dislike about it? What was unique about Stokely compared to other arenas.

I have a big interest in old gyms, arenas, stadiums.
Some of favorite TN moments regarding Stokely in no particular order. Standing in top rows and being able to make noise by banging on ductwork, standing in line for limited tickets as a student, we rotated depending on who had classes. Being able to sit on the floor in chairs on the baseline, the heat that made you strip down to the minimum. Having no hearing or voice for a day after a game. Watching Mears play to the crowd much to the dismay of the opposing coaches. Wow, thanks for asking, the trip down memory lane was exhilarating, as was playing bb in Stokely. Oh, and I saw Elvis and Elton and Olivia Newton John there.
 
#94

TCNC53

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#94
1983 Police Synchronicity Tour in Stokely was awesome.
Still one of THE best concerts I have ever seen. Sting joking about "Tennesseeeeee" and singing "Davey Crockett" - the place went nuts. Saw Sting in Stokely when we launched his solo career as well and that as a great show. Stokely was a great old building that served a lot of purposes - I miss it - except for the hours spent there trying to get class schedules finalized....
 
#96

TCNC53

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#96
What few knew was the ag campus had a much shorter line for their drop and add set-up. I had to endure a 2 hour wait my first fall quarter. When I picked up my winter quarter schedule, several of the guys from my dorm floor went over to pick up them up. I got in line and a guy I knew from Alpha Gamma Rho got in behind me. We were both needing to drop and add. We were walking toward the area where usual drop and add took place, and he told me to follow him to the bus stop at the back side of the student center. We get on the Ag Hill Loop bus. Followed him into (I think it was) Morgan Hall. There were only about 15 to 20 people in there, and most of them were finished. We were done in ten minutes. Got back to the dorm, ate, and was watching MASH when the other guys from my floor got back from the main drop and add circus.
That was how you got it done. The AG Campus saved many hours.
 
#98

ArdentVol

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#98
parents were Alumni Gym regulars and we got season tickets in then mears arrived. We traditionaly went to a cafeteria (can't remember name) on game nights and often arrived early to see frosh tip off.. never missed warm-ups. seats were near orange tie club, and they were pretty good at booing the refs.

loved listening to stu
 
#99

ZZ13

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#99
Best part of Stokely was that Bernard King played there. He was such a special and unique talent. I was fortunate to be a student same time has he was.

I echo all the other experiences stated here. Overnight wait in 4 degree weather for 1977 Kentucky tickets, introduction of Johnny Majors, flat sloping seating, back rows were pretty far from the court, cool as all baseline balconies. Even the concourse felt special. Soon as I walked into the place I got goosebumps. Maybe because I was a student and/or because the team was so good.
 
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