Tennessee Soccer

mad4vols

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UT soccer rings evoke considerable smiles from fans - Knox TN Today

The soccer team unveiled its SEC championship rings on social media on Sunday – and Tennessee fans took notice immediately. Why? The logo.


The Lady Vols logo has nearly faded from use by soccer since then Athletics Director Dave Hart decreed in November 2014 that it would no longer be used, except for women’s basketball, starting in the fall of 2015. Pat Summitt’s legendary program also had been on the logo chopping block, but fans rallied with petitions, emails, phone calls and demonstrations until UT had to back off that sport. Summitt, who died in 2016 from Alzheimer’s disease, couldn’t take up the fight in 2014, and fans perceived it as an attack on an icon. (Maria Cornelius wrote about the logo’s origins on a napkin sketch here.)

The logo ban lasted for two full cycles of athletics seasons – and those same fans never stopped fighting for its restoration in all sports, including getting state legislators involved, which ended up allowing a compromise with a commemorative patch – until then Athletics Director John Currie, who had replaced Hart, announced in 2017 that it could be used among all sports as those programs decided, from golf balls to batting helmets to alternate uniforms. The teams also could shed the Vols moniker if they wanted and return to the use of Lady Vols.

Several sports, including softball, tennis, golf, rowing and volleyball, embraced the change immediately and restored the logo in multiple places, including as social media profile photos. Meghan Gregg, who played at Tennessee from 2015-18, bookended her career. On Sept. 14, 2017, the day the ban was lifted, the infielder from Williamson, Georgia, posted on Twitter, adding orange and blue hearts: I started my college career as a Lady Vol, and I get to once more be a Lady Vol for my senior year! #LVFL

Soccer used the Lady Vols logo at times initially, but as time went on, it pretty much faded from public view minus an occasional appearance.

And that is why the photo of the rings on social media in 2022 drew such a strong reaction from Lady Vols fans. The orange logo is prominent as is the color blue.

Soccer underwent a coaching change this spring when Brian Pensky left for the top job at Florida State, a powerhouse in women’s soccer. Joe Kirt, whose tenure at Tennessee goes back to 2007 as an assistant coach, took over the soccer program in April. (Maria wrote about Kirt here.)

It should be noted that it takes awhile to get championship rings in hand for a team. The rings honor the 2021 season, and the soccer players received them in July right before training camp started for the 2022 season.

The design of the rings would have been done while Pensky was still at Tennessee, so he was on board with it. The decision by Currie five years ago to restore the logo meant it was an option to use it for the rings. Had Hart still been at Tennessee – and had his decree still stood – the soccer team would not have even been able to use the logo on the rings.

Hart, who hired Pensky, had made it clear that only the Power T was to be used by the women’s teams, minus basketball, of course, because Summitt’s squad of thousands had squashed that. (Hart’s contract ultimately wasn’t extended by Tennessee when the dust finally settled, and he opted for retirement. The logo controversy that engulfed the board of trustees and the legislature was a factor.) The coaches in the other sports could not even say Lady Vols in a media interview. In a place where irony went to die, the university also launched a One Tennessee initiative.

It was Women’s Athletics Director Emeritus Joan Cronan, speaking at a benefit for The Pat Summitt Foundation with Summitt in attendance in 2015, who said: “We have always been One Tennessee.” That one sentence brought loud cheers inside the Tennessee Theater packed with Tennessee fans – Lady Vols and Vols – and from Summitt.

The reality is that the logos had always coexisted well until the failed attempt to bury one. Hart also was the perfect hatchet man to carry out a plan that actually had been batted around on and off for years before he arrived in Knoxville under a perception that the Lady Vols somehow detracted from the Gentlemen Vols. What everyone miscalculated on the inside and outside was the public reaction. Had Summitt not been compromised by a brutal disease, she would have explained it to them quite well.

It remains a baffling and shortsighted decision and probably could be used on the academic side as a case study in what not to do in business or marketing. It enraged a fan base, became a boisterous topic outside of board of trustee meetings, engaged the time of lawmakers, became an issue in a governor’s race and led to loud Lady Vols chants on nationally televised games. Since then, Tennessee has had two more athletics directors in Phillip Fulmer and Danny White. The arrival of White and Chancellor Donde Plowman has restored stability to the state’s flagship campus.

In the meantime, the soccer team wants to repeat its championship feat and has returned to the pitch to get ready for the 2022 season. An exhibition game will be played Aug. 9 against Notre Dame in Louisville, Kentucky, on the field of Louisville City Football Club, a professional soccer team. Tennessee will host an exhibition game at home against the University of Dayton on Aug. 13.

The games count for real starting with a trip to Chapel Hill for a match against perennial power North Carolina on Aug. 18. The regular season home opener in Knoxville is set for Aug. 25 against Southern Methodist University at Regal Soccer Stadium.

“We are excited to get back on the field this fall,” Kirt said. “The majority of last year’s SEC Championship squad is returning, and we are bringing in a very talented group of players in our 2022 class. Our team is excited for our non-conference slate, knowing it is great preparation for the league games that follow.”

Go Lady Vols.
 

turbovol

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Thanks for the find on the logo story.

I just wrote another long screed on this topic but have scrapped most of it in the interest of moving on. I will say this: I'm not someone who believes that institutions should do "what the fans want." People think a lot of things, and a lot of their viewpoints are questionable. Some of our football fans thought we shouldn't hire Gregg Schiano--after offering him the job--and their irrational protest sparked the biggest debacle in the history of UT athletics. It was unprecedented, I think. The crazies and some dopey state legislators intimidated our chancellor--who had no clue about athletics--into reneging on the offer. Long story short, no other coaches wanted to get near us after that--and we became the laughingstock of the sports world for several weeks--and that was just the beginning. Fulmer wormed his way into the AD job, hired that cracker Pruitt, and Pruitt not only lost games but committed several serious recruiting violations for which UT will soon pay. So that's what happened to an idiotic chancellor who decided to "listen to the fans."

You can take into consideration what fans think or want, but organizations must ultimately do what they think what is best for them. I think Hart was absolutely right to want to consolidate the departments and use one logo--the Power T. It's strong. You also save money. But it was absolutely predictable that there'd be a backlash from women's basketball old-timers. The logo has been around for more than 40 years--of course the older fans want to keep it. Doesn't mean we should. Organizations drop, modernize, modify logos all the time. Most things have a shelf-life, and I'd argue that the LV name and logo has reached its expiration date. I've always liked Joan Cronan--but when she said that "we've always been one Tennessee, she was being rhetorical and she was wrong. We've had different name, logos, identities for decades, so in fact we've been Two Tennessee, not one. Fact.

Finally, nobody admired Summitt more than me--but clinging to the Summitt past hasn't exactly helped the women's basketball program. In fact, one can argue that it's hurt the program, which has now been floundering for more than 20 years. We hired a completely unqualified friend of Pat to succeed Summit--and that was a disaster. And then Fulmer turned around and did the same thing. Oh, well. Harper's been better but the jury, as they say, is still out.

Finally, and truth be told, White hired Kirt as head soccer coach because that's what they players wanted. That's not a great reason for hiring a coach. It might be OK for a couple of years while the players who know and have played for him are still around. But eventually, a coach will rise or fall on factors other than popularity--recruiting, tactics, expertise of the staff, player and program management, etc. Likeability is important--but no athletic director says to a prospective new coach during an interview: "What I'm looking for, first and foremost, is somebody whom the players will like." I'm not knocking Kirt at all or suggesting that good coaches must be hard asses--but one shouldn't hire a coach mostly because that's what the players want. Just my opinion. I hope Kirt is a massive success and we win the national title this year. A huge ask, but hey....

Let's get back to soccer. Notre Dame is a week away.
 
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jeebie

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UT soccer rings evoke considerable smiles from fans - Knox TN Today

The soccer team unveiled its SEC championship rings on social media on Sunday – and Tennessee fans took notice immediately. Why? The logo.


The Lady Vols logo has nearly faded from use by soccer since then Athletics Director Dave Hart decreed in November 2014 that it would no longer be used, except for women’s basketball, starting in the fall of 2015. Pat Summitt’s legendary program also had been on the logo chopping block, but fans rallied with petitions, emails, phone calls and demonstrations until UT had to back off that sport. Summitt, who died in 2016 from Alzheimer’s disease, couldn’t take up the fight in 2014, and fans perceived it as an attack on an icon. (Maria Cornelius wrote about the logo’s origins on a napkin sketch here.)

The logo ban lasted for two full cycles of athletics seasons – and those same fans never stopped fighting for its restoration in all sports, including getting state legislators involved, which ended up allowing a compromise with a commemorative patch – until then Athletics Director John Currie, who had replaced Hart, announced in 2017 that it could be used among all sports as those programs decided, from golf balls to batting helmets to alternate uniforms. The teams also could shed the Vols moniker if they wanted and return to the use of Lady Vols.

Several sports, including softball, tennis, golf, rowing and volleyball, embraced the change immediately and restored the logo in multiple places, including as social media profile photos. Meghan Gregg, who played at Tennessee from 2015-18, bookended her career. On Sept. 14, 2017, the day the ban was lifted, the infielder from Williamson, Georgia, posted on Twitter, adding orange and blue hearts: I started my college career as a Lady Vol, and I get to once more be a Lady Vol for my senior year! #LVFL

Soccer used the Lady Vols logo at times initially, but as time went on, it pretty much faded from public view minus an occasional appearance.

And that is why the photo of the rings on social media in 2022 drew such a strong reaction from Lady Vols fans. The orange logo is prominent as is the color blue.

Soccer underwent a coaching change this spring when Brian Pensky left for the top job at Florida State, a powerhouse in women’s soccer. Joe Kirt, whose tenure at Tennessee goes back to 2007 as an assistant coach, took over the soccer program in April. (Maria wrote about Kirt here.)

It should be noted that it takes awhile to get championship rings in hand for a team. The rings honor the 2021 season, and the soccer players received them in July right before training camp started for the 2022 season.

The design of the rings would have been done while Pensky was still at Tennessee, so he was on board with it. The decision by Currie five years ago to restore the logo meant it was an option to use it for the rings. Had Hart still been at Tennessee – and had his decree still stood – the soccer team would not have even been able to use the logo on the rings.

Hart, who hired Pensky, had made it clear that only the Power T was to be used by the women’s teams, minus basketball, of course, because Summitt’s squad of thousands had squashed that. (Hart’s contract ultimately wasn’t extended by Tennessee when the dust finally settled, and he opted for retirement. The logo controversy that engulfed the board of trustees and the legislature was a factor.) The coaches in the other sports could not even say Lady Vols in a media interview. In a place where irony went to die, the university also launched a One Tennessee initiative.

It was Women’s Athletics Director Emeritus Joan Cronan, speaking at a benefit for The Pat Summitt Foundation with Summitt in attendance in 2015, who said: “We have always been One Tennessee.” That one sentence brought loud cheers inside the Tennessee Theater packed with Tennessee fans – Lady Vols and Vols – and from Summitt.

The reality is that the logos had always coexisted well until the failed attempt to bury one. Hart also was the perfect hatchet man to carry out a plan that actually had been batted around on and off for years before he arrived in Knoxville under a perception that the Lady Vols somehow detracted from the Gentlemen Vols. What everyone miscalculated on the inside and outside was the public reaction. Had Summitt not been compromised by a brutal disease, she would have explained it to them quite well.

It remains a baffling and shortsighted decision and probably could be used on the academic side as a case study in what not to do in business or marketing. It enraged a fan base, became a boisterous topic outside of board of trustee meetings, engaged the time of lawmakers, became an issue in a governor’s race and led to loud Lady Vols chants on nationally televised games. Since then, Tennessee has had two more athletics directors in Phillip Fulmer and Danny White. The arrival of White and Chancellor Donde Plowman has restored stability to the state’s flagship campus.

In the meantime, the soccer team wants to repeat its championship feat and has returned to the pitch to get ready for the 2022 season. An exhibition game will be played Aug. 9 against Notre Dame in Louisville, Kentucky, on the field of Louisville City Football Club, a professional soccer team. Tennessee will host an exhibition game at home against the University of Dayton on Aug. 13.

The games count for real starting with a trip to Chapel Hill for a match against perennial power North Carolina on Aug. 18. The regular season home opener in Knoxville is set for Aug. 25 against Southern Methodist University at Regal Soccer Stadium.

“We are excited to get back on the field this fall,” Kirt said. “The majority of last year’s SEC Championship squad is returning, and we are bringing in a very talented group of players in our 2022 class. Our team is excited for our non-conference slate, knowing it is great preparation for the league games that follow.”

Go Lady Vols.
A very excellent article. Thank you.
 

mad4vols

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Good article on Kirt.

How Joe Kirt showed Tennessee soccer players he was right for the job


Excerpt:

When Kirt called Morgan and told him Tennessee offered him the position, he felt relieved. There was no disappointment that Kirt was chosen over him, only happiness for his coaching partner.

“I was super excited for Joe, because he's worked his tail off,” Morgan said. “He is a super humble guy, doesn't want any kind of praise or notoriety or any kind of attention towards him. He just wants to kind of grind through and do his work. But I thought this was a really cool opportunity for Joe, and I'm glad I'm gonna be a part of it and be able to help support him.”
 

mad4vols

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Good article on Kirt.

How Joe Kirt showed Tennessee soccer players he was right for the job


Excerpt:

When Kirt called Morgan and told him Tennessee offered him the position, he felt relieved. There was no disappointment that Kirt was chosen over him, only happiness for his coaching partner.

“I was super excited for Joe, because he's worked his tail off,” Morgan said. “He is a super humble guy, doesn't want any kind of praise or notoriety or any kind of attention towards him. He just wants to kind of grind through and do his work. But I thought this was a really cool opportunity for Joe, and I'm glad I'm gonna be a part of it and be able to help support him.”
If you don’t have a subscription to Knoxnews you can read the article here.

How Tennessee soccer coach Joe Kirt proved to players he was the right one to lead program
 
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turbovol

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Notre Dame will be a good, stern test for us on .....Tuesday. Hard to believe the season is here. I knew Notre Dame had won a national championship
in soccer, but in fact they've won it 3 times, most recently in 2010. So the Irish have a very good program. I saw them play UVA three or four years ago and they were talented and won the game. I very much doubt the game will be streamed, so we might only have sketchy Twitter posts to rely on during the game--and that's almost nothing. We'll see.
 

turbovol

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Izzy Cook: Another example of a good player who can sign with a school that has a lot of other good players and
struggle to get enough playing time. A midfielder and good ball distributor, she started a game or two for the U.S. U20 National team a few years ago--scored the only goal in a match against China--I think in the U20 WC. Had some starts and got quite a lot of playing time
for the Vols two years ago, playing defensive midfield, but lost minutes last year due to the strong play of Burdette. I hope she gets good playing time
at Marquette.

Maria Nelson: Had an outstanding high-school career in Ohio as a high-scoring forward. Started at left back for us as a freshman and worked hard
at what was a new and challenging position. Suffered a serious knee injury late in the season and then missed all of her second season with the team. With Rain taking over the left-back spot, Nelson played wing for us last year as a sub and had some good moments. She is surely hoping to get more minutes this year. I'll be keen to see which 6/7 players come in as subs in the first few games. There will be strong competition for spots and PT.
 

turbovol

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More drama at FSU: Pensky walked into a bit of a mess there.


Here we have two totally different approaches to a new hire, with the FSU athletic director paying little heed to the feelings
of the players and White, at UT, seemingly doing the opposite. My feeling is that the FSU AD should
have involved the players in the search for a new coach in some way--so long as he made clear, first, that
he and the players may not think alike when it comes to who the next head coach should be, and, second, that ultimately it would
be his decision to make. That's the tricky part of trying to involve others--once they get invested in the process, you've got to be
deft about handling their feelings if you, the AD, opt to go in a different direction.

On the other hand, White, it seems, let the players effectively make the decision. I don't think that's the right approach, either, frankly, because
it means that you, the AD, didn't really do a thorough search for the best candidate. The in-house candidate
might be a good candidate, for sure, but if you don't do a search, there is no basis for comparison. We saw Fulmer do much the same thing
with the women's BB hire. The only right approach is the one that works--meaning that you picked the right person for the job--and
that always becomes fairly clear over time. I hope it plays out extremely well for us, as we have definite program momentum and want
to not just keep it going but get it even stronger. I'd say the SEC is definitely edging closer to the big dogs when it comes to getting to the College
Cup--Final Four. After losing to the Vols in the SEC tourney final, Arkansas came close to getting there, losing to Rutgers on PKs in the quarterfinal. South
Carolina did well, too, as did we. I wonder if UCLA and USC opting to join the Big 10 will make it a bit harder for those two schools to recruit the best soccer players in Southern Cal--a hotbed of talent. It's hard to say--but some players may not be keen travel to New Jersey, Maryland and Minnesota to play soccer games.

I did listen to a interview with Pensky conducted by an FSU Sports Info guy. It was interesting. Pensky said that last year, after about 10 years
with the Vols, he started getting a bit itchy for a new challenge. Maybe that's true--but my hunch is that it really wasn't more than Pensky
taking note of the FSU opening and recognizing that there was a big opportunity--big program, big salary--and being an ambitious guy, his agent expressed his interest. That's simply what I think happened. There simply aren't many other programs out there that, all things considered, could offer more than Tennessee--but FSU certainly was one of them. Pensky said that his wife was happy in Knoxville and wasn't keen to move--but after their youngest son gave her some insight into why FSU would appeal to her husband, she came around and supported the job switch.
 

chuckiepoo

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More drama at FSU: Pensky walked into a bit of a mess there.


Here we have two totally different approaches to a new hire, with the FSU athletic director paying little heed to the feelings
of the players and White, at UT, seemingly doing the opposite. My feeling is that the FSU AD should
have involved the players in the search for a new coach in some way--so long as he made clear, first, that
he and the players may not think alike when it comes to who the next head coach should be, and, second, that ultimately it would
be his decision to make. That's the tricky part of trying to involve others--once they get invested in the process, you've got to be
deft about handling their feelings if you, the AD, opt to go in a different direction.

On the other hand, White, it seems, let the players effectively make the decision. I don't think that's the right approach, either, frankly, because
it means that you, the AD, didn't really do a thorough search for the best candidate. The in-house candidate
might be a good candidate, for sure, but if you don't do a search, there is no basis for comparison. We saw Fulmer do much the same thing
with the women's BB hire. The only right approach is the one that works--meaning that you picked the right person for the job--and
that always becomes fairly clear over time. I hope it plays out extremely well for us, as we have definite program momentum and want
to not just keep it going but get it even stronger. I'd say the SEC is definitely edging closer to the big dogs when it comes to getting to the College
Cup--Final Four. After losing to the Vols in the SEC tourney final, Arkansas came close to getting there, losing to Rutgers on PKs in the quarterfinal. South
Carolina did well, too, as did we. I wonder if UCLA and USC opting to join the Big 10 will make it a bit harder for those two schools to recruit the best soccer players in Southern Cal--a hotbed of talent. It's hard to say--but some players may not be keen travel to New Jersey, Maryland and Minnesota to play soccer games.

I did listen to a interview with Pensky conducted by an FSU Sports Info guy. It was interesting. Pensky said that last year, after about 10 years
with the Vols, he started getting a bit itchy for a new challenge. Maybe that's true--but my hunch is that it really wasn't more than Pensky
taking note of the FSU opening and recognizing that there was a big opportunity--big program, big salary--and being an ambitious guy, his agent expressed his interest. That's simply what I think happened. There simply aren't many other programs out there that, all things considered, could offer more than Tennessee--but FSU certainly was one of them. Pensky said that his wife was happy in Knoxville and wasn't keen to move--but after their youngest son gave her some insight into why FSU would appeal to her husband, she came around and supported the job switch.
Grateful for your insight!
 

turbovol

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Michigan Hawks--very good Midwestern ECNL program.. Eclipse Select, for which Emma Duval plays (new commit) is another strong midwestern ECNL club.

OK, I said i wouldn't do it, I don't mean to be prickish-- but I have to throw out one more bit about UT's logos--Power T vs. LV. Look at the lineup of logos above in that Michigan Hawks ad--the Virginia M, Michigan's power M, Xavier's Power X, Notre Dame's strong two-letter logo, the PA State Lion. The Power T not only fits right in but looks good and strong next to those stout logos, does it not? It holds it own and more. Now imagine the LV logo in place of the power T logo in that lineup: it would clearly look weak in comparison to the others.
 
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