Saturday, January 05, 2008

Summitt to speak at Big Orange Tipoff Club

The Big Orange Tipoff Club holds its first meeting of the season Wednesday, hours before Tennessee’s men tip off the SEC basketball season at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Lady Vols coach Pat Summitt leads off a lineup of speakers that should interest men’s and women’s basketball fans.

The lunch meeting begins at noon at Calhoun’s on the River. Members and non-members are welcome. Seating is usually close to capacity so early arrival is a good idea.

Six of the eight meetings are at noon on Wednesday, with the Jan. 24 meeting moved to Thursday to accommodate featured speaker Bruce Pearl.

Dale Brown, Tamika Catchings and Pearl’s mentor, Dr. Tom Davis, are also on the lineup, along with former UT captain Steve Ray and UT’s men’s broadcast team of Bob Kesling and Bert Bertelkamp.

A speaker has not been announced for finale on March 1, a Saturday evening prior to the home game against Kentucky. Barry Smith of the Tipoff Club hints that it will be someone of great interest.

Smith said the Tipoff Club is about more than just lunch meetings.

There are three upcoming bus trips to away games: South Carolina on Jan. 12; Georgia on Feb. 16; Memphis on Feb. 23.

The South Carolina trip includes the men’s game on Saturday and the Lady Vols’ game on Sunday.

The club also invites several charitable organizations to watch the Vols or Lady Vols, providing tickets, concessions and sometimes transportation for eight groups to attend games this season.

For information on meetings, bus trips, visit the club’s Web site: Membership is $75.

Here’s the 2008 schedule: Jan. 9, Summitt; Jan. 16: Kesling and Bertelkamp; Jan. 24 (Thursday): Pearl; Jan. 30: former LSU coach Dale Brown; Feb. 6: Dr. Davis, former coach at Boston College, Stanford, Iowa and Drake; Feb. 13: Catchings, former Lady Vol star, WNBA All-Star and Olympian; Feb. 20: Ray; March 1 (Saturday): TBA.

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