There’s been plenty of discussion, even outrage, over the past few days following a report from John Brice that there were “no plans” to hold the Big Orange Caravan in 2017.
For those unfamiliar, the caravan is a multi-stop event over the summer that brings key Tennessee coaches to markets such as Chattanooga, Atlanta, Nashville, Memphis and the Tri-Cities in an event hosted by UT announcer Bob Kesling. Past athletic directors have also made stops at the event.
According to the newest open letter from new AD John Currie, those plans have now changed.
Here’s what Currie wrote:
“During my eight years away from Knoxville, I carried fond memories of meeting the Tennessee faithful across the state and around the country at Big Orange Caravan functions. In fact, one of my original duties with the Volunteer Athletic Scholarship Fund way back in 1997 was helping to organize that spring tour – I remember loading up that Chilhowee RV (we even packed extra dry socks) early in the morning to head out for multiple stops for meals and golf and opportunities to say thanks to our fans across the state for a week at a time.
“When I arrived to officially start my new duties 19 days ago, I learned that we didn’t yet have any caravan events planned for 2017. Certainly the nature and purpose of the traditional ‘spring tour’ at universities all over the country has evolved and changed – especially with instant (24/7, right?) access to information and news that used to only be available at live events, year-round recruiting demands on our coaches and, of course, the multiple activities (youth sports, etc.) which fill many family calendars.
“However, be assured that we are committed to Tennessee Athletics being visible and accessible to our fans throughout Big Orange Country, and I appreciate our staff working hard over the last two weeks to plan three 2017 BOC events immediately, including the traditional Nashville All-Sports Picnic, now set for July 10, along with a return to Memphis and a Chattanooga event on dates we will announce soon. One of our department priorities for the 2017-18 year will be to develop and implement a revitalized and modernized 2018 Big Orange Caravan, which will remain a collaborative effort with UT’s award-winning national alumni association, along with input from our fans.”