This Week in UT Sports History is a new weekly column written by new RTI contributor Lexie Little
Last week, Tennessee Baseball swiftly swept opponents to start 12-0 for the first time since 2014, tying a program record. The Basketball Vols (26-3, 14-2 SEC) got revenge against Kentucky (24-5, 13-3 SEC) in Thompson-Boling Arena, 71-52 on Saturday. The Lady Commodores of Vanderbilt (7-22, 2-14 SEC) earned their first-ever win in Knoxville last Thursday, beating the Lady Vols (18-11, 7-9 SEC) 76-69 before the women in orange and white bounced back against Ole Miss on Sunday with a big 81-56 win.
But what happened earlier in Vol History? Take a look back in this week in UT sports history:
March 6, 2011
Vol Great Allan Houston spoke to the 2018-19 Vols and attended the Kentucky game on Saturday on an invitation from head coach Rick Barnes, who announced a new captain’s award in honor of Houston’s father, former head coach Wade Houston — the first African-American head coach at the university. The Wade Houston Captain’s Award will be awarded to a Tennessee player with strong work ethic and leadership on the team.
Tennessee retired the younger Houston’s No. 20 jersey on March 6, 2011. Houston finished his career as Tennessee’s all-time leading scorer, earning 2,801 points. While playing for his father, Houston led the SEC with 22.3 points per game in 1993. His impressive numbers led to opportunities in the NBA. The Detroit Pistons picked Houston as the 11th overall selection in 1993, the same year he graduated from UT with a degree in African-American Studies. He established an eponymous scholarship fund for minority undergraduate students in 2003.
Houston earned a gold medal with the United States Olympic team at the 2000 games in Sydney, Australia. The former NBA shooting guard spent nine seasons with the New York Knicks as a player, retiring in 2005. He stayed in the Knicks organization as an assistant general manager and one-time general manager of the affiliated Westchester Knicks.
March 4, 1993
Unlike Houston, some Vols remain unsung key players. When football faithful think about the team, they often reminisce about quarterbacks, running backs, receivers, and safeties. Players like long snapper Matt Giampapa gain little recognition despite playing essential roles.
Jackson, Tennessee, native Giampapa was born March 4, 1993. Trainer/Instructor Chris Rubio ranked him as the No. 15 long snapper prospect in the country out of high school. However, Giampapa did not begin his career at UT. He played his freshman season at Michigan State, where he lettered as the Spartan long snapper, starting in all 13 games. At Tennessee, he started every game in 2014 as a redshirt junior, playing 149 total snaps. During the 2015 season, he snapped on all 87 kicks and 63 punts (150 total snaps), playing a vital role on the road to the blowout Outback Bowl win against Northwestern on Jan. 1, 2016. Happy birthday to a New Year’s bowl champion.
March 8-9, 2001
Champions stay on the brain. As soon as basketball fans flip the calendar to March, they think about conference tournaments, March Madness runs, and the possibility to win it all. The 2017-18 Vol squad shared the regular season crown last year, and the current squad stands poised to repeat. But unlike the 17-18 squad, this team looks to win the SEC Tournament title as well, one that went to Kentucky last season in a hard-fought matchup.
The 2000-01 Vols did not fare so well. After the No. 4 seed Vols beat the No. 5 seed Auburn Tigers 73-66 at the Gaylord Entertainment Center in Nashville on March 8, the Vols fell to the top-seeded Rebels of Ole Miss the next day, 86-73. The Vols finished that season with a 22-11 overall record, winning nine conference match-ups.
The 2000-01 Tennessee team later fell to Charlotte 70-63 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The 2018-19 Vols close out their regular season with match-ups against Mississippi State and Auburn. Senior Night tip-off at Thompson-Boling Arena against the Bulldogs is set for 9:00 p.m. Tuesday and will be televised on SEC Network. The Vols end the regular season on the road at Auburn on Saturday at noon. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.