Tennessee athletic director Danny White has hit the ground running when it comes to fundraising, in hopes of using that money to renovate different aspects of each sport on campus. On Wednesday the school launched the “My All” campaign, which they described as a “comprehensive fundraising initiative to ensure Tennessee’s ability to provide a transformational student-athlete experience for current and future Vols and Lady Vols”.
The goal of this new campaign is to raise $500 Million for renovations and upgrades to facilities across all sports on campus. In a release, the school announced it had already raised nearly $200 million, from committed donors, with roughly $70 Million already pledged for investments in Neyland Stadium and the Anderson Training Facility. The money already pledged for stadium renovations had been raised over the past three years by a contingent of donors.
“So many of our donors—at every level—have been ‘giving their all’ for years,” Senior Associate AD for Development Brady Hart said. “It was important to us to ensure that their longstanding support and loyalty was folded into this campaign. We can’t thank them enough for their continuous commitment, as they’ve provided a springboard for our fundraising efforts moving forward.”
AD Danny White made it clear today during a media session that they are also in the planning phases of renovations to Lindsey Nelson Stadium and that he would sit down with Tony Vitello and others after the season to further put a plan in place. White also mentioned that he has had ongoing conversations with Vitello over the course of the last few months in regards to keeping the head coach in Knoxville. Those talks have been ongoing with Vitello’s representatives, according to sources.
A key point that Danny White made during his session was that it comes down to what donors demand the most, when it comes to renovations. Meaning, if a few donors want to spend the money towards a baseball upgrade, then that can happen. But, it’s up to the donors on what they want to spend their money on. It’s not a secret though that Vitello and White have been discussing his status at Tennessee, even more so recently.
The school wants Tony Vitello around and they’ve noticed how much he’s built, in a short period of time. Looking around the college baseball landscape, I don’t see why Vitello wouldn’t be at Tennessee for years to come. But, they must make Lindsey Nelson a priority, which is exactly what they’re trying to accomplish.
On the Neyland Stadium front, Danny White wants bigger and brighter. His goal is for a new Jumbotron in the north end zone, with a party type deck underneath it. This would give fans the opportunity to enjoy the game in a laid back setting, with standing room only areas, but also luxury seating.
Their are also plans in this fundraising effort to enhance the West Sideline seating area. “The lower west sideline sections will feature a chair-back seating enhancement and a field-level club accessible within those sections to feature restrooms, a bar area and food action stations”
The stadium upgrades are said to be completed by the 2022 season, according to the website. These first components of renovations will be key in any kind of other additions to Neyland Stadium. I asked Danny White about the communication grids inside the stadium, which are pretty bad at the moment. White said that they’re working to build up the communication grids, to make cell signal and WiFi more steadily available.
Sometimes it feels like you’re in the middle of the nowhere, trying to get a cell signal. Which is why this component to the renovations is key.
All put, the university if trying their best to get donors on board to reach their goals and be able to provide the up-to-date renovations that many on-campus facilities need. As Danny White gets further along in this process of raising the money towards these expenditures, I would expect more plans to come forth.
“Everyone who loves the University of Tennessee and this athletics program wants Tennessee to be the best,” White said. “That aligns perfectly with my vision—it’s why I’m here. Together, we’re going to set a new bar for relentlessly pursuing that goal. But we need everyone to be all in. We have to be aggressive, and we have to be bold.
We will see just how bold Tennessee can get, because the future has a chance to be very bright.