UT Athletics announced Saturday the official launch of the Campaign for Comprehensive Excellence, a project aimed to return Tennessee to the top of the nation's elite programs while positively impacting key areas of the student-athlete experience.
The CCE began on July 1, 2013, and will continue until June 30, 2016. During this time, the UT athletics department wants to raise $154.2 million in annual, capital, endowment and planned gift commitments through its donors.
Members of the campaign will help enhance the lives of Tennessee student-athletes while investing in the vision that Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Dave Hart has challenged student-athletes, coaches and administrators to achieve since his arrival.
The UTAD already received a transformational commitment from Mike and Mickala Sisk of Colleyville, Texas, who pledged $16 million to fund construction and improvements that are part of the campaign's Phase I plan.
The Sisks' pledge is one of the largest in Tennessee athletics history.
Mike & Mickala Sisk are originally from Selmer, Tennessee, and are the founders of Low T Centers. Started in 2009, Low T Center has evolved into innovative medical practice model that treats men with low testosterone. The Sisks, along with their daughters Sarah, Sidney and Lexi, are lifelong Tennessee fans and have been members of the Tennessee Fund since 2007.
"We feel honored and extremely appreciative that Mike and Mickala would make this transformational commitment to take the lead in helping Tennessee athletics achieve its goal of comprehensive excellence," Hart said. "This is a key time in the history of our athletics department, and the Sisk family has stepped forward with a very generous gift that will make a difference in the lives of student-athletes for years to come."
Phase I includes construction of Pat Summitt Plaza, expansion of Haslam Field, a new volleyball practice facility, a state-of-the-art broadcast studio inside the Lawson Center, and renovations to the men's and women's basketball locker room, Goodfriend Indoor Tennis Center and rowing boathouse.
Haslam Practice Field Expansion – The athletic department plans to expand Haslam Field to three full fields by constructing two new ones in the space currently occupied by the half-field, Johnny Majors Drive, and the Stokely Athletics Center. The estimated project cost is $10 million. The practice fields should be ready by the start of the 2015 season.
Thompson-Boling Arena Basketball Locker Room Renovations – The proposed renovation will transform the locker rooms into the national standard. The estimated project cost is $5 million.
Volleyball Practice Facility – At an estimated cost of $3 million, the proposed facility will feature three courts, a locker room and coaches' offices. Construction will be adjacent to Regal Soccer Stadium.
Broadcast Studio - This exquisite facility will feature a working studio that will include everything from coaches' television shows to a production area for broadcasting live athletic events on campus. At an estimated cost of $10 million, the studio will allow Tennessee to fully capitalize on the launch of the SEC Network in August 2014.
Goodfriend Indoor Tennis Renovation – Much of the interior work was not completed during the 2010 renovation, and at an estimated cost of $1.6 million, the coaches' offices, satellite training and weight rooms, locker rooms and players' lounges will be completed.
Rowing Boathouse – The current rowing locker room space is insufficient for the 40-plus member team roster, and the floor space is currently shared with fitness machines for the squad. The top floor will be modified to make room for an indoor training space, making it possible for an expanded locker room on the lower floor to accommodate the entire squad.
Phase II, includes continuation of the Neyland Stadium Master Plan renovations, completion of the Day Golf Practice Facility, expanded seating at Sherri Parker Lee Stadium, renovations at Lindsey Nelson Stadium and construction of an indoor track facility, an estimated cost of $42 million.
Additional priorities of the CCE include funding for the Renewing Academic Commitment program that allows former student-athletes to return to Tennessee and complete their degree requirements as well as funds for scholarship endowments. The goal is to raise $2.5 million for each of those priorities.
The campaign also has a three-year goal of raising $66 million in annual contributions and $10 million in new planned giving commitments.