In February 1933, the presidents of the 13 Southern Conference schools west and south of the Appalachian Mountains met on two occasions to discuss the now-historic decision to reorganize as the Southeastern Conference.
Seventy-five years after its inaugural season in 1933, the SEC is one of the nation’s top intercollegiate conferences and its student-athletes continue to make an impact around the world.
To commemorate its 75th Anniversary, the SEC will launch a year-long observance at the start of the 2007-2008 academic year that celebrates the thousands of student-athletes who have represented the conference for eight decades.
“Throughout our storied history of athletic and academic achievements, the SEC has had numerous occasions to celebrate,” Commissioner Mike Slive said. “The SEC student-athlete experience has been our greatest legacy and is the focus of our 75th Anniversary celebration. We are proud to share these remarkable stories of service, commitment, dedication, and distinction.”
The celebration entitled, “Stories of Character,” will highlight 75 former student-athletes and the contributions they have made to society since the completion of their collegiate careers, applying what they learned in the classroom and in athletic competition to make an impact in their communities and beyond.
Nominated by their respective SEC institutions and selected by a conference panel, these former student-athletes represent the diversity of the league, its women’s and men’s sports programs, and a span of generations. The list of 75 includes six individuals from each of the conference’s 12 member institutions and one each from Georgia Tech, Sewanee and Tulane, three of the original members of the conference.
Throughout the 2007-2008 academic year, the “Stories of Character” will be communicated through a multimedia initiative that includes television, radio, internet and print. Atlanta-based Creative Presence Partners (CPP) served as the SEC's Agency of Record on the project.
The stories of 12 former student-athletes (one from each of the modern-day SEC schools) will air on national and regional broadcasts by SEC television partners CBS, ESPN, Lincoln Financial Sports and FSN South, and will be told by noted “storytellers,” all of whom have an association with the school or state.
Among those are former President Bill Clinton (Arkansas), actress Ashley Judd (Kentucky), bestselling authors John Grisham (Mississippi State) and Winston Groom (Alabama), Super Bowl MVP Peyton Manning (Tennessee), television personalities Robin Roberts (Ole Miss) Deborah Norville (Georgia), musician Darius Rucker (South Carolina), Olympic gold medalist Rowdy Gaines (Auburn), television commentator Steve Melnyk (Florida) and political strategist James Carville (LSU).
All 75 “Stories of Character” will be communicated through the other mediums, including a custom- designed interactive section of the SEC’s website: SECsports.com and in print publications. Veteran CBS Sports broadcaster Verne Lundquist lends his voice as narrator for the radio spots that will air on the 12 institutional networks, as well as the SEC Radio Network.
During the 2007-2008 academic year, a 75th Anniversary logo will appear on the uniforms of all SEC student-athletes. The specially designed blue-and-gold emblem was created to commemorate this important milestone in the history of intercollegiate athletics.
Tennessee's list includes:
Catherine Byrne Maloney (Swimming) – Administrator for one of the nation’s top hospitals.
Charles Davis (Football) – College football commentator who works with at-risk youth at the Edgewood Children’s Ranch.
Benita Fitzgerald Mosley (Track) – First African-American woman to win Olympic 100-meters and President/CEO of the Women in Cable Telecommunications.
Jenny McGrath Weaver (Swimming) – Surgeon and assistant clinical professor of surgery at The University of Tennessee Health Science Center.
Heath Shuler (Football) – U. S. Congressman representing North Carolina’s 11th District.
*Tim Townes (Football) – World renowned medical researcher and Chairman and Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics at UAB.
*Denotes former student-athlete who will be featured in television spot.
Story Courtesy: The SEC, Host Communications, & UT Lady Vols Sports Information