Local 8 Sports Top 8 stories of 2011

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- We counted down the most memorable sports stories of 2011. This year excited, angered and even made local fans cry.

8. East Tennessee High School football

Three more state championships were won by area teams, including CAK. For the warriors to win their first ever title, they had to first get past Alcoa. They did, ending the Tornadoes run of astonishing 7 straight championships.

Maryville added to its tradition, going back to back and winning a record 13th state title, and Greeneville made it back to back championships as well.

7. Peyton Manning misses the 2011 season

A neck injury sidelined the former Vol superstar, ending his streak of 227 consecutive starts. Manning still isn't cleared for contact, which has many Indiana Colts fans asking the question, has Manning played his last game?

6. Vols lose to Kentucky

A disappointing year in Tennessee football ended with an unthinkable loss. The Vols saw their 26 game winning streak against Kentucky come to an end. Wildcats won 10-7, with a wide receiver playing quarterback.

5. Vols face the NCAA

The NCAA made Knoxville a second home. Violations committed by men's basketball, baseball and football put the university in front of the NCAA's infraction committee in June. When all was said and done, the three sports avoided any major penalties, but the probe tainted the Vols reputation and ultimately was the beginning of the end for two high ranking UT athletic officials, Mike Hamilton and Bruce Pearl.

4. Mike Hamilton resigns

Mike Hamilton took much of the heat for Tennessee's athletic problems, and with no end in sight for things to cool down, Hamilton resigned as UT's athletic director in June. Lady Vols athletic director Joan Cronan took over the department, until the university introduced Dave Hart as the school's new athletic director in September.

3. Bruce Pearl fired

Fans and supporters chanted, but their wants were not met. Despite once publicly standing behind Bruce Pearl, on March 22nd the university fired the wildly popular coach.

The dismissal had zero to do with what Pearl accomplished on the court, but instead his misleading information to the NCAA.

One week after Pearl was fired, Tennessee named Cuonzo Martin the program's 18th head coach.

2. Trevor Bayne Wins Daytona

Trevor Bayne shocked the world in February with his improbable win in the Daytona 500. As he crossed the line, Bayne said on the radio, "Are you kidding me?" He then needed direction on how to get to victory lane.

20 years old at the time, NASCAR had never had a 500 winner as young as Bayne. He accomplished the feat in just his 2nd Sprint Cup race.

1. Pat Summitt Diagnosed with Dementia

Pat Summitt's announcement that she had been diagnosed with early on-set Dementia shock and saddened the sports world.

Tears were shed, and not just in East Tennessee, and not just from those that wear orange. Moments after telling the world of her illness, Summitt said there will be no pity party. Life, business and basketball will go on.

As asked, fans and supporters didn't give Summitt a pity party, but they did remind her, hey Pat, we've got your back!


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