KNOXVILE, Tenn. (WVLT/SUBMITTED) -- The Tennessee basketball program will honor the memory of legendary former head coach Ray Mears on Thursday, Dec. 13, as the Volunteers home game against 24th-ranked Wichita State that night will be celebrated as “Tribute to Ray Mears Night” at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Tipoff for the Wichita State game is set for 7 p.m.
Mears served as Tennessee’s head coach from 1962-77. He passed away on June 11, 2007.
“Ray Mears was such an admired and respected man, and I think Tennessee fans view him as much more than just a basketball coach,” second-year UT head coach Cuonzo Martin said. “I want to ensure that we never overlook his contributions to the University of Tennessee or the impact his teams had on the foundation of this basketball program.
“Honoring coach Mears when we play Wichita State is a great way to allow our fans to celebrate all that he means to this university, and I want to continue to find ways to keep that era of Tennessee basketball alive in the hearts of our fans as well as our players. I want the young men who wear the Tennessee uniform to have an appreciation for those who came before them.”
Several promotions will take place at Thompson-Boling Arena during “Tribute to Ray Mears Night.” Arena concession stands will offer $1 popcorn and $1 12-ounce drinks for that night only. And arena videoboards will feature content highlighting the Mears era throughout the night.
In addition, merchandise kiosks on the arena concourse will offer 15 percent off select items that night only (in honor of Mears’ 15 seasons on the sidelines).
The celebration of Mears’ outstanding career at Tennessee – which included a school record 278 victories, a .713 winning percentage, three SEC Championships and the development of several All-Americans – coincides with the closing of UT’s beloved Stokely Athletics Center, which served as the Vols’ home court for 29 seasons (1958-87). The facility was initially known as Armory-Fieldhouse until a mid-1960s expansion.