My name is Emily Dowd. I played soccer at Tennessee from 2008 to 2012. I am a native of Gainesville, Florida. Yes, where the gators reside. I chose to attend the University of Tennessee, one of UF’s biggest rivals, over staying to play in my hometown, in front of my family and friends. If that doesn’t tell you what it means to be a part of the Tennessee family, I don’t know what does.
When I say Tennessee family, I mean just that. We are one big family. We all attended the University because of the feeling we got while on our visit(s), a feeling that couldn’t be pushed aside. Not only were we one big family, with a constant feeling of support from both the men’s and women’s teams alike, we also have that something extra. We are one of the few who had separate athletic departments, but who still support each other without fail. Our unity never faltered. It was never about having two athletic departments. It was about what was behind the meaning of the Lady that stood proudly in front of the Vol.
Pat Summit is a household name. It’s widely known, the hand she played in getting female athletics to where they are today. Without her influence and persistence and belief, I am certain women’s athletics would not be what they are today. A little belief went a long way. She got the University on board as well. With two huge forces believing in the importance of women’s athletics, it’s easy to see why we stood apart from the rest. The assurance and belief in us is unrivaled. And not surprisingly, it turned into a breeding ground for producing and strengthening some of the world’s best athletes.
So why take that away? Why tell the young female fans, who have nothing but love and respect for their favorite Lady Vols, they should aspire to be just like the rest? When they will clearly stand apart from the rest as a Lady Vol. Why take away their opportunity to be a part of a legacy that has such a rich and deeply rooted history? Why not let them be a part of a program that forever alters the lives for the better of every athlete who passed through it? Why discredit the current hall-of-famers, who gave their all for Tennessee, day in and day out? It’s not the Tennessee way. It goes against everything I learned during my time there. Each one of us worked hard to be able to play for our team and each one of us continued to work hard to make sure we kept being able to play for our team. From the beginning, whether it’s learned through a coach, teammate, fan or friend, playing as a Lady Vol is an honor, not a right. You earn the respect you receive while playing at this school.
Please consider the effects that would stem from the removal of such an iconic logo. Please do not take a step back in time and throw away the efforts of the women before us who worked hard to pave the way for women today. Give the current hall-of-famers the respect they worked so hard to achieve. Give future Lady Vols the chance to get their name in that so desired hall of fame. And give them a chance to see what being a Lady Vol is all about. Because I can assure you, the logo is as iconic as it is because of what it means to us to be a Lady Vol and how hard we work to wear that name.
Lady Vol 2008-2012
SEC Tournament Champion 2008