My name is Paula Coughlin, and I am a former Lady Vol Rower. I was born and raised in Northern Virginia, right outside Washington DC. I had always dreamed of going to a big University, but I didn’t want to be like everyone else in my high school going to a college In-State. I wanted to go outside of my comfort zone and go somewhere I had never been before. I will never forget in April 2008 stepping foot onto campus for the very first time. Orange, everywhere you look; you could see the pride the students had in their University. That moment, I knew I wanted to be part of that Big Orange Pride and represent the University with the Lady Vol T on my chest.
Shortly after that visit, I was blessed enough to begin calling myself a Lady Vol athlete. I along with my teammates were now able to be part of the amazing Lady Vol legacy wearing that Lady Vol T proudly. I had never been happier to be part of such an amazing family; a group of such hardworking and dedicated women.
In my mind having the two names; Lady Vols and Vols only distinguishes that the Tennessee Athletic Program is made up of both women and men. As a whole we represent Tennessee. However, we each have our own sign to signify our identity. The Lady Vol logo represents the resilient dominant women that we are, that make up the program. We are a group of individuals from all backgrounds that came together to represent a very well respected family; the Lady Vol family. I am and will forever represent and support the Lady Vol program. Every sports team at Tennessee; rowing, swimming, volleyball, basketball etc. has put their blood sweat and tears into wearing that Lady Vol T proud and many, while winning championships. This is more than just a Logo and playing a sport to us, this is our way of life.
It is beyond disappointing that the University is taking away something that means so much to so many of us. The University of Tennessee is a school of tradition, it perplexes me in why they want to take one of our traditions away. Again, I will stand by and support the Lady Vol family in this fight to keep what means so much to us.
Lady Vol Rowing 2008-2010