Cierra Burdick – Lady Vol Basketball 2011-2015

Taking A Stance

Many people have asked me to weigh in on this controversial topic regarding the dismissal of the Lady Vol logo. At first I was hesitant; however, it’s been said that, “A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything.” So here’s my stance: I believe the organized strategy to slowly erase the Lady Vol logo from the university and athletic department is a decision that deprives our institution as a whole from the rich tradition, excellence, and equality in which we pride ourselves.

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Tennessee tradition is a cliche’ that rings through the hallways of homes across the country. Yet, how much tradition will we really have if half of it is stripped away with the eradication of the Lady Vol logo? Tradition is our base, our foundation, our “bricks.” Tennessee legends like Peyton Manning and Coach Summitt, along with many others, have laid the groundwork for greatness and significance. They’ve left a legacy that will live for years to come, and that’s why the Tennessee tradition is so rich. The act of stripping ourselves of our own tradition is equivalent to a homeowner stripping his home from its concrete base. No sturdy house was built on sand. We must stand strong in our tradition as we continue our pursuit of excellence.

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“Excellence.” It’s a word that was demanded out of me in all aspects of my life by Coach Summitt. Excelling on the basketball court wasn’t good enough. I had to be excellent in the classroom, the community, and in my sport. That’s what being a Lady Vol meant. It meant you were going to compete for championships, but that you were also going to get your diploma and be prepared for life after basketball. When Coach Summitt recruited me, she told my family and me that once my 4 years as a Lady Vol were complete, I would be a woman ready for the world. I didn’t exactly know what she meant right then, but now it’s clear as day. Because of my time as a Lady Vol, I’ve learned valuable life lessons that continue to reap great rewards. The tradition of excellence that has been engraved in the minds and hearts of many Lady Vols has made the University of Tennessee a landmark for championships and prestige. The Lady Vol logo is more than a brand that’s worn for games and meets. It’s a signature of excellence that has been carved out by hundreds of women’s blood, sweat, and tears. To do away with such a meaningful signature is a gesture that loses sight of the true essence of greatness.

KNOXVILLE, TN - MARCH 23, 2013: forward Cierra Burdick #11 of the Tennessee Lady Volunteers clapping during the game between the Tennessee Lady Volunteers and the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, TN. Photo By Donald Page/Tennessee Athletics

KNOXVILLE, TN – MARCH 23, 2013: forward Cierra Burdick #11 of the Tennessee Lady Volunteers clapping during the game between the Tennessee Lady Volunteers and the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, TN. Photo By Donald Page/Tennessee Athletics

The Lady Vol emblem is not intended to be a loud feminist movement. Nor is the abolishment of the logo intended to be a quiet sexist notion. After all, we’re all in this chase of collegiate supremacy together. The Lady Vol emblem is, however, an expression of respect and equality. One of the things I fell in love with about the University of Tennessee is the support women’s athletics received across the board, from the front office to the fans and everyone in between. The “Lady Vol” that I proudly wore across my chest came with administered respect. In fact, it was one of the main reasons I chose to come to Tennessee over other top colleges like Duke, UNC, and South Carolina. As a university we want to be known as respectable and equal. Those are qualities that we all look to hold as individuals of society. So for the sake of our national reputation, our edge in recruiting, our rich tradition, and our pursuit of everyday excellence, I would like to see the Lady Vol logo revived and alive for all women’s sports for the betterment of the athletic department as a whole.

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Please note that this statement is solely my opinion. The support that I received from the athletic department and from all of orange nation through my time at Tennessee was amazing. I was able to work with people that believed in my dream and encouraged me to chase it everyday. My time as a Lady Vol will always be near and dear to my heart, and I have the people I was surrounded with to thank for that.

Cierra Burdick

Lady Vol Basketball 2011-2015

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8 thoughts on “Cierra Burdick – Lady Vol Basketball 2011-2015

  1. This young woman is so much of what the heritage of being a volunteer is about. Just by the way she spoke of the logo of THE LADY VOLS and it’s meaning and also by my first hand account of seeing how she was with fan’s especially with my little girl that her only dream in basketball is becoming a Lady Vol

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    • Being a Lady Vol athlete and a Lady Vol fan is more than just a logo…. Or a window decal … It’s a way of life. It can never be taken away.

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  2. The term “Lady Vols” cannot and will not be erased from the Tennessee consciousness. We will defend and keep it regardless of what this foolish administration does or does not do. Eventually, we will prevail because we are right and they are decidedly wrong.

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  3. Cierra has very eloquently given true meaning to the Lady Vol logo. For any TN female athlete to not have the honor and pride of wearing the Lady Vol logo is unthinkable!!!

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  4. Excellent commentary. To do away with the “Lady Vol” logo and name would be to show a lack of respect for the thousands of women who wore it proudly over the years. Shame on the administration for even considering it and double shame if they do away with it as proposed.

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  5. Why the administration would alienate such a viable and visible part of their fan base is unbelievable to me!

    Cierra stated the case very well. She is an amazing LVF.

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  6. The respect of that name across our chests is a direct result of Pat’s hard work & the blood sweat & tears of every female athlete of UT. We are the standard for all to reach for. We Are THE LADY VOL’S

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  7. Cierra states her opinion very eloquently as all Lady Vols and Vol fans should. The Mantra of the Lady Vols future should not be dictated by a small number of people serving on the UTK Board or in paid positions at UTK. The University of TN is a public university paid for by the tax payers and should be decided by those, not by greed or flashy uniforms. Decisions made behind closed doors should be made transparent with regards to Nike and the resultant loss of the Lady Vols mantra. No one should ever be invited into a public institution with the resutant loss of a 40 year tradition. No One. Especially a tradition that all fans and alumni can be extremely proud to be a part of. In 2015, only the Universities strong in both male and female sports and traditions will excel. TN should lead the way, not fall behind now after 40 yrs of hard work, desire and forward thinking has bestowed the great legacy of the Lady Vols into and upon the great state of Tennessee and it’s fans nationwide. 😎

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