WELCOME!

Welcome to the Official Bring Back the Lady Vols Website! My name is Leslie Cikra. I am a former Lady Volunteer Volleyball Player and I am helping spearhead this website, along with the help of all of the contributing Lady Vols. During my tenure at Tennessee my class finished with a 99-27 record overall, the highest winning percentage in program history at .786 and my team was 2011 first-time-sole SEC Champions.

SPRING 2017 UPDATE:  The fight is far from over.  We now have two new faces high up in the UT Leadership.  If you haven’t done so, please contact your new Athletic Director and Chancellor at the University, and respectfully let them know we are still working to Bring Back the Lady Vols!  We hope that new leadership is exactly what we need to restore the logo and name to its rightful place in Tennessee history.  Go Lady Vols!

Lady Vols vs. Mississippi State 11.6.11 by Wade Rackley/UTADPHOTO

I have been working with a handful of other former Lady Vols to bring awareness to the Tennessee athletic department’s decision to remove the Lady Vol logo. We are all deeply disappointed and hurt by the University taking away this tradition for all women’s sports with the exception of basketball in an attempt to rebrand athletics.

bryttany - lv 2009-10 --PC elizabeth olivier

The University of Tennessee announced a branding restructure within their athletic department on November 10, 2014.  Click here to see the original media release from UT.

lady vols utad photo - upsports.com

I quickly realized the magnitude of people affected by this change, including former, current and future Lady Vols.  Since we launched we have reached over 15,000 people, not including those who we have touched via multiple radio interviews and our visit to the Tennessee State Capitol.  This website is going to be a running collection of letters.

We hope that you will all take the time to read the letters.   It will help explain through the eyes of the Lady Vols the impact that this decision will have, not only on former athletes, but also on the future of Tennessee athletics.  Please refer to our LETTERS tab to find the letters from Lady Volunteers, and please join us in our fight by signing our change.org PETITION to bring back the Lady Vols!

photo by Wade Rackley:UTADPHOTO - UTSports.com

Please note: This webpage is not affiliated with the University of Tennessee.  It is a representation of the views of myself and other contributing former Lady Volunteers.

55 thoughts on “WELCOME!

    • This drives me nuts. Tennessee’s women’s athletic teams were called ‘Volettes’ until the women of UT athletics decided to go with ‘Lady Volunteers’/’Lady Vols’ and spent decades building a tradition of excellence and standards of mentoring and leadership that continues today. It was, primarily, chosen by women, built by women, has been held in trust, and has been a torch passed down to other young women for them to carry forward.

      Now Jimmy Cheek and Dave Hart come along with a wish to throw that away; with a number of people who shrug and ask why it matters or say it’s no big deal. If Joan Cronin and Pat Summitt started all this and said, ‘Hey ladies, forget all that, it’s time to make a change,’ it might be one thing. But for these two men to so casually try to discard this tradition, with decades of history, that means so much to so many … it’s disgusting.

      Not only does removing ‘Lady Vols’ make no sense from a marketing standpoint (how many think selling one product will make more money than selling two well-established products?), it seems to be a direct attack on the traditions and accomplishments of the women at the university.

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  1. As a lifelong UT fan of all sports, what can I do to help you. I recommend that you debunk Hart’s statement that former and present lady vols wanted to eliminate the lady vol logo. You need to find out what players and coaches wanted the change and show that they are in the minority. From what I have heard, there was no outreach to former players or to present players.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The ladies built this program and deserve the recognition from it. I always admired the lady Vols and wanted my daughter to attend. I want her to be recognized as a Lady Vol not a Tennessee Volunteer. Thanks but we will pass. Maybe she can be a Lady Bulldog. …

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  3. Save the Lady Vol logo!! All my life as a fan that is all I have known. It’s not only a logo, it stands for excellence, pride, and a commitment to be the very best all female student / athletes can be in every sport. It’s as legendary as our beloved Coach Pat Summitt . LEAVE IT ALONE!!! GO LADY VOLS!!!

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  4. I’m a UT grad and supporter of Lady Vols sports this change is not welcomed and goes against all that is good about women’s athletics.

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  5. i have followed the Lady Vols for years! I love and respect you! To me the name means academics, women’s athletics and respect! I will do what I can to help!!!

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  6. I will do what I can to help. I just wander whose idea it was and why . please honor our Lady Vols of all sports and give them the name they have earned and are so proud of !!!!!

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  7. I have been and always will be a Lady Vol fan! My Dad worked with Pat and was there in the beginning! She endured a heck of a lot of things to become the most outstanding coach and friend! This is like not only a slap in the face, but a knock out! They ” Pat and Joan ” and the countless others have earned the right to be called Lady Vols! My granddaughter’s dream was to work hard and someday become a Lady Vol, but it looks like she will be a “Lady” somewhere else!

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  8. I’ve identified with the Lady Vols….softball, basketball, volleyball and many more sports. Please bring back the LADY VOL LOGO for all the Tennessee lady athletes.

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  9. This letter was sent to President DiPietro and Chancellor Cheek:

    My name is Linda Evers.  I played on the University of Tennessee LADY VOLS Tennis Team 1976-1980.  I am VERY, VERY upset by your decision to eliminate the LADY VOL name.  We worked very hard to establish that name and the what it stands for: integrity, hard work, winning national championships, and quality young ladies who go on to lead productive lives.  Once UTK established the a brand name like the Lady VOLS  you should NEVER eliminate it!  It is a 40 year old brand name.  I can only equate this to when Coke tried to eliminate Classic Coke and you saw what happened they brought it back and and the fans where so happy.

    I have heard all kind of reasons for this decision being made like bringing the Lady Vols under the Power T.  You could have done this and still keep the Lady Vols brand name.  I have  heard that Nike does nor want to produce it.  Nike realizes the importance of a brand name….just look at the number of different football uniforms Nike makes for the Oregon football team. So who is putting that pathetic reasoning out to the public.  This has ALL been handled so badly by Dave Hart.   How many Lady Vols teams or Coaches have EVER been under investigation by the NCAA.  NONE to my knowledge.  Yet you have have an AD who just hired a Mens Basketball coach who brought an NCAA investigation  with him to UTK.  I think Dave Hart has done more harm to the athletic department than ANY of his prior Athletic Directors.  He has caused three law suites against UTK by the way he has handled certain situations.  UTK used to be known for its people and what a great place it was.  I can honestly say I do not think that is the case any more with Dave Hart as head of the Athletic Department.

    I currently have a Lady Vol scholarship which I am which I am currently trying to decide how I will move forward. I called Scott Rabenold’s office to voice my opinion on the Dave Hart decision eliminating the Lady Vols Name.  I left him a voice mail.  I called him the day after the announcement.  TO this day he has not called me back.  I guess he does not care about my contribution!  I did hear back from Andrea Piercy who works with me in development.  She has done an out standing job and I cannot say enough GOOD things about her.  What Dave Hart did in his decision to eliminate the Lady Vols name only makes the job harder in the Development Office because once again Dave Hart has created another controversy.  I do not feel he truly cares about the Lady Vols.  

    I can only hope this email reaches your eyes and thus you truly can see my concerns.  I do love Tennessee but one of the things in my life that makes me most PROUD is being a LADY VOL.

    Bring Back our Lady Vol Name!  The fans will embrace this decision…..

    Sincerely,
    Linda Evers
    Lady Vol Tennis Team 1976-1980

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  10. Keep the Lady Vols logo for ALL women’s sports. It is unfair to take the logo away from all women’s sports except basketball. It is time for Dave Hart, who has done so much to defund or suppress women’s athletics, to be given his walking papers.

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  11. I am not even american but know of the lady vols and it is tragic that a long standing name can just be wiped out of history without even giving the ladies a vote, bring back the lady vols.

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  12. I arrived full time on campus the same time as Coach Pat Head (now Coach Summitt) and at that time had no idea that I would witness the development of one of the proudest traditions at UTK, the Lady Vols! I don’t mean just the basketball program, but every program that carried the name. The young ladies (I use that term in the “old timey” complimentary sense!) who carried the banner in all sports were good students, good athletes, and good citizens! They graduated, they competed, they won, and they did so with class, and they make anyone with orange blood proud of the Lady Vols! Whenever there was an event or meet & greet near us, I tried to take my daughter to see and/or meet the Lady Vols because it gave her a chance to see accomplished, competitive, classy role models to emulate. Important message for Dave Hart… BRING BACK THE LADY VOLS BRAND, the PROUDEST TRADITION AT UTK! VFL1976!

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  13. I arrived full time on campus the same time as Coach Pat Head (now Coach Summitt) and at that time had no idea that I would witness the development of one of the proudest traditions at UTK, the Lady Vols! I don’t mean just the basketball program, but every program that carried the name. The young ladies (I use that term in the “old timey” complimentary sense!) who carried the banner in all sports were good students, good athletes, and good citizens! They graduated, they competed, they won, and they did so with class, and they make anyone with orange blood proud of the Lady Vols! Whenever there was an event or meet & greet near us, I tried to take my daughter to see and/or meet the Lady Vols because it gave her a chance to see accomplished, competitive, classy role models to emulate. Important message for Dave Hart… BRING BACK THE LADY VOLS BRAND, the PROUDEST TRADITION AT UTK! VFL1976!

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  14. Im from north carolina but have been a lifelong lady vols supporter this is a rediculous lawsuit and in the end the name.Lady Vols will still be there

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  15. Why don’t we get very politically correct and require the girls to play against the men or with them or have men on their team and call it the “Volunteer Mix”?

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  16. We are long time Tennessee supporters from Chattanooga; we have been season ticket holders for over 30 years in football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, and softball. There is a way to stop Hart from changing the logo but it is painful. Vote with your money! Stop giving them donations and stop buying tickets, they will get the message. UT has always been about money. Hamilton ruined football with his spending, Now Hart wants to ruin Women’s Sports.

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  17. What about organizing a boycott of Nike? They are the ones behind this. They make more money if they only produce one logo for athletic merchandise. I, for one, will no longer purchase anything produced by Nike.

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  18. As a lifelong UT fan who’s spent much of the last 15 years in the military, I’ve become accustomed to keeping up with UT sports from a distance. I feel like this has given me something of an outsider’s perspective and made me more of an impartial observer than I otherwise might have been. Over the last few years, I’ve been very disappointed with a number of decisions and the general direction of the department. I understand it’s generally not helpful to point fingers, but ultimately, the person leading an organization is responsible for its decisions, direction, and culture. While I’m sure there have been some improvements since Dave Hart stepped in, they seem greatly outweighed by the negatives he’s brought. I’m most concerned with the divisive culture and diminution of women’s sports he’s fostered.
    If you look at Dave Hart’s history, you’ll find that he’s known for making “hard decisions.” However, many of his “hard decisions” seem to relate disproportionately to firing women or otherwise diminishing the role of women or women’s sports. While at FSU, Hart was accused of mishandling a rape investigation by failing to report the crime to law enforcement. Reports by FSU’s IG and general counsel faulted Hart for creating an insular and non-communicative culture. Hart has been sued at least four times for issues relating to his treatment of women. In 1997, he was sued by FSU’s women’s basketball coach for gender discrimination for inequitable funding and furnishing of women’s teams. In 2011, he was sued for retaliation by an Alabama cheerleading coach he fired. And in 2012, he was sued twice, both on claims of gender discrimination in UT’s athletic department. When he merged the men’s and women’s athletic departments at UT, 12 of the 15 positions he eliminated were held by women.
    UT is a public institution. We, as taxpayers and supporters of that institution, need to make a strong statement about what kind of leaders we want running it. I’m glad this blog and petition are attempting to do that and hope they continue to gain traction.

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  19. I also am a long time Vol fan of some 45 years and have always loved the Lady Vols teams. I sincerely hope that this action will be rescinded and the Ladies will be able to keep their identity in all the sports as the Lady Vols. Hopefully your efforts will not be in vain! Go Lady Vols!!

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  20. Bring back the lady Vols. They are not the mens program. They work very hard and deserve enough distinction by themselves. They deserve to be called whatever they choose and I believe they chose to come to the university of Tennessee to be a Lady Vol.

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  21. I became a Lady Vols in September of 1980 and Graduated as an 11-Time All SEC, 15-Time All American, 6-Time SEC Champions and 11-Time NCAA Champion. My sport was Track & Field and we won the 1st National Title under the AIAW in 1981 my freshmen year. As a result of my athletic accomplishments as a Lady Vol, I was inducted into the 1st class of the UT Lady Vol Hall of Fame. I provided this information because for over 35 years I have taken pride in being a Lady Vol and everything is stands for. I learned about being Accountable, having Character and Achieving Excellence. When, I heard about the decision, to change the logo, like many, I was surprised and thought that the decision was not based on anything good or for the Advancement of Women in Sports.

    With that being said, I realize that hard decisions must be made but true character and leadership ability transcends money and diabolical schemes disguised as “Making Something Better.” It is important for all of us that are concerned about the the Lady Vols’ Logo and the lack of concern/respect for the past, the Lady Vols graduates, the fans and tradition, to write and call to make your concerns heard.

    As a Lady Vols athlete and fan I have learned a lot, I want to share this.
    “You can fool the whole world down the pathways of life and get pats on the back as you pass, but your true reward will be hard ache and pain in you trick the PERSON in the glass.” Much can be said about that to those in the decision making positions at UT.

    Bring Back the Lady Vols. The logo stands for everything that is Excellent, Hopeful, Pure,Successful and Strong.

    Lady Vol
    Joetta Clark Diggs
    Also
    1988, 1992, 1996 & 2000 Olympian
    Businesswoman & Author

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  22. Lady Vols: class, ambition, success.
    The brand is a hallmark of women’s empowerment which should remain in perpetuity.

    VFL & 2003 alum

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  23. When I want information on a Tennessee women’s sports team I enter “Lady Vols” in the search engine. Otherwise a general search of Tennessee sports just presents men’s sports. Keep the Lady Vols logo.

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  24. As lifelong resident of Tennessee and a follower of UTK sports, mostly football and women’s basketball, I am commenting in protest of Dave Hart’s seemingly misogynistic approach to women’s athletics at UTK. His history as an AD is replete with lawsuits over this same UTK behavior that got him in trouble at other institutions. STOP him now. STOP Cheek and DiPietro, as well. They do not deserve to have this type of management license. None of us deserve them. My granddaughters and yours deserve better.

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  25. So the Lady Vols will still apply to basketball indefinitely. “If you like your Lady Vols, you can keep your Lady Vols.”
    Sound familiar?

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  26. It`s all Money!!!-Always was-Always will be. No matter how many complaints the moniker is going away. I don`t want it to but Hart has $$ on his side!

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  27. Taking away the lady volts logo for everybody except the basketball team is being discriminating against all women athletes at UT.Mr Hart said that it was a done deal. I was just wondering who died and left him to play God. Sounds like we should remind him who pays his salary. I LOVE ALL OF THE LADY VOLS IN ALL SPORTS.

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  28. I just have a thought I would like to share. I was a student trainer for the Lady Vols during my time at UT and through the education and opportunities I received it lead me to medical school. I was there when Dave Heart took over and watched him almost single handedly destroy the program that had taught me some much. I am now 1 year away from being a doctor and though I love my alma mater as long as Dave Heart is over our athletic department I will NOT be supporting it. I don’t think the people who made this decision realize that they have lost and continue to loose future boosters. They may be ignoring us now and refusing to give us any power but one day they will have to listen. I think we all know this decision was driven by monitory gains, but they should consider the funds they will lose from all the future boosters they have infuriated.

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  29. I have always thought of all UT women as Lady Vols. I do not understand the reason why anyone would want to elevate the women’s basketball team above the other Lady Vols, which in my mind will make all other women at UT second class citizens. Jerry Jones, JD, College of Law, 1973.

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  30. Even Nike is smart enough to distance themselves from this travesty. When you can’t bring the men up to the standards set by the Lady Vols, what else can you do? Let’s see … how many coaching scandals have the Lady Vols had? NCAA violations? What’s their overall g fafuation rate? What about their collective GPA? Hmmmmmm.

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  31. Apologies if this posts twice. I’m a UTK graduate –BA (1977), MS (2000), PhD (2007). I am appalled that this travesty is still ongoing. Even Nike is smart enough to distance themselves from this debacle.

    The only thing that I can think of is that it’s a ploy to make the men look good. When you can’t bring the men up to the standards set by the Lady Vols …. let’s see … how many coaching scandals have we seen with the Lady Vols? How many NCAA violations? What’s the Lady Vols graduation rate? How about their cumulative GPA?

    I wish I was a high-dollar donor so that I could stop and they’d notice the difference. I’m not, but I can still stop … and there will be mo Power T merchandise at my house.

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  32. Monday, I ordered Lady Vols logo merchandise. When I go to the ballgames, I will be wearing it–not T stuff. They can’t make us quit. We will just remind them constantly of what all women’s teams are called. I will also continue to orally refer to them as Lady Vols. Trust me–I am not a fan at all of Dave Hart!!! GO LADY VOLS (ALL TEAM SPORTS)!!!!!!

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