Tickets still available for Big Orange evening
by RICK NORTON, Associate Editor
Jun 05, 2013 | 859 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Butch Jones to visit Friday
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Friday will be declared “Forever Butch Jones Day in Bradley County” as the first-year football coach of the University of Tennessee Volunteers prepares for a Big Orange evening with several hundred local Big Orange faithful.

Jones, who was hired as the UT field general Dec. 7, 2012, will deliver the keynote as special guest of the Bradley Sunrise Rotary which is using the visit as a fundraiser for the organization’s array of local and global causes.

Advance tickets are still available and also will be sold at the door, according to Cheryl Dunson, a Sunrise Rotarian who coordinates much of the civic group’s public information.

Ticket price is $25.

For any not wanting to wait until the event to buy a ticket, they can still be bought in advance from any Sunrise Rotarian, at the Orange Blossom Boutique in Stuart Park Plaza or at the main branch of Southern Heritage Bank on Keith Street. Tickets are also available by contacting Sunrise Rotary President Pat Fuller at 423-244-1000 or through EventBrite which can be accessed on the civic club’s website at www.bradleysunriserotary.com.

Jones, who brings a six-season 50-27 (.649) record as a head coach to town, is expected to kick off the evening with a 7 p.m. press conference, followed by a brief reception with major donors. The UT coach should be taking the stage by 7:30. Doors will open at 6:30.

Tonight’s festivities will include several events leading up to Jones’ presentation which will include a question-and-answer session with the crowd.

One of the presentations will be made by Bradley County Trustee Mike Smith who will deliver the paperwork declaring Friday as “Forever Butch Jones Day in Bradley County.”

The event will still be hosted at Bradley Central High School; however, it has been moved from the Jim Smiddy Arena to the Performing Arts Center in the Fine Arts Building due to a superior sound system and more comfortable seating, Dunson explained.

Fuller, a diehard member of Vols Nation, urged area residents to turn out for the Jones visit.

“Our goal is to create an atmosphere for all ages of fans who want to come and express their support for coach Jones and a new era of football at UT,” the Sunrise Rotary president said.

The longtime Sunrise Rotarian stressed Friday’s event is serving a two-fold purpose. One, it will give Cleveland, Bradley County and surrounding area residents a chance to hear Jones’ perspective on the UT football program; and two, proceeds from ticket sales will support a variety of civic causes endorsed by Sunrise Rotary.

“People can look at it two ways,” Fuller said. “Come and hear about our UT football program, and the $25 will be used for local causes.”

Among the local initiatives supported by Sunrise Rotary are Habitat for Humanity of Cleveland, American Cancer Society, the Salvation Army-Cleveland Corps and the civic club’s own Angel Flight program. Globally, the civic group recently sponsored the installation of a clean water system in El Negrito, Honduras, and has been a supporter of the Mary Diana Samuel Orphanage for Girls in India.

Jones is the latest sports celebrity and national figure to be brought to Cleveland by Sunrise Rotary. Others have included Vince and Barbara Dooley, Derek Dooley and Collins Tuohy, the real-life sister of Michael Oher, an offensive tackle for the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens. Oher’s life was featured in the award-winning Hollywood film “The Blind Side.”

Prior to joining Tennessee football, Jones coached the University of Cincinnati where he finished with a 23-14 record in three seasons with the Bearcats.

He also was the head coach for three years at Central Michigan and compiled a 27-13 record. He has won at least eight games in five of his six years as a head coach, including three seasons of nine-plus wins in the last four years. He led Cincinnati to a Top 25 final national ranking in 2011.

On his first day at the UT helm in December, Jones told newsmen he comes to Tennessee football under no illusions.

“I understand the values, traditions and level of expectations that come with this position, and I look forward to being a part of the Vols Nation,” he said.