Former Tennessee Vols assistant Steve Caldwell returning and Trey Smith being honored lead our Volunteers news for Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020.
A midweek report usually doesn’t bring this much news. But the Tennessee Vols made two notable hires on Tuesday, four different athletes earned awards, and five different sports were in action. So it was actually an insane day.
Our morning update on Rocky Top leads with the football news, though. There are two notable events that happened. A longtime UT assistant coach returned to the program in a different role, and a current Vol earned an honor named for a former Vol.
Beyond that, a second hire into the athletic department makes some news, and we build on our recap of an ugly men’s basketball win from Tuesday. Baseball, men’s and women’s golf and swimming and diving all have things for us to recap as well, and swimming and diving and track and field bring more honors. So let’s get started with the football news.
Rising senior offensive lineman Trey Smith of the Tennessee Vols football team won the Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year Award Tuesday night over Air Force Falcons quarterback Isaiah Sanders and USC Trojans wide receiver Michael Pittman. Smith has dealt with blood clots in his career, missing part of 2018, but he still played all of 2019 and chose to return for 2020.
The award honors one collegiate player who shows exemplary character and commitment to their community, family and teammates within NCAA Division I football. The winner is selected by a panel of prominent former players and coaches, as well as members of the college football media.
Steve Caldwell returns to UT – APNews.com
Former Tennessee football assistant Steve Caldwell, who worked for 14 years on Phillip Fulmer’s staff, returns to Rocky Top in an administrative role. Caldwell, who coached defensive ends from 1995 to 2008 and special teams from 2000 to 2005, will become the assistant director of life skills and character development.
In his new role, Caldwell’s job will include forming development plans to assist incoming football players as they adapt to campus life and college athletics. He will provide guidance on academics, athletics, life skills, personal and professional growth and social responsibilities.
Bill Martin hired as communications director – Mike Wilson, KnoxNews via MSN
In addition to bringing back Steve Caldwell, the Tennessee Vols athletic department hired a new assistant athletics director for football communications Tuesday. Bill Martin, who has spent the past 19 years with either the Florida Gators, LSU Tigers and Mississippi State Bulldogs, will assume that role.
Martin, 37, oversaw the athletics communications department at Mississippi State for the past six years as the senior associate athletics director for communications. He was the lead contact for Bulldogs football and also managed the media relations department responsible for 16 varsity sports.
Rick Barnes recaps win over Vanderbilt – Grant Ramey, GoVols247
Despite a 13-point lead with two minutes left and a nine-point lead with 35 seconds, the Tennessee Vols men’s basketball team only beat Vanderbilt Commodores Tuesday 65-63, improving to 15-11 overall and 7-6 in the SEC. Vandy fell to 9-17 and 1-12 in the SEC. UT now faces top 50 RPI teams the rest of the way. Here’s a bit of what Rick Barnes said about the win.
“I was upset at halftime with the way we started the game, with missed layups and silly turnovers. Things that, this time of year, you shouldn’t be making. Then we’re up 12, 13 and turn it over three straight times in a ridiculous manner. You can’t be doing that this time of year. It’s about playing basketball and understanding that every possession matters.”
Baseball Vols win midweek matchup – Ken Lay, VolsWire
After sweeping the Western Illinois Leathernecks to start off the 2020 season 3-0, the Tennessee Vols baseball team moved to 4-0 by beating the Charlotte 49ers 8-2 in a midweek matchup Tuesday. Up next for them is the Round Rock Classic in Round Rock, Texas this weekend.
Jake Rucker, the Volunteers’ sophomore third baseman, opened the scoring when he smacked a two-run home run off 49ers’ starter Trae Starnes in the bottom of the first inning. Max Ferguson led off the frame with a double and scored on Rucker’s round-tripper.
Carey McLeod earns Field Athlete of the Week – SECSports
For the third time this year, Tennessee Track and Field had an athlete earn weekly SEC honors. This time, sophomore jumper Carey Mcleod got the recognition as the SEC Men’s Field Athlete of the Week due to his performance at the Tiger Paw Invitational.
Tennessee’s Carey McLeod recorded the No. 1 mark in the world for 2020 in the men’s long jump, leaping a school record 8.16m (26-9.25) at the Tiger Paw Invitational. Less than 24 hours later, he went 16.68 meters (54-8.75) in the triple jump for the No. 2 mark in the NCAA and No. 15 mark in the world this season.
Junior Owen Devine and senior Stanzi Moseley represented the Tennessee men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams respectively by being named to the 2020 SEC Community Service Team Tuesday. Both were among the VOLeaders athletes who visited Rwanda.
A Bakersfield, Calif., native Moseley is a psychology major with plans to attend graduate school at California Baptist where she will pursue a master’s of science in industrial organizational psychology.
Devine is a Tennessee native from Johnson City, majoring in kinesiology. He has logged over 50 hours of community service this season.
Swimming and Diving continues SEC Championships – Lauren Neidigh, SwimSwam
It was a huge first day for the Tennessee men’s and women’s swimming and diving programs at SEC Championships Tuesday. The Vols earned five medals, as the Lady Vols won two team gold medals, the men won a team silver medal, an individual in each earned a bronze.
After breaking the SEC Meet Record in 2019, Tennessee returns 3/4 of their NCAA Champion 200 medley relay. That includes champion Erika Brown, one of the fastest sprinters in history.
Men’s golf finishes No. 13 at Puerto Rico Classic – PurdueSports
At the end of the three-day Puerto Rico Classic Tournament, hosted by the Purdue Boilermakers and taking place at the Wyndham Rio Mar Golf Course in Rio Mar, Puerto Rico, the No. 23 ranked Tennessee Vols men’s golf team finished tied with the Ohio State Buckeyes for No. 13 out of 15 teams. They shot 882 in total throughout the event, finishing 18-over par.
Women’s golf finishes last at IJGA Collegiate Invitational – GolfStat.com
With a total score of 899 and 35-over par over three days, the Tennessee Lady Vols golf program finished No. 14 out of 14 teams at the IJGA Collegiate Invitational. The event was hosted by the Virginia Cavaliers but took place at the Guadalajara Country Club in Guadalajara, Mexico.