Big Changes Ahead At Stokely Athletic Center

The Tennessee athletic department is beginning the process of leaving Stokely Athletic Center, Tiffany Carpenter, UT athletic department public relations director said today.

Carpenter added an updated master plan of Athletic Facilities on UT's Campus is about to be made public, and ANY move outside of Stokely Athletic Center by Tennessee Athletics won't occur for at least three or more years.

Stokely, opened in 1958, was the home of Tennessee basketball for decades, and until recently was still used for volleyball and indoor track and field.

“Right now we are looking at where to place some of the offices housed in Stokely,” said Carpenter, who said there is no timetable for leaving the building.

She said Stokely will be turned over to the academic campus for use.

“We have been talking about it (leaving the building) for years, but plans were sped up this fall,” said Carpenter.

It was during the fall that the fire marshal ordered the building no longer be used to hold athletic or other spectator events. The volleyball team played in the facility last fall, but a youth track meet annually held there was moved to Johnson City.

During its heyday in the late ’70s, Stokely rocked with the Ernie and Bernie Show, when colorful coach Ray Mears directed a team that featured All-Americans Ernie Grunfeld and Bernard King. But, with the move to Thompson-Boling Arena in 1987, Stokely became a much calmer place. It still houses numerous staff offices and the University’s ROTC program.

Carpenter said the university will decide whether to convert the building for other use or demolish it.

More details as the story develops online and in Saturday's News Sentinel and on

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