Tennessee Volunteers basketball

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For the University of Tennessee women's basketball team, see Tennessee Lady Volunteers basketball.
Tennessee Volunteers
2014–15 Tennessee Volunteers basketball team
Tennessee Volunteers athletic logo
University University of Tennessee
Conference SEC
Location Knoxville, TN
Head coach Rick Barnes (1st year)
Arena Thompson-Boling Arena
(Capacity: 21,000)
Nickname Volunteers
Student section Rocky Top Rowdies

UT Orange and White

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Home jersey
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Team colours
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Away jersey
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Team colours
NCAA Tournament Elite Eight
NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen
1967, 1981, 2000, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2014
NCAA Tournament appearances
1967, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1989, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2014
Conference tournament champions
1936, 1941, 1943, 1979
Conference regular season champions
1936, 1941, 1943, 1967, 1972, 1977, 1982, 2000, 2008

The Tennessee Volunteers basketball team represents the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee in NCAA men's basketball competition. (Women's teams at the school are known as "Lady Volunteers".) The Volunteers currently compete in the Southeastern Conference. The team last played in the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament in 2014.


The Volunteers have had 19 NCAA tournament appearances with an overall record of 12-17, a record of 9-7 in the first round, 3-5 in the second round, and 1-4 in the regional semifinals. They have also been invited to the National Invitation Tournament 11 times. They have won nine regular season SEC championships in 1936, 1941, 1943, 1967, 1972, 1977, 1982, 2000, and 2008. The 1972, 1977, 1982, and 2000 seasons were all shared championships with another team from the Southeastern Conference. Their conference tournament record is 54-43 with 4 championships in 1936, 1941, 1943, and 1979. Historically, UT basketball has produced several successful National Basketball Association players including Allan Houston, Bernard King, Ernie Grunfeld, Dale Ellis, Tobias Harris, Tony White, Ron Slay, Larry Robinson, and C.J. Watson. Bernard King is one of only three players in the Vols' history to ever have a jersey retired (the others being Ernie Grunfeld and Allan Houston). He finished his career averaging a "double double" per game of 25.8 points and 13.2 rebounds.

In March 2009, the University of Tennessee athletic department made a statement saying that they would claim the 1916 National Championship, but would not hang a banner for such an occasion. Tennessee finished that year with a 16-0 record, the only time in UT basketball history that a team has gone undefeated.

As of 2015, two former UT players were in the NBA: C.J. Watson with the Indiana Pacers[1] and Tobias Harris with the Orlando Magic (formerly of the Milwaukee Bucks).


The Tennessee Vols play in Thompson-Boling which was at one time the largest facility ever built specifically for basketball in the United States with a seating capacity of 24,678 until its 2007 renovation. Named for the late B. Ray Thompson and former UT President Dr. Edward J. Boling, the arena regularly hosts women's volleyball matches, concerts, camps, conferences, and other special events throughout the year.

Thompson-Boling Arena opened during the 1987-88 season, with Tennessee defeating Marquette 82-56 before a crowd of 25,272. In its opening season, the Vols finished third nationally with an average attendance of more than 20,000 fans per game. But much of the facility's storied history has centered around men's and women's basketball. In the last two decades, the Vols and Lady Vols have hosted record college basketball crowds, as well as WNBA and NCAA Tournament basketball games.The Vols have ranked fourth in the nation in average home attendance for each of the past three seasons, including an average of 20,483 fans per game in 2008-09. Tennessee's 1989 men's game against Kentucky set the SEC regular-season record with a crowd of 25,610. The Lady Vols drew 24,597 for their 1998 game with Connecticut to establish a women's NCAA record, while a Celtics-Bullets game in 1988 attracted a then-record NBA exhibition record crowd of 23,611. The arena's largest basketball crowd since its capacity dipped to 21,678 prior to the 2007-08 season came on Jan. 7, 2009, when the Vols hosted Gonzaga in front of a sellout crowd of 22,326.

UT hosted the NCAA Tournament's South Regional Finals in 1999 and 1994 in the spacious facility. The 1990 NCAA Southeast Region's first and second round games, followed by the NCAA Women's Final Four made Knoxville a basketball hotspot. The 1989 SEC Tournament was the first of what promised to be many postseason tournaments to be held in Thompson-Boling Arena. The riverfront arena has drawn rave reviews from teams, administrators, and media for its modern facilities needed for hosting major tournaments.

As of November 18, 2008, Bruce Pearl's home record at Thompson-Boling Arena was 47–2, a home winning percentage at Tennessee of 96%.

Bruce Pearl turnaround[edit]

After the Buzz Peterson era was less successful than expected, Tennessee hired Bruce Pearl from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee in 2005. Pearl's assistants Tony Jones, Steve Forbes, Jacob Nichols, Jason Shay, and Ken Johnson rounded out a staff that helped bring the Vols to the NCAA tournament six years in a row.

During the 2006-07 season, the Volunteers were ranked 4th nationally in attendance with an average of 19,661 fans in Thompson-Boling Arena, which has a capacity of 21,758. Since coach Bruce Pearl arrived in March 2005 the attendance increased by an average of 7,436 per game.

In the 2008 season Pearl led the Vols to their first regular season SEC championship in 8 years as well as the first number 1 ranking for the program.

On March 26, 2010, the Vols made the Elite Eight for the first time ever by defeating Ohio State 76-73. The Vols were then defeated by Michigan State by one point, 70-69, on a Spartan foul shot with 1.8 seconds left in the game to fall short of their first Final Four.

The Tennessee Vols taking on the Vanderbilt Commodores in front of a packed Thompson-Boling Arena

On March 21, 2011, Pearl was fired by the school, based on Pearl's misconduct of lying to an NCAA investigation about recruiting violations.[2]

Replacing Pearl[edit]

On March 27, 2011, The University of Tennessee announced Cuonzo Martin as the Volunteers 18th head coach. Martin had spent the last 3 seasons at Missouri State where he compiled a record of 61-41. Martin was able to take the Missouri State team from 11-20 and last in the Missouri Valley Conference to a 26-9 record finishing first in the conference.

In his first year, Martin took a team that had lost their top three—and seven of their top ten—contributors from the previous season to a second place finish in the SEC, largely because of their tough defense and lack of turnovers.

In his second year, Martin failed to reach the NCAA Tournament, finishing as one of the last teams out.

In his third year, Martin took the Vols to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 2010 after playing in the First Four, second and third rounds after beating Iowa, UMass, and Mercer, respectively. The Vols narrowly lost to Michigan in the regional semifinals, 73-71, on a controversial foul call on Jarnell Stokes. Martin resigned from Tennessee and accepted the coaching job at California on April 15, 2014. [3]

It was announced on April 21, 2014 that former Morehead State and Southern Mississippi head coach Donnie Tyndall would become the next head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers.[4]

After NCAA scrutiny, Tennessee terminated its relationship with Donnie Tyndall on March 27th, 2015, after one season in which Tyndall managed to finish .500 overall and in the middle of the pack in the SEC.

Three days later, Tennessee agreed to a deal with former Texas coach Rick Barnes, who the Longhorns fired after 17 seasons and a Final Four appearance in 2003. [5]


NCAA tournament results[edit]

The Volunteers have appeared in the NCAA Tournament 20 times. Their combined record is 19–21.

Year Seed Round Opponent Results
1967 Sweet Sixteen
Regional 3rd Place Game
L 52–53
L 44–51
1976 Round of 32 VMI L 75–82
1977 Round of 32 Syracuse L 88–93 OT
1979 #8 Round of 40
Round of 32
#9 Eastern Kentucky
#1 Notre Dame
W 97–81
L 67–73
1980 #7 Round of 48
Round of 32
#10 Furman
#2 Maryaland
W 80–69
L 75–86
1981 #4 Round of 32
Sweet Sixteen
#5 VCU
#1 Virginia
W 58–56 OT
L 48–62
1982 #9 Round of 48
Round of 32
#8 Southwest Louisiana
#1 Virginia
W 61–57
L 51–54
1983 #8 Round of 48
Round of 32
#9 Marquette
#1 Louisville
W 57–56
L 57–70
1989 #10 Round of 64 #7 West Virginia L 68–84
1998 #8 Round of 64 #9 Illinois State L 81–82 OT
1999 #4 Round of 64
Round of 32
#13 Delaware
#12 SW Missuri State
W 62–52
L 51–81
2000 #4 Round of 64
Round of 32
Sweet Sixteen
#13 Louisiana–Lafayette
#5 Connecticut
#8 North Carolina
W 63–58
W 65–51
L 69–74
2001 #8 Round of 64 #9 Charlotte L 63–70
2006 #2 Round of 64
Round of 32
#15 Winthrop
#7 Wichita State
W 63–61
L 73–80
2007 #5 Round of 64
Round of 32
Sweet Sixteen
#12 Long Beach State
#4 Virginia
#1 Ohio State
W 121–86
W 77–74
L 84–85
2008 #2 Round of 64
Round of 32
Sweet Sixteen
#15 American
#7 Butler
#3 Louisville
W 72–57
W 76–71 OT
L 60–79
2009 #9 Round of 64 #8 Oklahoma State L 75–77
2010 #6 Round of 64
Round of 32
Sweet Sixteen
Elite Eight
#11 San Diego State
#14 Ohio
#2 Ohio State
#5 Michigan State
W 62–59
W 83–68
W 76–73
L 69–70
2011 #9 Round of 64 #8 Michigan L 45–75
2014 #11 First Four
Round of 64
Round of 32
Sweet Sixteen
#11 Iowa
#6 Massachusetts
#14 Mercer
#2 Michigan
W 78–65 OT
W 86–67
W 83–63
L 71–73

NIT results[edit]

The Volunteers have appeared in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) 13 times. Their combined record is 13–13.

Year Round Opponent Result
1945 Quarterfinals Rhode Island L 44–51
1969 First Round
3rd Place Game
W 67–51
W 75–64
L 58–63
W 64–52
1971 First Round
St. John's
W 84–83
L 64–78
1984 First Round
Saint Peter's
Virginia Tech
W 54–40
W 68–66
L 68–72
1985 First Round
3rd Place Game
Tennessee Tech
Southwestern Louisiana
W 65–62
W 73–72
W 61–54
L 67–74
W 100–84
1988 First Round Middle Tennessee L 80–85
1990 First Round
Second Round
W 73–71
L 85–89
1992 First Round
Second Round
W 71–68
L 52–77
1996 First Round College of Charleston L 49–55
2003 First Round Georgetown L 60–70
2004 Opening Round George Mason L 55–58
2012 First Round
Second Rounds
Savannah State
Middle Tennessee
W 65–51
L 64–71
2013 First Round Mercer L 67–75

Tennessee's All-Americans[edit]

Player Position Year(s) Selectors
Harry Anderson Center 1936 Converse Yearbook
Bernie Mehen Forward 1940 Converse Yearbook
Gilbert Huffman Guard 1941 Converse Yearbook
Richard Mehen Forward 1942 Pic Magazine
Paul "Lefty" Walther (2) Forward 1945, 1949 Don Dunphy, The Sporting News
Garland "Mule" O'Shields Guard 1946 Helms Athletic Foundation
Ed Weiner Forward 1955 Converse Yearbook
Gene Tormohlen Center 1959 Converse Yearbook
Danny Schultz Guard 1964 Converse Yearbook
A.W. Davis Guard 1965 Converse Yearbook, Helms Athletic Foundation, United States Basketball Writers Association, Associated Press, UPI
Austin "Red" Robbins Center 1966 Helms Athletic Foundation
Ron Widby Forward 1967 Helms Athletic Foundation, Associated Press, Converse Yearbook, UPI
Tom Boerwinkle Center 1968 Helms Athletic Foundation
Bill Justus Guard 1969 Helms Athletic Foundation
Jimmy England Guard 1971 Helms Athletic Foundation, Basketball News
Bernard King (3) Forward 1975, 1976, 1977 Converse Yearbook, Helms Athletic Foundation, United States Basketball Writers Association, Associated Press, UPI, NCAA, Basketball Weekly, NACB, The Sporting News
Ernie Grunfeld (2) Forward 1976, 1977 Converse Yearbook, Helms Athletic Foundation, United States Basketball Writers Association, Associated Press, UPI, NACB, The Sporting News, John R. Wooden Award
Reggie Johnson (2) Center 1979, 1980 Helms Athletic Foundation, Converse Yearbook
Howard Wood Center 1981 Converse Yearbook
Dale Ellis (2) Forward 1982, 1983 Helms Athletic Foundation, Converse Yearbook, NACB, United States Basketball Writers Association, Associated Press, Basketball Times, Basketball Weekly, The Sporting News, John R. Wooden Award, NCAA
Tony White Guard 1987 Associated Press, UPI
Allan Houston Guard 1992, 1993 The Sporting News, Associated Press, NACB
Ron Slay Forward 2003 Associated Press
Chris Lofton (3) Guard 2006, 2007, 2008 John R. Wooden Award, The Sporting News, NCAA, Associated Press, Basketball Times, NACB, United States Basketball Writers Association

: First Team All-American

Retired jerseys[edit]

Retired Basketball Jerseys









  1. ^ http://espn.go.com/nba/player/_/id/3277/c.j.-watson
  2. ^ Beth Rucker,Tennessee Fires Coach Bruce Pearl, Associated Press via NBCSports.MSNBC.com, March 21, 2011
  3. ^ http://www.cbssports.com/collegebasketball/eye-on-college-basketball/24527720/tennessees-cuonzo-martin-will-be-californias-next-head-coach
  4. ^ Tennessee Volunteers hire Southern Miss Coach Donnie Tyndall - ESPN
  5. ^ http://247sports.com/Bolt/Rick-Barnes-expected-to-land-at-Tennessee-36504219
  6. ^ "Tennessee Vols All-Americas" (PDF). Tennessee Vols. Retrieved 2015-01-09. 
  7. ^ UTSports,[1], UTsports Number 53 Jersey retired, February 13th, 2007
  8. ^ UTSports,[2], UTsports Number 22 Jersey retired, March 2nd, 2008
  9. ^ UTSports,[3], UTsports Number 20 Jersey retired, March 6th, 2011
  10. ^ UTSports,[4], UTsports Dale Ellis Bio
  11. ^ UTSports,[5], UTsports Number 14 Jersey retired ceremony, March 1st, 2014

External links[edit]