John Ward is speaker

John Ward, the legendary "Voice of the Vols" for three decades, will speak at Wednesday's meeting of the Big Orange Tipoff Club at Calhoun's on the River.

Ward, whose colorful delivery on radio broadcasts made him a beloved Tennessee icon, is the first of seven special guest speakers lined up this winter to address the Tipoff Club, the primary booster organization for University of Tennessee men's and women's basketball.

The others are:

Thursday, Jan. 19: UT men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl. The Vol skipper will speak mere hours after returning from a huge road game at Memphis.

Wednesday, Jan. 25: Jennifer Azzi, former Oak Ridge star and Stanford All-American

Wednesday, Feb. 1: Former UT men's coach Don DeVoe. He'll be speaking hours before the Vols host Vanderbilt.

Wednesday, Feb. 8: Lady Vol coach Pat Summitt

Wednesday, Feb. 15: Former Auburn coach Sonny Smith (UT hosts Auburn that evening).

Wednesday, Feb. 22: Mike DeCourcy, senior basketball editor for The Sporting News and Fox Sports

All of the meetings will feature buffet luncheons beginning at 11:30 a.m.

A "special event" is scheduled for 5:30 p.m., on Wednesday, March 1, the night the Tennessee men host Kentucky on Senior Night in the regular-season finale. Reportedly, a "nationally-known basketball celebrity" will be speaking.

Individual season memberships for the Tipoff Club cost $60, with a $10 discount for senior citizens. Spouses of members are admitted free. In addition, corporate memberships, which include all members of a firm, are offered at $250.

Membership applications are available by calling club president Lloyd Richardson, captain of the 1972 Vols and former president of the UT Letterman's Club, at 588-5433, by faxing requests to 588-2083, by e-mailing them to , or by visiting the website at .

All former UT men's and women's basketball lettermen, former Orange Tie Club members, and Knoxville Quarterback Club members are invited to attend and join. Legendary former Vol coach Ray Mears is an Honorary Member and is expected to attend many of the luncheons.

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