Monthly Archives: June 2015

It’s like she never left

Never thought I’d see Alyssia Brewer again but the former Lady Vols post player strolled into Smokey Mountain Athletics Saturday morning with former teammate Kelley Cain for the grand opening of a facility being renovated by Lady Vols alums Cait McMahan and Alexis Hornbuckle.

Even more surprising, it seemed like Brewer never left.

“Complete love,” she said in reference to her UT career. “Three years here. That’s a long time.”

She said a mouthful, considering how her career ended. Then-UT coach Pat Summitt announced on the eve of Brewer’s senior season in 2011 that she no longer was part of the team. The announcement was stunning. The timing seemed harsh. She completed the fall semester and then transferred to UCLA.

Brewer bases her feeling on Cain, her other former teammates and their “unbreakable bond.”

“I got sisters for life out of that,” said Brewer, who played professionally in Poland last season.

Brewer said that she and her sisters convene regularly in a group chat on social media. They’ve talked about the university’s decision to constrict use of the Lady Vols nickname and logo to basketball beginning July 1. In the process, Brewer formed an opinion that I referenced in an online story and today’s editions of the News Sentinel.

“I don’t agree with it,” she said, “regardless of whether I ended my tenure here or not.”




Following Catchings’ lead

As the Indiana Fever’s president and general manager, Kelly Krauskopf has watched the entirety of Tamika Catchings’ WNBA career. Krauskopf has witnessed the most change in terms of Catchings’ leadership.

“Initially, she sort of shied away from the leadership role,” Krauskopf said. “She just wanted to play. The next phase was holding teammates accountable and having an expectation for them.”

Catchings remembered coming to the University of Tennessee as a freshman and following the lead of veteran players Chamique Holdsclaw and Kellie Jolly. She didn’t have that luxury with the Fever. After missing her first season in 2001 while recovering from a knee injury, she debuted essentially as the team’s star player. The distinction conferred more responsibility.

“I’ve had to learn how to be a leader, not just by example but by being vocal,” Catchings said.

Her non-basketball pursuits have helped in this regard. She has her own foundation and has been in great demand for speaking engagements and public appearances. Children benefit from her foundation’s mentoring mission. Audiences want to hear what she has to say.

“The correlation is there,” she said. “In every aspect, that’s what’s expected of me. At the end of the day, people expect me to lead.”