Tennessee athletic director John Currie wrote in a letter to fans on Wednesday that three Big Orange Caravan stops for this year are being planned “immediately” and that the Nashville All-Sports Picnic, set for July 10, will now be considered the midstate’s caravan stop.
Other stops are being planned for Memphis and Chattanooga, with “dates we will announce soon.” When Currie took over as athletic director on April 1, no plans for the 2017 BOC had been made.
“When I arrived to officially start my new duties 19 days ago, I learned that we didn’t yet have any caravan events planned for 2017,” Currie said. “Certainly the nature and purpose of the traditional “spring tour” at universities all over the country has evolved and changed – especially with instant (24/7, right?) access to information and news that used to only be available at live events, year-round recruiting demands on our coaches and, of course, the multiple activities (youth sports, etc.) which fill many family calendars.
“However, be assured that we are committed to Tennessee Athletics being visible and accessible to our fans throughout Big Orange Country, and I appreciate our staff working hard over the last two weeks to plan three 2017 BOC events immediately, including the traditional Nashville All-Sports Picnic, now set for July 10, along with a return to Memphis and a Chattanooga event on dates we will announce soon.”
The caravan made five stops last year, including one in Atlanta, at the College Football Hall of Fame, and the Tri-Cities, at Bristol Motor Speedway.
In the past, the Nashville All-Sports Picnic in July and the Big Orange Caravan stop in Nashville have been separate events.
“One of our department priorities for the 2017-18 year will be to develop and implement a revitalized and modernized 2018 Big Orange Caravan,” Currie wrote, “which will remain a collaborative effort with UT’s award-winning national alumni association, along with input from our fans.”
Tennessee associate athletic director for communication Ryan Robinson told the Knoxville News Sentinel’s Mike Strange on Tuesday that the Big Orange Caravan is “all going to take place,” just that it was “a matter of time of locking up schedules.”
“It’s just kind of a late start,” Robinson said.