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Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology Hosts First Tamika Catchings Youth Basketball Clinic

Former Lady Vol Tamika Catchings and 12 guest coaches from around the region put on a two hour basketball clinic for 50 children between the ages 8 and 15. (Photo by Shawn Poynter)

One of the things former Lady Vol basketball standout Tamika Catchings enjoys the most is giving back to her community. On April 7, Catchings and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology hosted the first Tamika Catchings Youth Basketball Clinic at the Regal Teen Center of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Tennessee Valley in Knoxville.

Catchings, a WNBA standout and four-time USA Basketball Olympic gold medalist, along with 12 guest coaches from around the region, put on a two-hour clinic for 50 boys and girls between the ages of 8 and 15.

Lady Vols basketball coach Holly Warlick and UT President Emeritus Joe Johnson purchased this youth basketball clinic during an auction at the department’s “Dinner with Tamika Catchings” event last fall. That event raised $83,000 for the Tamika Catchings Endowed Scholarship Fund and the Tamika Catchings Amplification Assistance Fund.

Catchings attentively instructs clinic participants. (Photo by Shawn Poynter)

Catchings was born with hearing loss and shared her story of success and inspiration during last fall’s event. She credited the Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology for helping her during college. Catchings encouraged attendees to “Dream BIG, Believe, Inspire, and Seek Greatness.”

The motto served as the theme for the basketball clinic. Half the participants were from the Boys and Girls Clubs, approximately 10 were audiology and speech pathology patients, and the remainder included children from around the region, who love basketball and wanted to meet Catchings.

“We had many volunteers to help with implementation of the event, including several of our ASP Community Development Board members,” said Ashley Harkrider, PhD, chair and professor in the Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology. “Julie Beeler, who is the program liaison for our department, worked particularly hard coordinating all the details for the clinic, and Michelle Nixon, director of alumni programs at UTHSC, supported us as well. I believe Tamika was very pleased and indicated to me that she wanted to do another event and another clinic next year. She is the perfect role model and spokesperson for our department, so I am thrilled.”