Knoxville Mayor Sets Up AAU Junior Olympic Games 'Dream Team'
January 30, 2007 - Coaches Bruce Pearl and Pat Summitt are pairing up to encourage the residents of Knoxville to volunteer for one of the largest events taking place in Knoxville this year. Today, during a press conference at the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame, Pearl, Summitt, Gloria Ray, President and CEO of the Knoxville Tourism & Sports Corporation (KTSC), Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam and Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale kicked off a campaign to create an organization of more than 3,500 volunteers.
"The Dream Team," Knoxville's newest volunteer organization, was designed to assist with the 2007 Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Junior Olympic Games, an 11-day event that will take place July 25 through Aug. 4, 2007. Pearl and Summitt have pledged their time and support to become the official "co-head coaches" of Knoxville's Dream Team.
This year's AAU Junior Olympic Games will bring more than 17,000 athletes and 20,000 coaches, family members and spectators to the Knoxville area. Twenty-two sports from taekwondo to baseball and 29 venues around the Knoxville/Knox County area will be represented at the event.
"Knoxville, we're looking for 3,500 volunteers. By joining the Dream Team, you will be helping Knoxville put its best foot forward by showing the competitors and their families that our community truly cares about their event," said Pearl.
Summitt challenged the corporate community in Knoxville, adding, "Whether you are a large corporation, a small private business or anywhere in between, we need your people to help us. I want to encourage all local business leaders and owners to make your employees available to volunteer during the 2007 AAU Junior Olympic Games," said Summitt.
"There is a lot of work to be done between now and July 25, but no task is more important than the one that we begin today... the Dream Team volunteer program," said KTSC'S Ray. The KTSC is the organization responsible for producing the event.
Coach Pat Summitt, Mayor Mike Ragsdale, Coach Bruce Pearl, Mayor Bill Haslam
The latest members of the community to be recruited for the Dream Team by Pearl and Summitt are City of Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam and Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale.
"This is definitely a great day for me as I'm finally getting to fulfill my dream of getting to play on a team for Bruce and Pat," Haslam said of his recruitment.
"Knox County is a perfect place for the 2007 AAU Junior Olympic Games. As you know, Knox County has many assets, great sports venues and hotels, great corporate support and a great spirit of community," said Ragsdale.
Those who wish to volunteer for the 2007 AAU Junior Olympic Games may do so online at www.knoxville.org or by calling the Dream Team recruitment hotline at (865) 342-9113. For more information on the 2007 AAU Junior Olympic Games, visit www.aaujogames.com.
Officials at the KTSC estimate that the 2007 AAU Junior Olympic Games will bring approximately $30.7 million of economic impact to the Knoxville/Knox County community.
The AAU Junior Olympic Games is known as the largest national multi-sport event for youth in the United States and has become the showcase event of the AAU Sports Program. The AAU Junior Olympic Games have been conducted in 19 states and 29 cities across the country. The event's popularity has exploded to now represent all 50 states.
This event has previously been held in Knoxville in 1968, 1970, 1993 and 2002, making 2007 the fifth year the city will play host. The state of Tennessee has hosted the event more times than any other state in the nation. The AAU is one of the largest, non-profit, volunteer sports organizations in the country.
A multi-sport organization, the AAU is dedicated exclusively to the promotion and development of amateur sports and physical fitness programs for all ages.