Lady Vols coach speaks to Boys and Girls Club
The Boys and Girls Club of the Smoky Mountains raised enough money to sponsor 15 children for a year Thursday night at the club's annual Steak and Burger Dinner at the Holiday Inn Pigeon Forge Convention Center.
This year's dinner, which was sponsored by Lisega, brought 10 children from each branch of the club to interact with guests and hear an inspirational message from University of Tennessee Women's Basketball Coach Holly Warlick.
As is custom, the children were served steak while adults dined on hamburgers, all provided by the Texas Roadhouse.
The night started with a brief introduction from Mark Ross, the club's chief professional officer, before members of the club provided the night's entertainment.
Kodak club member Breonna Baisden, who attends Catlettsburg Elementary School, sung Miley Cyrus' "The Climb," while Abigail Hood, a member of the Pigeon Forge branch that attends Pigeon Forge Elementary, performed Rascal Flats' "Stand."
After the girls' performances, Warlick spoke to the crowd about her time as the Lady Vols coach, her mentor and predecessor Pat Summitt and her keys to success.
Sharing those keys specifically with the children in attendance, Warlick stressed the value in hard work, a positive attitude, passion and education.
- Education — "Get your degree," Warlick said. "Your degree makes sure that you're a disciplined person. You've got to be great student. You don't need to be a good student, you need to be a great student. And that teaches you discipline."
- Hard work — "Don't do something if you're not going to work hard with it," the coach said. "Anything you do — dancing, music, art, anything. Make sure you do it as hard as you can do it. I tell our players, 'I'm not expecting you to be great every night, but my expectation is, you play hard all the time. When you play hard, great things will happen.'
- Positive attitude — "I can't tell you how many kids I go and watch … I watch the bench and I watch how a kid reacts when their coach is talking to them, I watch how they talk to their parents, do they listen to their parents?" she said, stating a negative attitude was a major turn-off when recruiting a new Lady Vol. "You've got to treat people how you want to be treated."
- Passion. "Everything you do, do it with a passion," Warlick said. "If you don't do it with a passion, don't do it."
Warlick also had a message for the adults in attendance.
"What are you all going to do when you leave here tonight?" she questioned. "Do we just get up and we think our job is done? … We've got to continue to be ambassadors for these young people. We've got to be leaders, we've got to be mentors, we got to be teachers. We've got to continue grooming them to where we want them to grow.
"These guys are the future in this community," she said, gesturing toward the children. "They're the future in this state, and in our country. So we've got to invest, not only on the financial side, but we've got to give (our time), so these kids have an opportunity to do what they want to do."