Bradshaw still a star for Vols fans

Friday, July 20, 2007 at 12:57am

His playing days may have ended four months ago, but Dane Bradshaw is probably busier now than he ever was during March Madness.

The former Tennessee basketball player, whose breakneck style of play helped him win over Volunteers fans despite his lack of speed and scoring ability, maintains a schedule that’s more hectic than ever before.

Here’s a quick overview of what Bradshaw has been up to since his UT playing career came to an end:

* Bradshaw is a published author as his book, Vertical Leap: Inside the Rise of Tennessee Basketball, was published earlier this summer. Since then, Bradshaw has been on the bookstore circuit around the state, including stops in Franklin and Nashville last week.

* Bradshaw is also preparing for a professional playing career. He’ll begin his career overseas playing in Holland. While he trains for his pro career, Bradshaw is finishing up classes at UT.

* On July 4, Bradshaw took a zipline down the 650-foot Sunsphere in Knoxville to help the city pay homage to the 1982 World’s Fair.

From published author, to college graduate, to professional basketball player to statewide celebrity, it’s clear Bradshaw made the most of his stay in Knoxville.

And in light of the fact that the University of Tennessee gave him so many opportunities, Bradshaw has promised to give back to the school as much as he can. To that end, he’ll be in Nashville next week for the 41st Davidson County UT Alumni Sports Picnic, which takes place July 26 at Lipscomb’s Allen Arena.

“The university has done so much for me and the fans have as well,” Bradshaw said. “I’ve really enjoyed getting out and doing speaking engagements and meet-and-greet type things. You appreciate having a chance to interact, shake hands and meet people. It’s been great.”

Bradshaw will be one of several guest speakers at the picnic, which will also feature women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt fresh off her seventh national championship, and football coach Phillip Fulmer.

Men’s basketball coach Bruce Pearl is unable to attend because he’ll be on the road recruiting.

The fact Bradshaw will be speaking alongside Summitt and Fulmer speaks to his popularity with UT supporters. UT Davidson County Alumni president Joe Fareed said he hopes this year’s picnic is the best-attended yet.

“One thing is, if you look at men’s basketball, it’s on a huge upswing,” Fareed said. “There’s so much more excitement than there has been in almost 30 years. Unfortunately, coach Pearl won’t be able to attend, but we’re happy to have Dane come and speak about the program.”

Tickets for the event are $15, which includes lunch and the chance to hear the guest speakers. Additionally, a silent auction including items such as tickets to the UT-Southern Miss football game and an Alan Jackson and Josh Turner autographed guitar will be available.

For more information, visit www.utalumni.com/nashville. A significant portion of the proceeds from the picnic will go towards the UT Davidson County Scholarship Fund.

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