KNOXVILLE —The Lady Volunteers nickname, logo and brand are coming back for all the women's sports teams at the University of Tennessee that want to use it.
Tennessee athletic director John Currie made the announcement in a Thursday afternoon press conference, bringing resolution to a branding saga that began under his predecessor.
Beginning in the 2018-19 year, Currie said women's teams at Tennessee will have Lady Vols available in their uniform selections.
Under previous athletic director Dave Hart, Tennessee announced a "branding restructure" in November 2014 that turned all the "Lady Volunteers" sports teams, except basketball, into the "Volunteers." The move took effect with the 2015-16 academic year and coincided with the university's transition from Adidas to Nike as its apparel provider.
The athletic department marketed the decision under a "One Tennessee" premise, but it angered many who valued the tradition of the Lady Vols nickname, logo and signature baby blue color.
"The Lady Vol name is an important tradition for followers of all women's sports at UT," one fan wrote to John Currie earlier this year. "Its abrupt removal, without good reason, has been a great disappointment to thousands of fans. We would be forever grateful if you would bring it back."
Currie opened the "Hey John" email portal as a direct line of communication between himself and fans soon after he took over for Hart earlier this year. The Times Free Press reviewed the first week of "Hey John" emails through a public records request earlier this year. The majority of them centered on the Lady Vols branding issue.
Asked frequently over the last several months about the matter, Currie said repeatedly that he was listening to viewpoints from all sides.
"When you have a lot of different people with a lot of different perspectives, you have to be deliberate about making sure you've heard folks and been thoughtful," Currie told the Times Free Press in May. "We're going to continue with that process."
This is a developing story. See Friday's Times Free Press for more.