Chattanooga is first stop in 2018 Big Orange Caravan

Chattanooga is first stop in 2018 Big Orange Caravan

April 28th, 2018 by David Cobb in Sports - College

UT mens basketball coach Rick Barnes (left) signs autographs. The University of Tennessee Big Orange Caravan rolled into town at the Chattanoogan on Thursday May 5, 2016.

Photo by Robin Rudd /Times Free Press.

Updated at 11:33 p.m. on Saturday, April 28, 2018.

KNOXVILLE — Last year's Big Orange Caravan featured a revamped, casual format but just three stops as opposed to the event's traditional five dates.

This year's event will marry the new format with the traditional number of stops while giving fans a chance to meet a pair of high-profile additions to the Tennessee athletics family.

First-year athletic director Phillip Fulmer and first-year football coach Jeremy Pruitt are scheduled to headline the caravan, which makes its first of five stops at the First Tennessee Pavilion in Chattanooga on May 10, starting at 5:30 p.m.

"I always genuinely enjoyed engaging with our passionate Tennessee fans during the Big Orange Caravan when I was the football coach, and I'm really looking forward to hitting the road again in my new role as AD," Fulmer said in an announcement of the tour.

The caravan will be in Memphis on May 15, in Nashville on May 17, in Atlanta on May 22 and in Kingsport on May 24. Online pre-registration is $5 up to three days before each stop or $10 at the door. Students and youth are free.

The future of the caravan came into question last year under then-athletic director John Currie, who wrote in a letter to fans that he learned last April that no caravan events had been planned for 2017.

For years the format of the event was a dinner and typically cost $25 to $35 per person. Last year's planning lapse led to just three events being staged for 2017, and the dinner format was abandoned in favor of a style that featured music, an on-stage discussion with coaches, an autograph session and games.

The university also is using the caravan as a student recruitment tool with representatives from the admissions office setting up to share information with potential students.

"We are excited to be part of the Big Orange Caravan again this year and look forward to engaging with future Vols and their families," Fabrizio D'Aloisio, assistant vice provost for enrollment management and director of undergraduate admissions, said in the announcement.

Men's basketball coach Rick Barnes and women's basketball coach Holly Warlick also are expected to appear at several of this year's stops, which again will feature question-and-answer sessions hosted by Tennessee's radio play-by-play announcer Bob Kesling.

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