Big names help UTC celebrate US Amateur champ Steven Fox
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga welcomed the state's biggest names to campus Thursday to celebrate the greatest individual athletic achievement in the school's history.
Governor Bill Haslam, Senator Bob Corker and University of Tennessee President Dr. Joe DiPietro were among the special guests who took time to honor Mocs' senior and reigning U.S. Amateur champion Steven Fox.
Standing beside the two-foot tall Havemayer Trophy, each dignitary praised how well the Hendersonville native handled himself on the big stage, as well as thanked him for represented the state and UTC in such a positive manner on national television.
"The first name I see on this trophy said 1896," said Governor Haslam. "There's some huge names on there like Tiger Woods, Justin Leanord and Mark O'Meara. I could go on and on. That says a little bit about what a big deal this is, and Steven, we are all so proud of you."
The celebration was highlighted by plenty of memorable moments, including Corker's plea to UTC faculty to allow Fox to ease his way through his senior year.
"Chancellor, coaches and teachers, I'll remind you Steven has unlimited practice rounds at Augusta National between now and The Masters, so I urge you to let him out of every class," Corker cracked.
UTC's interim athletic director Laura Herron and chancellor Dr. Roger Brown helped introduce each guest, each taking the opportunity to slip in a few one-liners of their one.
"I've been the interim athletic director for four weeks and I've already got a national championship," Herron said with a smile.
Added Brown, "Now Steven, remember you don't get the governor and senator every time you win."
Fox stepped up to the microphone last to offer a heartfelt thanks to UTC's many coaches, professors, donors and faculty members that helped him along the way, calling it "an honor" to wear the Mocs' "Power C." He became a little emotional near the end while thanking his parents and two sisters, who were all in attendance at the event.
"Now to my family," Fox said before choking up. "I'll try not to cry. My mom and dad, thank you for what you do. Without you I couldn't be here today. My sisters have been my PR person and my PR assistant. They've been awesome, and without them this wouldn't be possible.
"This is an unreal experience for me. My life has changed, and my family's life as well. I just want to thank everyone who is here today and everyone who has supported me the last few years and hopefully the next few years as well."