KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (UT) -- Three former University of Tennessee student-athletes have earned the honor of having their jerseys retired based on a new criteria for the honor established by the school.
Former Lady Vol softball ace Monica Abbott (#7), ex-Vol basketball great Dale Ellis (#14) and Lady Vol basketball star Candace Parker (#3) will all have their numbers honored over the next year.
Abbott will be honored before Tennessee's game vs. Texas A&M on March 23, 2013 at Sherri Parker Lee Stadium. That game is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. Ellis and Parker will each be honored with ceremonies to occur before a game during their respective teams' seasons in 2013-14.
Abbott pitched the Tennessee softball team to three straight College World Series appearances between 2004 and '07, finishing with a 189-34 record and an 0.79 ERA while compiling 112 shutouts, 2,440 strikeouts, 23 no-hitters, six perfect games, and 125 games of 10-plus strikeouts in 253 appearances. The four-time All-American and three-time SEC Pitcher of the Year holds the NCAA Division I career record for wins, shutouts, strikeouts, starts (206), innings pitched (1,448) and appearances and led Division I in victories in all four seasons with the Lady Vols.
A native of Marietta, Ga., Ellis was twice named SEC Player of the Year while playing for the Vols and head coach Don DeVoe from 1980-83. The 6-7, 205-pound forward averaged 7.1 points as a freshman in 1979-80, and that average rose to 17.7 ppg, 21.2 ppg and finally 22.6 ppg during his senior campaign in 1982-83. His 2,065 total points ranked third in program history at the conclusion of his UT career, and he currently ranks sixth on the school's all-time scoring list.
Parker, from Naperville, Ill., led Tennessee to consecutive national championships in 2007 and 2008 and ranks third on the UT career list with 2,137 points scored in only three seasons (2005-06 through 2007-08). The three-time All-American and 2008 national player of the year averaged 19.4 points and 8.8 rebounds per game and is the Lady Vols' career and single-season record holder in free throws made and the career record holder for blocked shots.
The following are the criteria by which former student-athletes will be eligible for the honor of jersey retirement at the University of Tennessee:
• The student-athlete must have demonstrated outstanding character, integrity, and commitment to the University of Tennessee during his/her athletic career.
• Any student-athlete under consideration must have graduated or have left the University in good academic standing, which would have made them eligible to return and compete.
• Former student-athletes are eligible for this honor five years after exhausting their eligibility. If they left school early without exhausting their eligibility, they are eligible eight years after leaving UT.
• Extenuating circumstances may be considered by the committee, and modifications of the policy may be considered under such circumstances by mutual agreement of the Faculty Athletics Representative and the Vice Chancellor/Director of Athletics.
A student-athlete will be eligible for consideration if they achieve three of the five criteria listed below:
• SEC Player of the Year
• National Award (Player of the Year, Sullivan, or similar honor)
• First-Team All-American
• Career record holder in a significant category (as determined by the committee) at the UT, SEC, or national level upon completion of career
• National championship during tenure
There is a nominating committee that will determine when an individual will be honored with a retired jersey, and any member of the committee can bring a nomination.
The honor of jersey retirement shall be bestowed to an individual only by unanimous vote of the nominating committee. The committee shall also have the ability based on accomplishments/impact at UT (UT Personnel only) to honor non-student-athletes in a similar manner.
Information provided by UT Sports Media Relations and UTSports.com.