KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A new class will be inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. It is one of the highest honors for any player, coach, contributor, or official in the sport. Among the newest names added is Lady Vol legend Tamika Catchings.
“It’s huge. Just to be able to be in a class with so many amazing young women and men that have come before me. But I think for me the biggest thing is obviously coming back to Tennessee and coming back to UT and being able to do it with an amazing class but back at home in Knoxville, I’m just really looking forward to it,” Catchings said.
And what makes it even more surreal is that her name, picture and jersey will now be enshrined at the very place where she used to be just a student intern. Talk about a full-circle moment.
“I was a student on campus and ended up having my first real job at the hall. So to be able to walk those halls back then, giving tours and taking tickets and all that stuff, and now you just fast forward, time just went by so fast,” she said.
That time has been filled with accomplishment. Catchings is a four-time Olympic gold medalist and played 15 seasons with the WNBA – all with the Indiana Fever. It’s where she now serves as Vice President of Basketball Operations and General Manager.
Plus, she’s one of the best athletes to wear Orange and White. It’s a season of her life filled with great memories, from winning a national championship to playing for Pat Summitt.
“I just remember from the first time that I saw her as a little girl in 8th grade to having the opportunity to have her in my living room during the recruiting process, to actually stepping foot on campus as a student-athlete,” Catchings said. “She was bigger than life… From a player’s standpoint, that coach that you wanted to play for.”
Catchings is equally as gracious as she is talented. She said she’s thankful for the greats that came before her, as she solidifies her place among them.
“I’m thankful for the opportunity. I’m excited about this weekend and being reunited with some players that I played with, some of my friends, coaches, a lot of people that will be there in support. Knoxville they always say it’s the mecca of basketball and I’m definitely excited to come back,” said Catchings.
The 2021 Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony is happening Saturday, Aug. 21 at the Tennessee Theatre. Related events leading up to the ceremony will get underway Thursday.