Via Media Relations
ATLANTA – When Al Wilson speaks, people listen. It was that way when he was the Vols’ captain during the 1998 national championship run, and it’s that way today.
The former Tennessee All-America linebacker was on hand at the latest Big Orange Caravan event on Tuesday night at SunTrust Park.
Wilson spoke at the event, and his message was clear: He’s excited for this fall and the direction Tennessee football is headed.
Inside the Atlanta Braves’ stadium, Wilson said the hires of Director of Athletics Phillip Fulmer and head football coach Jeremy Pruitt are home runs.
“Coach Fulmer is my guy,” said Wilson, who played for Fulmer from 1995 to 1998. “We’ve been through a lot together over the years and it’s great to see him where he is now, having an opportunity to become the athletic director and to get this program back to where it’s supposed to be. I’m super excited for Coach.”
Wilson was the heart and soul of the 1998 Tennessee team, registering 77 tackles and four sacks despite missing three games due to injury. He was a first round pick by the Denver Broncos in 1999 and went to five Pro Bowls over eight seasons.
He now lives in the Atlanta area and visited with Pruitt for the first time at Tuesday’s event.
“I’m super excited for the way he’s trying to bring Tennessee football back and the direction in which he’s going,” Wilson said. “He’s getting some good quality players to come in, and at the end of the day that’s what we want.”
Fellow 1998 national champion Fred White was also in attendance at SunTrust Park in addition to several former Tennessee football players. Wilson and White posed for photos with fans and signed autographs throughout the event.
“I can’t believe it’s been 20 years since we had a chance to win that national championship, but I’ll tell you, it’s a good feeling to know that Tennessee fans still adore and have love for what we did 20 years ago,” Wilson said.
Men’s basketball coach Rick Barnes and women’s basketball coach Holly Warlick joined Fulmer and Pruitt at SunTrust Park, posing for photos with fans, signing autographs and participating in a Q & A program with Bob Kesling to cap the night.
The UT Knoxville Office of Alumni Affairs awarded a scholarship to Noah White during what was another fun event for fans and alumni.
The Big Orange Caravan wraps up for 2018 on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. in the Tri-Cities at the Meadowview Conference Resort and Convention Center in Kingsport, Tenn.
Registration for all stops is open at BigOrangeCaravan.com.
TRI-CITIES BIG ORANGE CARAVAN INFORMATION
Date: Thursday, May 24
Time: 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. ET
Venue: Meadowview Conference Resort and Convention Center in Kingsport
Address: 1901 Meadowview Pkwy, Kingsport, TN 37660