If you watched the 2012 Olympics this summer you may have seen CEHHS alumnae and former Lady Vol Tamika Catchings pulling down rebounds and helping lead the US women’s basketball team to a gold medal victory in the 2012 games.
The three-time Olympic gold medalist earned a bachelor’s degree in sport management, finishing half a semester ahead of her class. She completed her master’s degree in sports management
Catchings was a freshman the year that Pat Summitt’s Lady Vols went undefeated and brought home the 1998 national championship. She played 127 games for the Lady Vols, was UT’s second four-time All-American player, scored a total of 2,113 points, and had a rebound record of 1,004. Catchings finished her time at UT with a career second all-time high in steals with 311 and 140 blocked shots. A 2001 SEC Academic All-SEC honoree, Catchings also was honored the same year with an ESPY award as the College Women’s Basketball Player of the Year.
Catchings was drafted by the Women’s National Basketball Association’s (WNBA) Indiana Fever in 2001 but had to sit out her first season due to injury. She was named Rookie of the Year in 2002 and in 2011 she was named the league’s MVP and one of the top fifteen players in WNBA history.
Off the court, Catchings is practicing the principals she learned at CEHHS with the creation of her Catch the Stars Foundation, which works to empower youth to achieve their dreams by providing goal-setting programs that promote literacy, fitness, and mentoring.
“Tamika is one of the most decorated Vols in our rich sports tradition and history,” says Fritz Polite, CEHHS director of Outreach and Global Engagement. “What separates her from so many others is how she has utilized the platform of sport to impact positive social change. She is just as accomplished off the court with her Catch the Stars Foundation and various other youth programs as she has been on the court. She is the ultimate servant mentor leader.”