Mike Griffith / SEC Country
Tennessee's Lady Vols logo returned on Thursday, as evidenced by this picture from the Ray and Lucy Hand Digital Studio, site of a press conference on Sept. 14, 2017.

WATCH: Tennessee restores Lady Vols brand, ‘Pat Summitt is smiling in heaven’


Tennessee athletic department press conference on Lady Vols logo and brand

Posted by Mike Griffith on Thursday, September 14, 2017

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Lady Vols brand and logo is back at the University of Tennessee, per Thursday’s announcement by UT athletic director John Currie.

“Pat Summitt is smiling in heaven,” said Joan Cronan, who was the women’s athletic director at Tennessee between 1983 to 2012. “The Lady Vols brand is a way to honor the tradition and the legacy of women’s athletics at Tennessee and move forward.

“What I take away from this is the Lady Vol brand is back, and we have freedom to do what is right.”

Summitt, who built the Lady Vols brand during her Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame career at Tennessee, passed away on June 28, 2016 at the age of 64 as a result of complications from Alzheimer’s disease.

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University of Tennessee chancellor Beverly Davenport said on Thursday she knew the removal of the Lady Vols brand and logo for female sports — other than UT women’s basketball — was going to be one of the first issues for her to handle.

“I knew it when I was still living in Cincinnati and a package arrived … and it was full not only with petitions, but press clippings, full of stories about the Lady Vols,” said Davenport, who was officially announced as chancellor in December of 2016 before moving to Knoxville and officially taking office on Feb. 15, 2017.

“I knew from Day One that this was an issue, and I knew during my interview for the position.”

Former Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart had orchestrated the unpopular transition away from the Lady Vols name and logo in November 2014, and it took effect on July 1, 2015, coinciding with UT’s move from Adidas to Nike.

Currie made it clear on Tuesday that the Power T remains “the official mark of the University of Tennessee,” but each female sports team has the freedom to use the Lady Vols logo and light blue color scheme should they choose.

Currie made it clear last summer that he gives all of his coaches the freedom to choose their uniform colors and combinations when asked if he would entertain the football team wearing black as an alternate color.

Officially, Tennessee issued a release stating that the “easures to restore the prominence of Tennessee’s Lady Vol presence include:”

• Reaffirming a commitment to restore visibility of the Lady Vols name, logo and brand.

• Continuing to honor and celebrate UT’s legacy of incredible national leadership and accomplishments in women’s athletics.

Affirming the freedom for our student-athletes to refer to themselves, and their teams, as “Lady Vols” while competing under the official mark of the university – the “Power T.”

• Restoring Lady Vol branding and signage to athletic facilities such as Sherri Parker Lee Stadium and Regal Stadium.

• Providing apparel options that include Lady Vols branding and color scheme.

“It’s as the chancellor says, we ride by her (statue) every day, and we feel a sense of accountability to ensure that we’re moving forward,” Currie said. “One of the things (Summitt) was incredibly passionate for and helped build support for was for all of our student athletes.

“I believe that the exciting thing about this day is we can properly recognize what the Lady Vols brand means to our entire university and Coach Summitt’s legacy, but also move forward and focus our energy on supporting all of our student athletes.”

Currie said he anticipates no complications as far as Tennessee’s current contract with Nike, which runs into 2026.