The University of Tennessee's Lady Vol Boost (Her) Club, dissolved in 2012 when the women’s athletic department was combined with the men’s and all donations fell under the Tennessee Fund, is making a comeback in the NIL era.
As reported by the Knoxville News Sentinel, Terri Holder, an East Tennessee native,has worked with UT compliance to get the new version of the Boost (Her) Club up and running, but the club is a separate entity from the University of Tennessee. It is also separate from Holder’s Lady Vols store, Orange Mountain Designs, through which Holder has signed a number of athletes to NIL deals.
Holder told News Sentinel writer Cora Hall that she felt like her passion waned on the retail side of things the last few years, but starting the club helped her find it again. She aims to represent all 10 Tennessee women’s teams by the end of 2023.
“Almost every kid coming into college now, that’s one of the recruiting questions,” Holder said. “Hey, what are the NIL deals in Tennessee?”
Holder says she looked to the past while envisioning the club's future.
“To be honest, and it may sound corny, but I always go back to if [legendary basketball coach] Pat Summitt was still here, what would she be thinking about all this?” Holder said. “What would she want me or anybody else to step up and start doing? What is going to keep this legacy going and this tradition with the Lady Vols?
“I think just talking this out with some people and some different friends and consultants, I got a passion back that I felt like I had lost the last four or five years. It’s just the excitement of what I can do to help the Lady Vols.”
According to the News Sentinel, the Boost (Her) Club will involve athletes participating in community-focused events and bringing back more interaction between fans and players. Holder said her NIL athletes have brought up a number of ideas for special events, including a bowling competition, a Lady Vols Invitational golf tournament, a trip to Dollywood, events at the Top Golf set to open this summer and adult basketball camps.
The next event is a youth basketball camp that Lady Vols basketball players will help run on July 16 at Webb School. Part of the funds raised will be donated to Knox Youth Sports.
One of the biggest events Holder hopes to organize is a gala called Hoops and Heels, which would be hosted at the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. It would be similar to the former club’s Salute to Excellence gala, which Holder remembers raising $50,000 for Summitt to cook two dinners for donors.
Fans can choose different membership packages that range from as low as $30 a month to as much as $2,400 a year through the OMD website. Donors will get benefits of exclusive gear and opportunities to hang out with their favorite athletes, who are compensated for their time participating In activities.
“We want to do things that are gonna have an impact,” Holder told the News Sentinel. “It’s always been the Pat Summitt legacy of being first. I think we’re going to be the first Boost Her Club at universities that has their own club that is dedicated just to the women athletes at that school. That’s really what the vision is … I know if Pat was here, that would be what she’d want, too, just to continue to see all the women’s sports flourish.”