|Mears honored in new book |
| He has been dubbed a legend and was given credit for coining the phrase “Big Orange Country.” As former University of Tennessee at Martin Athletic Director, Ray Mears left behind a legacy in Volunteer basketball. Mears was considered the winningest coach in school history having taken his players to the top of the Southeastern Conference three times during his tenure as head coach of the Volunteers. |
He passed away in June of 2007, but before his death, he collaborated with a journalist who documented Mears’ memories of Big Orange Country. Those memories have been compiled and serve as the meat of a book by Ron Bliss entitled Ray Mears’ Big Orange Memories.
In a recent press release issued by Tennessee Valley Publishing, Mears was remembered for influencing Vols’ fans to start wearing the school’s orange colors at athletic events and started the tradition of players entering their field of play through the big ‘T.’
Mears is also known as a coaching genius and one of the greatest basketball coaches of all time.
“It is the story of a legend and a ‘must read’ for anyone interested in the glory days of Volunteer basketball,” the release reads.
“Bliss’ aim in writing Ray Mears’ Big Orange Memories is to preserve the history of an era and the many colorful stories that came from it, including how the use of orange colors by Tennessee fans came about. Its main purpose is to honor Mears as the sports legend he is,” the release adds.
Bliss has served as the capacity of executive sports editor of the Kingsport Times-News and served as president of the Tennessee Sports Writers Association for two years. He knew Mears in his early days in Kingsport and renewed his acquaintance after Mears retired from UT Martin as athletic director.
The book, authored by Bliss, is 208 pages of Mears’ memories and pictures from his coaching career. When Mears retired from his coaching career in 1978 due to illness, he had led his team to victory 278 times earning the title of the winningest active coach in the nation.
The road that led Mears, his fans and his teams to victory is documented in Ray Mears’ Big Orange Memories. Those memories are headed to Martin as Bliss and Mears wife, Dana, are set to provide autographs Tuesday night. When UTM hosts Eastern Kentucky on the basketball court at 6 p.m. at the Elam Center, a book signing will take place until the end of halftime of the game Tuesday, Jan. 29.
For those who are interested in getting a copy of the book and cannot make it Tuesday, autographed copies will be available online at www.tvp1.com. Ray Mears’ Big Orange Memories retails for $29.95.