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KNOXVILLE — Professional football players, current and past University of Tennessee coaches, state and local politicians and even a reality show winner are helping to raise money for UT scholarships benefiting African American students.

The third annual Alex Haley Scholarship Auction and Celebrity Golf Tournament is set for Sunday, May 21, and Monday, May 22, in Knoxville.

Members of the UT administration will be joined by Randal Pinkett, the first African American winner of NBC’s reality television show “The Apprentice;” Darwin Walker, defensive tackle for the Philadelphia Eagles, UT basketball coach Bruce Pearl, and others in the golf tournament.

The Alex Haley scholarships were created in response to a state challenge to raise $3.375 million for the recruitment and retention of African American undergraduates. The state agreed to fund $450,000 for every year UT raised $675,000. To date, more than $3.2 million has been raised. The scholarships were named for Haley because of his close ties to UT.

The auction — including a BMW Z-4 from Grayson BMW, a day of golf with Coach Pearl and an artist-signed Reggie White print — will take place at 5 p.m. May 21, at the Knoxville Marriott Hotel. Local WNOX radio personality Hallerin Hill will preside as emcee. Tickets are $10 and available in advance or at the door.

The golf tournament, which is sold out but open to spectators, will take place at 8 a.m. on May 22 at Gettysvue Polo, Golf and Country Club in West Knoxville.

The Black Millenium Focus Committee was formed in 2002 to assist with fundraising efforts and includes alumni from across the state. Former Tennessee football star and professional football player Stanley Morgan and his wife, Rholedia, chair the committee that began the Alex Haley Scholarship Auction and Celebrity Golf Tournament in 2004 to increase awareness for these efforts and involve a larger public.

Haley, best known for his novel “Roots,” served as an adjunct faculty member in UT’s College of Communications and Information Sciences in 1991 and donated his notes, manuscripts, videotapes and mementos to UT’s Special Collections Library.

Sponsors of the tournament include BellSouth, Homeland Solutions, UT Athletic Department, FedEx, Holrob Investment, Jewelry Television, Pilot Corporation, Knoxville Marriott, Sonny’s Bar-B-Q, Coca-Cola, Eagle Distributing and Gatorade. Golf team sponsors include Charles Blalock & Sons, BlueCross BlueShield, Cariten Healthcare, Eastman Chemical, First Tennessee, G2 Engineering and management, Shofner Eye Care, TVA, UPS and the UT National Alumni Association.

For more information, contact the UT Development Office at (865) 974-2115.

Beth Gladden, UT media relations
(865-974-9008, 865-771-1284)

Frances White Hall, Hall Communications, Inc.