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Left to right: Mackey, Moore, Brick, Turner, Thompson, Liddell, Naffizger, Stayart, Hubbard, Barnes, Dixon

Students from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, have partnered again for the annual Big Orange Combine, a program that enables a select group of UT students to experience what it takes to orchestrate America’s largest sporting event: the Super Bowl.

This year’s Big Orange Combine will take the students to Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada, for the Feb. 11 matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers. The group will be working the Super Bowl experience and game day, meeting professionals in business, sports and marketing to see how those industries collaborate for an event watched by millions of viewers worldwide.

Debbie Mackey, Distinguished Lecturer in Management and Entrepreneurship and coordinator of undergraduate human resources management in the Haslam College of Business, has served as faculty adviser for the Big Orange Combine since 2012 and will accompany the students to Super Bowl LVIII. Josh Liddell, assistant director of student-athlete development in the Thornton Athletics Student Life Center, will also be joining the group.

“It is hard to put into words how exciting this is as you watch every aspect of business work together,” said Mackey. “It is an amazing opportunity for the students to work behind the scenes at one of the largest sporting events of the year.”

The students will depart for Nevada on Feb. 7 and return Feb. 12. Nine students are participating this year:

Bridget Barnes of South Riding, Virginia, a senior in supply chain management

Lindsey Brick of Gaithersburg, Maryland, a senior in psychology and a member of the soccer team

Brooke Dixon of Brownsburg, Indiana, a senior in marketing in digital and visual design and a member of the track and field team and cross country team

Campbell Hubbard of Hendersonville, Tennessee, a junior in marketing

JaKya Moore of Knightdale, North Carolina, a senior in human resources management and a member of the volleyball team

Bethany Naffizger of Tullahoma, Tennessee, a senior in management

Jenna Stayart of Cary, Illinois, a junior in marketing and a member of the soccer team

Julia Thompson of Nashville, a junior in human resources management

Wes Turner of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, a senior in sport management


Cindi King (865-974-0937,