NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Politics and basketball teamed up on Monday with Tennessee being honored following a historic season.
Senator Becky Duncan Massey sponsored a resolution on the floor that honors "those exemplary student athletes who have attained the pinnacle of competition, thus bringing honor and acclaim to the State of Tennessee."
Before ribbing the head coach about nearly leaving for UCLA, Senator Becky Duncan Massey raved about the on and off-court accolades of the head coach.
"Besides all that, Coach Barnes is a program changer of the culture of the team. He really focuses more on building character with these young men that he coaches," she said.
Barnes spoke on the ability for his team to play together, representing what teamwork truly is.
"This team the last two years, they epitomize coming together and putting everything behind for one cause and that was to be the very best we could be as a basketball team," Barnes said.
Perhaps the most emotional part of the day arrived when VFL Tony White stepped to the mic. White has been battling leukemia in Nashville, where he often spoke with the team and its players -- serving as a rallying point for the team while offering advice and motivation. Barnes said he wanted to make sure White was there to accept this honor.
"I would just like to say thanks coach Barnes and the University of Tennessee basketball team because, through my time and my struggle fighting leukemia, I was down and they came and visited me... and I never played for Coach Barnes, and that should tell you something about his character," White said.