What Allan, Wade Houston said about Tennessee basketball while attending Kentucky gameMike Wilson, Knoxville News SentinelPublished 8:00 a.m. ET March 6, 2019
Wade Houston was amazed Saturday.
The former Tennessee basketball coach was back in Knoxville for the game vs. Kentucky and he was floored by the fans and the environment at Thompson-Boling Arena.
“At certain games, it was good when we were here,” Houston said.
Allan Houston, Wade’s son and a Vols great, likewise was struck by the experience.
“What I thought about was there was no blue,” Allan Houston said. “Usually when you come to the Kentucky game here, they have representation. We ate up all the tickets from them. It is cool to see that.”
The Houston family was at Thompson-Boling Arena over the weekend after Vols coach Rick Barnes helped create an award in Wade Houston’s name.
On Friday, Barnes announced the creation of the Wade Houston Captain’s award, which will be given annually to a team member who shows leadership, a team-first approach and a great work ethic. He chose to name it after Houston, whom he called a “trailblazer” as the SEC’s first African-American men’s basketball coach.
Wade Houston said he did not know it was coming, while Allan Houston was involved in the creation of the award.
“It feels good to know you’re still remembered,” Wade Houston said. “I was happy just to be part of it. I know not only did it mean a lot to me, I think it meant a lot to Allan for us to come back down together.”
Said Allan: “When Rick called me at the beginning of the season to do this, it was unsolicited and unwarranted. He just said I want to honor your dad. We talked a few times throughout the season. He talked about how much he has meant to the university and to the program. For him to take that initiative and honor him, that’s what makes it truly special”
The elder Houston coached the Vols from 1989-94, going 65-90 with two NIT appearances.
Allan Houston remains Tennessee’s all-time leading scorer with 2,801 points. He ranks second in SEC history in scoring and 19th in NCAA Division I history. The younger Houston, who played 12 years in the NBA, had a chance to address the Vols after their Friday night practice.
He said he told the Vols about the opportunity to do something great and never before seen in Tennessee basketball history.
Former Tennessee coach Wade Houston and player Allan Houston attended Saturday’s game against Kentucky Mike Wilson, USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee
A day later, while Tennessee handled Kentucky in dominant fashion, Allan Houston stressed how impressed he is with the Vols.
“It’s the character of the players,” he said. “That’s the biggest thing to me. It’s the character of the players, the staff, Rick and everyone. It is the culture that they have built. That is really to me what I have been enthusiastic about.
“When I got a chance to talk to some of those guys, I told them it’s their responsibility to carry that on because it’s you as people who are making this happen this way.”