Caldwell's ride gets assist from UCLA

Nikki Caldwell thought enough of her Cruisin For A Cause involvement to mention it during discussions with UCLA last spring about becoming the school's new women's basketball coach.

Then she included pictures of her annual fund-raising motorcycle ride with Tennessee Lady Vols associate head coach Holly Warlick in her media guide profile.

"It wasn't anything to keep secretive,'' she said.

So her new administration is on board and her new team is up to speed as well.

"They think it's pretty cool that they have a coach that rides a Harley,'' Caldwell said of her players. "They said they were going to follow the ride on the Web site."

The third annual excursion, dedicated to raising funds and awareness for a cure for breast cancer, begins today in Knoxville. The 1,500-mile round trip along the Natchez Trace will wind its way from here to New Orleans and back. The welcome-home party will be at 6 p.m. next Saturday at Market Square.

The ride in town on Saturday was canceled because of the threat of rain.

Today's departure time was pushed back so that Warlick and Caldwell can help with MC duties at the "Day of 1,000 Stories" event for UT coach Pat Summitt at 2 o'clock at the Tennessee Theatre.

Warlick said that their goal is to raise approximately $50,000 for the charitable organization "Champions For A Cause." There are planned events in Nashville (today) and New Orleans (Thursday) and impromptu stops and events in Tupelo, Miss (Monday), Jackson, Miss. (Tuesday) and Birmingham, Ala. (Friday).

"We didn't realize the importance it would have with different communities and this community,'' said Warlick of the ride's ongoing impact.

Caldwell is amazed and impressed by the number of cancer survivors that annually turn out.

"They've been battling for their lives and we're just battling in traffic,'' Caldwell said.

Warlick and Caldwell might have to battle some rain, too. But that wouldn't be anything new.

"On each ride we've been on it's rained,'' Caldwell said. "We don't push the envelope. We'll ride safely."

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Comments » 4

MillisaAnn writes:

That's Great!!!

pdhuff#552644 writes:

Good article.

Be safe, ladies.

LadyVolFanForever writes:

Travel safely ladies. Thanks for your efforts to help fight this terrible foe !

reachkim00 writes:

Awesome! We miss you Nikki!!

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