Photo by Wade Payne, copyright © 2012 // Buy this photo
Holly Warlick went to Bearden High on Friday night thinking that she was going to shake hands as part of senior night.
Justin Underwood had another idea.
The Bulldogs girls' basketball coach intended to surprise the first-year Tennessee women's head coach and former Bearden player by retiring her No. 22 jersey. Mission accomplished.
"She didn't have a clue," Underwood said.
Warlick still was scrambling for perspective after the ceremony, which preceded Bearden's football game against Catholic.
"I was like, What the heck?" she said.
Warlick's mother, Fran, and Warlick's high school coach, Buddy Fisher, were on hand, along with several of Warlick's high school friends and teammates. The Lady Vols assistant coaches and players also were there.
"Really cool," Warlick said. "It was very nice of them to do that. I'm very appreciative."
Warlick was an all-state track and field performer at Bearden. But she also graduated in 1976 with more than 1,000 points to her credit. As a three-time UT basketball All-American and Olympian, she was the first player in Tennessee athletics history to have her jersey retired.
Underwood, a former Lady Vols male practice player, wanted to repeat the honor. His biggest roadblock was Warlick, who kept telling him, "You don't need to do that."
"It was a cool opportunity to show what she means to the Bearden community,'' he said.