Photo by Sarah Baker.
UT athlete and inspirational author Inky Johnson signs his book at a 2011 YOKE banquet.


KNOXVILLE—Former Vol football player Inky Johnson will share the story of his career-ending injury and his inspirational message of perseverance next month during a fundraiser for University of Tennessee, Knoxville, students going to work at Super Bowl XLVIII in February 2014.


Johnson will appear at the 5 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5, event, which will be held in the Stokely Hospitality Suite in the James A. Haslam II Business Building, 916 Volunteer Blvd.


Tickets are $40, and the fundraiser will include a three-course dinner and silent auction. To purchase tickets, visit Proceeds will benefit the team of 10 students who are part of the Big Orange Combine, previously known as Team UT. The money will pay for their travel and hotel. They will be working behind the scenes at the Super Bowl from Jan. 29 to Feb. 3.


The Feb. 2, 2014, Super Bowl in East Rutherford, N.J., will mark the eighth year a team of UT students has worked behind the scenes at the mega-event. They will help with special events and VIP hospitality suites. They also will perform community service with alumni in the area.


The Big Orange Combine comprises students majoring in communications, marketing, human resources and sports management.


“Going to the Super Bowl is an opportunity for the students to network, explore sports careers and get a behind-the-scenes look at the National Football League,” said Debbie Mackey, director of the UT human resource management master’s degree program and the team’s faculty leader.


The Dec. 5 dinner would get the team closer to its $10,000 fundraising goal. The event’s speaker Johnson is now an author and motivational speaker. He and his wife, Allison, live in Atlanta with their two children.


To learn more about the Big Orange Combine, visit