KNOXVILLE (WATE) – It’s never too late to finish.
That’s Ron Slay’s motto after the former Tennessee men’s basketball standout, who ranks 15th on the school’s all-time scoring list, will graduate Saturday 14 years after ending his college career.
“It’s something that you gotta get,” Slay said about his degree. “I want to go into coaching hopefully and mentor young kids so there’s only so much I can say to a kid if I don’t have it in order. I can tell them to get to college and all of those things but what about finishing.”
Slay has been enrolled in the SouthEast Bank Renewing Academic Commitment (RAC) program, which supports former Tennessee student-athletes in their pursuit of degree completion. The talkative forward, who turns 36 in June, has slowly worked his way toward a degree in Africana Studies. His motivation started with his mother.
“It’s falling on Mother’s Day weekend. My mother and grandmother are ecstatic about it so if y’all hear somebody in the arena cheering like it’s a game day, it’s probably my mom and my grandmother because they’re going to be going bananas up there. You got to finish what you start and there’s no better place than Thompson-Boling to graduate.”
It was at that Arena Slay quickly became known for his tenacity on the court and his headband, something he’ll have with him along with his cap and gown.
“Once I get ready to go across the stage, I’m trying to figure out a place so I can put the headband on with my cap. I don’t know how that’s going to work but it’s definitely going on. If we were at neyaldn Stadium it would be a little bit different but since were at Thompson Boling, the headband gotta be on. It’s only right.”
After being named the SEC player of the year in 2003, the Nashville native spent 13 seasons playing overseas. For the past seven years, he’s spent each offseason in summer school.