The road, named for Manning fourteen years ago, was recently painted to resemble Shields–Watkins field. The custom asphalt stamping and painting project was made possible by UT’s Senior Gift Campaign fund.
“This gift really is a lasting tribute, something people will remember and appreciate for years to come. I know I certainly will,” said Manning. “It’s an honor to stay involved with the university and invest in its success. I want to thank you, alumni and the students, for your commitment to the university and for honoring my name.”
Many students, faculty, staff and community members lined the streets early to see Manning. After cutting the ribbon, Manning walked into the crowded street to sign autographs for many fans.
Chancellor Cheek said naming the street and dressing it up in orange and white is a fitting tribute to a Tennessee champion.
“He is not only a champion on the football field, but in all he sets out to do. He is a great champion for our university,” Cheek said. “We are grateful that he is quick to tell anyone and everyone that he is and will always be a Volunteer.”
Peyton Manning Pass is the main route for the Vol Walk, a football Saturday tradition that brings fans to each side of the road to see the Volunteer football team make their way to the stadium.
Manning said taking the Vol Walk is one of his favorite memories and that he will always remember stopping at the corner of Volunteer Boulevard to “hug my dad and kiss my mom.”
Manning is Tennessee’s all-time leading passer and holds forty-two NCAA, SEC, and Tennessee records. He was the first overall NFL draft pick in 1998 and was with the Indianapolis Colts for twelve seasons, taking the team to two Super Bowls, and winning one in 2007. He is now in his first season with the Denver Broncos.
Nearly 700 graduates of the classes of 2007, 2008, and 2009 made donations toward the $20,000 project. Although the funding has been in place for several years, the university delayed the project to accommodate stadium renovations and nearby roadwork.