Tamika Catchings (’00, ’05)

Category: Awards | Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna

2022 Distinguished Alumnus Award Winner

The list of accolades goes on and on for Lady Vol for Life Tamika Catchings. She has been SEC Freshman of the Year, an NCAA National Champion, a four-time Olympic gold medalist, and one of the most influential players in the 26-year history of the Women’s National Basketball Association. While at UT, Catchings also excelled in the classroom, graduating with bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences in 2000 and 2005 respectively.

Playing in both Texas and Illinois high schools, Catchings started young as a basketball elite. Her sophomore year, she was the first underclassman to be named Illinois Miss Basketball. An All-American two years in a row, she also was the first player, for both men and women, to achieve a quintuple-double—double digit stats in scoring, rebounding, assists, blocks, and steals during a single game—in basketball’s recorded history.

After winning three championships as a high school student athlete, in her freshman year of college, Catchings scored more points than any other freshman in UT’s program history. With Pat Summitt, and a roster of athletic greats, Catchings was a key player during the Lady Vols’ undefeated 1997–98 season. Spending half her senior season with an injury, she still graduated from UT as one of the best players in history and was the fifth to retire a jersey.

Catchings played her entire 16 seasons in the WNBA with the Indiana Fever. As of her retirement, Catchings ranked first all-time in career playoff scoring, first all-time in career playoff rebounds, second in all-time regular season rebounds, second in all-time career regular season scoring, first in total career steals, and first in career steals per game average. She also holds another WNBA record for most consecutive playoff appearances of 12 straight seasons. She also served as the Vice President of Basketball Operations and General Manager for the Fever and broadcasts basketball games on the SEC Network.

After spending most of her life on and around the basketball court, Catchings is now focusing on philanthropy, her family, community, and other passions. She purchased an Indianapolis teashop in 2017. Since 2004, Catchings and her sister’s nonprofit, Catch the Stars Foundation, has helped at-risk youth in inner-city Indianapolis participate in reinforcing academic, athletic, and other positive development programs. Her foundation has given more than $150,000 in college scholarships to assist students with their higher education goals.

Catchings has served on the US President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition and the US Department of State’s Council to Empower Girls Through Sports. She was the first female recipient of the National Civil Rights Museum Sports Legacy Award and is an inductee of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. She was first recipient of the WNBA’s Dawn Staley Leadership Award.

In addition to international recognition, Catchings remains committed to her alma mater. She is a member of the UT Alliance of Women Philanthropists, received the UT Alumni Promise Award in 2013, and was inducted into the UT Educators Hall of Honor in 2019. Catchings also faithfully supports her alma mater through significant giving to the UT Health Science Center’s Department of Audiology Speech Pathology, as well as women’s athletics.