The United Way of Hamblen County will begin its 2019 campaign by welcoming University of Tennessee play-by-play announcer Bob Kesling for the organization’s Kickoff Breakfast to be held at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday at First Presbyterian Church family life center.
The church is located at 600 West Main Street in Morristown. The kickoff breakfast is sponsored by Morristown Utility Systems. This year’s campaign theme is “Community United.”
“We are very pleased to have Bob back after 10 years, to get our United Way Campaign off to a good start,” United Way of Hamblen County Executive Director Gary Matthews said. “He is a great supporter of United Way and I look forward to his challenging remarks to our Volunteers.”
Kesling was named lead announcer on the Vol Radio Network in 1999. He is the play-by-play voice for Tennessee football and basketball on the 70 plus stations on the Vol Network. Kesling also serves as the host for “Vol Calls,” the weekly coach’s call-in radio show and the “Big Orange Hotline” during the football season as well as the “Jeremy Pruitt” and the “Rick Barnes Show” on the Vol Television Network.
Kesling began his association with the University of Tennessee as a walk-on fullback on the 1972 freshman football team. His broadcasting career began in 1974 when he was hired by the late John Ward as a film editor for the “Bill Battle Show” on the Vol Television Network while he was a student at UT.
In 1976, Kesling was hired by Ward to serve as his spotter for Vol Network radio broadcasts. He sat beside the legendary “Voice of the Vols” for 15 seasons in the Vol Network booth spotting and handling pre-game, halftime and post-game interviews.
Kesling also has a long history with the Lady Vol basketball team. He served as the radio play-by-play voice from 1978 through 1999 calling Pat Summitt’s six NCAA national championships.
WIVK radio named Kesling as its sports director in 1976. In 1980, Kesling was named sports director at WBIR-TV and was Channel 10’s 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. anchor until leaving that position in 1999 to join the Vol Network.
Active in the community, he serves on the board of directors for Goodwill Industries, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame and was the 2013 United Way campaign chairman. In August of 2015 he was inducted into the Greater Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame.
A 1977 graduate of the University of Tennessee, Kesling and his wife Tami have two children Allison and Melissa.
Greg Steisslinger is serving as campaign chairman. campaign goal is $1,450,000.
“Since 1955, this community has raised more than $50 million to help our friends and neighbors through the United Way,” Steisslinger said. “We truly have been a community united! Please help us again this year as we unite as a community to reach our goal.”
This year’s pacesetter companies are Iatric, Inteplast, Strate Insurance Group and Wallace Hardware. The goal for the pacesetter companies is $75,000.
Participating United Way agencies include American Red Cross, Boys and Girls Club of Morristown, Great Smoky Mountain Council of the Boy Scouts, CEASE Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, Morristown-Hamblen Central Services, Epilepsy Foundation, Friends of Hospice, Girls, Inc. of Hamblen County, Helen Ross McNabb Center, Helping Hands Clinic, Kingswood Home for Children, Lakeway Achievement Center, Lakeway Court Appointed Special Advocates, Ministerial Association Temporary Shelter, Morristown-Hamblen Child Care Center, Morristown Rescue Squad, Rose Center, Senior Citizens Center, Senior Citizens Home Assistance Service and Stepping Out.