50 Shades of Gray, but only 1 is Smokey.

Is gray the new orange at the University of Tennessee?

 No, orange remains the Big Color on Campus in Knoxville, but a classy charcoal hue -- dubbed Smokey gray -- made its debut on Tennessee alternate football jerseys two years ago. Now Barksdale Tennis Stadium sports the new team color with handsome gray courts and bright orange playing lines.

    UT athletics officials reached out to alumnus Lee Murray (B.E.,'75) to renovate the six Barksdale courts with an acrylic surface colored Smokey gray. A veteran of the paving industry, Murray founded Chattanooga-based Competition Athletic Surfaces in 2000.

    Over the years he has surfaced tennis courts at colleges all over the Southeast, including Alabama, Vanderbilt and the University of the South.

    Murray's experience includes introducing a fresh look to tradition-bound courts. In 2005 CAS assisted with testing colors prior to the USTA’s changing the color scheme of the tennis courts at the U.S. Open from standard green to blue and green.

    "The UT project was especially appealing since all of us who worked on it are huge Vols' fans," said Murray, who doubled his crew for the job so they could complete it last fall, ahead of bad weather. The courts are now ready for UT spring tennis practice beginning in February.

    Murray also enjoyed the challenge of coming up with a gray that would satisfy UT. He turned to frequent partner, Laykold, to produce a high-performance surface with playability and endurance -- in UT-approved shade of gray. Jeff Bryant and Wes Baum with APT were a huge help making sure the Laykold custom manufactured color matched UT’s requirements.

    "In the end we used Smokey gray on the playing surface and Laykold’s standard gray on the border for an unusual two-tone effect, all accented by the Big Orange boundary lines," Murray said. "The coaches and facilities staffers all commented on how much they liked the finished product. We were very pleased."

For photos and videos of this project go to: Competition Athletic Surfaces

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