During the 1982 basketball
season, the Tennessee High Vikings traveled to Louisville, Kentucky
to play in the King of Bluegrass Tournament. After returning to
Bristol, Coach Dale Burns discussed with then Athletic Director
Bill Bingham the possibility of having a similar tournament to take
advantage of Tennessee High's tremendous facility, Viking Hall.
The original goals
were to (1) promote basketball in the region, and (2) to expose
the fans to outstanding players and teams in the country. The Arby's
Classic has accomplished those goals and more. It has not only
been a boost to basketball in Bristol and the region, it has been
a boost to the area financially. Exciting teams and individual players
resulting in packed houses have made the Arby's Classic one
of the top high school basketball tournaments in the country. This
is a tribute to Coach Dale Burn's astute selection of talented teams.
the Mountain Empire Classic, the Arby's Classic has been
sponsored by Arby's since it began. Don Shawl, President of Arbico
East, Inc. has been instrumental in building the tournament into
what it is today. His hard work in funding and planning the Arby's
Classic has given the tournament that special edge in quality.
Although many local
groups have assisted in the growth the tournament, no organization
has given more time than the Viking Booster Club. Approximately
fifty people volunteer their time with many of them taking vacations
from work just to be part of the Arby's Classic.
Another group of people
who have given special time to the development of the tournament
is the Tennessee High Coaching Staff. The Tennessee High Staff gives
up much of their Christmas vacation to assist with the tournament.
Their dedication and hard work produce a class event with precision
timing which appears to spectators to run effortlessly.
Much of the credit
for the growth of the Arby's Classic has to go to our local
media. Several visiting coaches have made mention of the tremendous
coverage in our area. This is a tribute to all media-newspapers,
television and radio. In addition, tournament games can be heard
live on local radio stations.
Through the combination
of these people, the Arby's Classic has become one of the
most talked about high school basketball tournaments in the country,
truly living up to it's name as a classic.