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June 14, 2012

Payne to speak in Poland on international coaching tour

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. --- Tennessee Tech men's basketball coach Steve Payne will head to Europe June 13-20 on a coaching tour sponsored by Athletes-in-Action. Payne will be the only American speaker in Poland, addressing audiences four times over a period of three days.

"I am very excited about the opportunity to go to Poland with a great organization like AIA," Payne said of the trip. "It is a wonderful opportunity to travel and work with an organization with a mission that I believe in wholeheartedly."

Athletes-in-Action is an organization that seeks to "[build] spiritual movements everywhere through the platform of sport." The group believes that "sports is a universal language with the powerful ability to shape a culture, heal a nation, break down political, racial and economic barriers and restore national pride."

AIA aims to incorporate ministry and the spread compassion and humanitarian aid by using collegiate and professional athletics as a platform. The organization hosts outreach events at major sports events such as the Super Bowl, Final Four, NBA All-Star Game, Olympics and World Cup.

Tennessee Tech has frequently sent coaches and student-athletes on similar international tours, with both Athletes-in-Action and via other organizations. Former head coach and current Associate Director for Athletics Frank Harrell also spent time coaching overseas in Cameroon.

"It's a wonderful opportunity to experience other cultures and realize that the game of basketball is celebrated throughout the world," Harrell said. "It's also a great opportunity to make contacts that can help with recruiting. There are some really outstanding players throughout the world looking to pursue careers in basketball.

Currently, Golden Eagle senior Terrell Barnes is competing with Athletes-in-Action in East Asia.

"I am looking forward to seeing a different part of the world," Payne said. "I feel very fortunate to have been selected by AIA to participate in this program and hope to represent Tennessee Tech in a positive way while I am [in Poland,]" he finished.