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John Pettway named Tech Athletics' January 2022 Unsung Leader

John Pettway named Tech Athletics' January 2022 Unsung Leader

By TTU Sports Information

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – For many graduate transfers, it can be almost an expectation to walk into a new program and be given a starting role. But for Tennessee Tech guard and South Alabama graduate transfer John Pettway, the only expectation he had coming into the 2021-22 season was that he would lead.

"We've been really appreciative of John for coming up here and giving us a year," Tech head coach John Pelphrey expressed. "He said he was going to be a servant leader and he has been. He's tried to help everybody out. Wow. We'd take him for another year if we could. He's just an amazing, amazing young man and we're very thankful for him. He's done some good things on the court as well, whether it's been his defense or his offense."

After spending five seasons with the Jaguars, including a redshirt campaign in 2016-17, Pettway looked for a place to call home for one more year of competitive ball and a chance to pursue a master's degree. Cookeville came calling and the Safford, Ala. native answered the bell, immediately providing a veteran presence on a relatively young squad.

He did, in fact, earn a start in the season-opener, but a small injury kept him out of the second contest of the year. He spent the next 16 games coming off the bench, but he never let the change in role affect the way he went about his business.

"John's play has continued to improve as the year has gone on," Tech assistant coach Blake Gray explained. "Regardless of his performance, he has been the same person every single day for us. He's incredibly consistent with what he brings to the team. He has earned the trust and respect of his teammates with his approach, his unselfishness, and his leadership qualities. He impacts the team every day by being a leader and setting an example for everyone in our program to follow."

Pettway reentered the starting lineup on Jan. 20 and hasn't left since, providing the Golden Eagles valuable minutes and an uptick in both offensive and defensive production to help the team collect its first Ohio Valley Conference Tournament bid since 2018.

"Bailey hasn't led the team in scoring, rebounds, or any other statistical measure, but he has a profound impact on our program," Gray added. "His energy, enthusiasm, and love for his teammates and Tennessee Tech is powerful and something he brings every day."

"John has only spent one season with us but he has come in and embraced the culture and tried to lead by example from day one," Gray added. "He is an everyday guy with his attitude and effort, regardless of his performance."

It is for these qualities and dedication that Gilliam is the recipient of the 2022 January Unsung Leader Award.

The Unsung Leader Award is selected from student-athletes, who have been nominated by their coaching staff, for exemplifying outstanding leadership qualities during a given month. The leadership can be shown on the field, in the weight room, at practice, in the classroom, in study hall, on campus, in the community, or for a student club or organization.

The award honors a varsity student-athlete who has made a positive impact on their team and the Tennessee Tech community as a whole, through his or her dedication to demonstrating leadership traits, such as:

  1. Keep learning, growing, and improving
  2. Follow through with excellence
  3. Accomplish more than expected
  4. Inspire and motivate others

Photo by Jim Dillon

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