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Mickey Napier Athletics
Weekend edition April 04, 2024 | Katelyn Keenehan

Napier Athletics launches first Pickleball tournament in Knoxville

The start-up, founded by UTK student, Mickey Napier serves as a way to connect players with tournaments.

Mickey Napier first caught our attention in the fall of 2023. She is a senior marketing major in the Haslam College of Business at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK), an ambassador for the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (ACEI), and the Founder of Napier Athletics. She has participated in several student pitch competitions at the school, placing in the Vol Court and Graves business plan competitions. Now, she has fully launched her business and is ready to take it to court, literally.

She shared with that her company will host its first tournament on April 27-28 at the West Hills Pickleball courts. Each player can enter the tournament for $55, and college students are eligible for a discount with their student ID. The tournament this intended to attract pickleball players from across the state and region.

In our interview with Napier in November, she said “During the summer I wanted to enter into as many tournaments as possible, but I found that I’d have to go out of state to do so.” Now, she’s creating those in-state opportunities for others.

The tournament will be played on six outdoor courts, and offer men + women’s doubles (3, 3.5, 4), and mixed doubles (3, 3.5, 4). the winners will receive medals, free entry to the next tournament, and social media recognition.

Breanna Hale, the Executive Director of ACEI said she is very proud and impressed with Napier’s commitment to make her dream turn into a reality.

“Mickey is a phenomenal example of a student who understands what it takes to be successful and isn’t afraid to go after it. She raises her hand, throws her hat in the ring, and takes advantage of every opportunity that comes her way, knowing that she’ll gain valuable experience, make lasting connections, and more doors will open up to her as a result,” Hale said. “We’re incredibly proud of her hard work and her achievements so far, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for her.”

For more information about the upcoming tournament, visit the event page, and follow Napier Athletics on LinkedIn.


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