category: Campus News

C-N fishing team travels with confidence thanks to Stinnett Auto Group

Marc Stinnett, general manager and second generation to the Stinnett Auto Group’s 50 years in business, hands the keys to a custom-uplifted Chevrolet Silverado to Carson-Newman University’s Eagle Anglers president, Hunter Sales, for the fishing team to take to the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship. Pictured at far left is David Stinnett, and at far right is Tristan Stalsworth, Eagle Anglers vice president.

(July 10, 2018) JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. — Members of Carson-Newman University’s fishing team are traveling in style to the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship thanks to a generous donation from Stinnett Auto Group, of Newport.

C-N’s Eagle Anglers placed in the top 15 in the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Eastern Regional, earning them a berth in the national tournament on Lake Tenkiller in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.

Team President Hunter Sales, of Blaine, and teammate Tristan Stalsworth, of Jefferson City, planned to haul his boat to Oklahoma using Sales’ 1996 pickup truck, but had concerns about its ability to make the 24-hour, 1,500-mile roundtrip.

Stinnett General Manager Marc Stinnett and his wife, Cynthia, heard about the team’s travel plans from friends at the University and offered to loan the team a custom-uplifted 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 4X4 crew cab.
Without our community support, such as Stinnett Auto Group, participating in a tournament like this would not be possible,” Sales said. “We look forward to their continued support of our Eagle Anglers.”

Marc Stinnett graduated from Carson-Newman in 1996 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and accounting, preparing himself to join his family’s car dealership business, which has now been in operation for more than 50 years.

“It was a really rewarding experience,” he said. “It prepared me for business and life in general.”

Cynthia Stinnett would also later attend C-N for her master’s in teaching, graduating in 2000. She spent 18 years teaching in Cocke County and Newport City Schools before recently joining the dealership to spend more time with family before her son graduates high school.

“Carson-Newman was a breath of fresh air. The experience when I got to Carson-Newman (…) it just seemed like everyone cared,” she said. “It seemed like they put the students first.”

Her father, Michael Bunch, also attended Carson-Newman for two years in the accounting program and her cousin, Madison Bunch, is a freshman who plays on the basketball team.

The family’s positive memories of and ties to their alma mater weren’t the only reasons they decided to make the donation, however. The Stinnetts also felt a connection to the team because their son, David, a sophomore at Cocke County High School, is an avid fisherman. He even plays baseball for his high school, an additional connection with Sales and Stalsworth, who both play for C-N’s baseball team.

“This was an easy way to help out,” Marc Stinnett said. “It’s the perfect truck for using on lakes and with boats. Hopefully it will make them have the best-looking truck, (and the championship) will give the school and the fishing team national exposure.

“It sounds like they’ve done really well this year,” he added. “We hope they do extremely well in the tournament.”

The Stinnett Auto Group includes Chevrolet, Jeep, Dodge and Buick, in addition to a lot of pre-owned vehicles.

“We participate in the college education discount program, so anybody that works or volunteers at the college is able to get a set discount,” Marc Stinnett said. “Then, also, any college graduate within two years of graduating (…) can get a discount as well.”

As a family, the Stinnetts said they enjoy supporting faith-based organizations like Carson-Newman and the Lakeway FCA, of which Marc Stinnett is a former board member.

The Stinnett Auto Group is located at 1041 W. Highway 25/70 in Newport. For more information, call 423-623-3021 in Newport; 856-673-8590 in Sevier County, Jefferson County and Bean Station; or 423-587-4614 in Morristown, Rogersville and Bulls Gap.

As the Eagle Anglers participate in this and other tournaments, members face food, lodging, fuel and other expenses to compete. Information for corporate sponsors, interested anglers and direct donations is available at

Founded in 1851, Carson-Newman is a Christian liberal arts university located in Jefferson City, Tennessee, among the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. The University has over 2,500 students and offers 50 undergraduate majors, as well as associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees.

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