‘Do something about the series with Vanderbilt’

By Tom Mattingly The “Robert R. Neyland Era” at Tennessee, one that began in 1926 and continued through 1952, with two interruptions for military service, almost didn’t happen, based on events occurring shortly after he took the job. It was in the spring that year, as Dr. Andy Kozar, a former Vol fullback (1950-52), wrote […]

Long Days on Southern Gridirons

  By Tom Mattingly Despite the best of preparation and intentions, there are days and nights in various stadia that seem longer than most, when everything that can go wrong does. On Oct. 11, 1980, Tennessee was in the final stages of defeating Georgia Tech at Grant Field in Atlanta. The final score was 23-10, […]

Talk about your humble beginnings

  By Tom Mattingly It was Monday, Nov. 21, 1891, when Tennessee played its first football game in Chattanooga against the University of the South, also known as Sewanee. For perspective, Robert Reese Neyland had not yet been born, making his earthly debut on Feb. 27, 1892, in Greenville, Texas. Dean Nathan Washington Dougherty, born […]

A memorable piece of Tennessee football history

  By Tom Mattingly Over the years, there have been Tennessee football games that have taken fans’ breath away, games that always seem to be at the ready in the mind’s eye. Fans recall at a moment’s notice exactly where they were and what they were thinking when significant events happened. One of the greatest […]

A Downtown Folk Hero

A Downtown Folk Hero

  By Tom Mattingly Heading downtown on a Saturday night to buy the early edition of the Sunday Knoxville News Sentinel was an essential part of the Tennessee football experience in the 1970s and 1980s. There are times that sports stories evolve into stories about sports. This is one of them, transcending the scores and […]

‘Get a Quarterback’

  By Tom Mattingly Through the years, there have been a number of famous quotations from Tennessee players, coaches, and others associated with the Vol program about any number of subjects. They’re definitely part of the Tennessee lore and legend. When Tom Elam, trustee and athletic board member, asked future head coach Doug Dickey how […]

Ready for Action

By Tom Mattingly The 1990 Mississippi State game created a number of memories for those Tennessee fans who survived the heat and humidity of a Sept. 8 afternoon game in Starkville, Mississippi. The game was part of the former WTBS television (Channel 17) package and kicked off mid-day. The Vols won 40-7. Tennessee tailback Tony […]

Creating a host of memories

Creating a host of memories

By Tom Mattingly Can it really have been more than 50 years since the 1970 Tennessee football team took the field under rookie head coach Bill Battle? Time marches on, and these “Boys of Fall” are now in their early 70s. But the passage of time cannot erase the memories of this group, a team […]

A number of interesting turns

By Tom Mattingly Life as we know it has taken a number of interesting turns. Venues such as the Orange Bowl in Miami, Crosley Field and Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati, Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, the old Yankee Stadium and Comiskey Park, and Tiger Stadium in Detroit are now consigned to history. Only videotape and the power of […]

Living and dying with Tennessee football games

By Tom Mattingly Whenever he discussed his time as “Voice of the Vols,” 1952-67, broadcaster George Mooney always remembered the good times. In the spring of 1952, at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Gen. Robert R. Neyland had asked him to broadcast the Tennessee games. Mooney did not hesitate to accept. “There was one answer […]

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