‘The Minister of Defense’

By Tom Mattingly The solitude of the Sunday after Christmas in 2004 was shattered by the midday phone call from colleague John Painter in Dallas, as the Vols were preparing for the Cotton Bowl game against Texas A&M The message was this: Former Vol defensive tackle Reggie ‘White had died, suddenly, in his hometown of […]

An absolutely flawless performance

By Tom Mattingly It was a day—Sept. 27, 1980—Auburn fans would like to forget. Tennessee fans, on the other hand, still remember it well. It was Tennessee’s second time to play in Auburn, after years of playing Auburn’s “home games” in Birmingham, at Legion Field. The Vols had first played at Auburn in 1974, losing […]

‘Upon my word as a gentleman’

‘Upon my word as a gentleman’

  By Tom Mattingly The early years of Tennessee football were not without their share of history-making occurrences. The Tennessee football program was lucky to have survived the 1893 season, the third in school history. The team lost by 56-0 to Kentucky A&M (later Kentucky State, then Kentucky), 64-0 to Wake Forest, 70-0 to Trinity […]

‘Clicking on a lot of cylinders’

By Tom Mattingly Over the years, there have been a number of good bowl games and an equal number of bad ones. Bowl games are hyped to the heavens, but you never know what you’re getting. One of the most intriguing Tennessee bowl games took place Dec. 30, 1994, at Florida Field at Ben Hill […]

‘Do it for me’

By Tom Mattingly Traveling to various venues with the Tennessee Volunteers is very enjoyable, and there are some intriguing stories, many of which can be told in the pages of a family newspaper. Lindsey Nelson has reported that, while in California for the 1940 Rose Bowl, there were innumerable photos taken featuring Vol players and […]

It just means more

It just means more

By Tom Mattingly There’s nothing like a good grudge. Over the years, those sports fans living south of the Mason-Dixon line have perfected the art of never forgetting even the most minor slight. It’s a way of life in some locales. Historically, Tennessee has had its hotly debated moments fans have never forgotten. Consider Gary […]

Season openers to remember

By Tom Mattingly The calendar tells us that the 2021 University of Tennessee season-opening football game against Bowling Green is just around the comer. Here are several of the memorable first games. Sept. 24, 1921, Tennessee 27, Emory & Henry 0, Shields-Watkins Field. It was the first game for the Vols in their new stadium […]

Blest be the tie

By Tom Mattingly In the wee hours of the morning after Tennessee had dispatched Arkansas in an exhausting six overtimes in October 2002, someone spoke up and said that the Vols’ 41-38 win was “better than a tie.” Haywood Harris a football purist above all else, looked up from his writing and asked, “What’s wrong […]

Playing with a short stick

By Tom Mattingly No Vol fan woke up in a good humor the morning of Sunday, Sept. 28, 1958, after the season opener at Legion Field in Birmingham, AL. The day before, Sept. 27, will long live-in infamy in the history of Tennessee football. The Vols are likely to be in the record books forever […]