Back to the way it began

By Tom Mattingly What March 6, 1967, gave to the Tennessee basketball program, March 6, 1978, took away. Both days” belong” to Ray Mears. On March 6, 1967, Mears was in his fifth season at Tennessee. The Vols won the SEC basketball title, first in 24 years, at Starkville, Miss., Tennessee 78, Mississippi State 76, […]

Doc Julian

Doc Julian

  By Tom Mattibgly Three significant hires in the early 1960s had a profound impact on the University of Tennessee athletic program and its history. Dr. W. J. Julian, known best as “Doc” or “Doc Julian,’’ and Haywood Harris came on board in 1961, as director of bands and sports information director, respectively. Doug Dickey […]

A number of memorable occurrences

By Tom Mattingly There was always a special feeling to working in the William B. Stokely Athletics Center with Haywood Harris and Bud Ford. Many, if not most, of us who worked there had walked the rolling hills of campus, had sat in the classrooms, and had a personal investment in the growth and development […]

A lifetime in sports

A lifetime in sports

By Tom Mattingly If you hang around University of Tennessee athletics long enough, there are a number of questions and events that help make life entertaining. Here are some examples.   Is it NEE-land or NAY-land? More than a few years ago, someone called and mentioned knowing “Gen. NAY-land” when each of them served in […]

There’s a flag on the play

  By Tom Mattingly Never was John Majors happier to see a flag dropped. It was Nov. 5, 1988, and the Vols had a one-game winning streak, after a win two weeks earlier at Memphis State. That doesn’t sound like much, but the Vols had dropped six in a row to start the season, so […]

Another Elite Team

By Tom Mattingly When Vol fans discuss the great teams in Tennessee football history, several squads come quickly to mind, e.g., 1928, 1938, 1939, 1950, 1951, 1956, 1967, 1970, 1985, 1989, 1995 and 1998. Here’s one vote for the 1965 team to be included among those elite teams. Doug Dickey was in his second year […]

‘Trees in a Lynchburg Cemetery’

By Tom Mattingly For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. That’s what teachers have told us over the years. In Moore County, if you did or said something Elizabeth Majors might not have liked, you were going to hear about it. That was just a fact of life. John Majors often called […]

‘Hold that line’

By Tom Mattingly For fans who listened to University of Tennessee football broadcasts on WROL/ WATE/WETE, 620 on every AM radio dial, during the 1950s, 1960s, and even into the 1970s, there was some great locally produced Saturday football programming. Examples include “The 50-Yardline” with Chuck Ketron and “Grandstand Quarterback” with ex-Vol quarterback Freddie Moses. […]

The Peyton Manning of his day

By Tom Mattingly Over the course of the University of Tennessee football program’s history, there are connections that aren’t readily apparent, but they make sense once you realize what they are and how they manifest themselves. These connections go back to the 1930s, to the horse-and-buggy days of Tennessee football, marked by the single-wing, leather […]

‘It’s Time’

‘It’s Time’

By Tom Mattingly The day was Tuesday, June 2, 1998, when a media release about a significant happening within the University of Tennessee Athletic Department was sent out, accomplished on something called a Fax Expander. “MEDIA CONFERENCE SET FOR WEDNESDAY: The University of Tennessee Athletic Department will hold a media conference in the Team Meeting […]