I know there are only 3 more days until kickoff, but what can I say…I’m tired of predictions and speculation.
What I want to do is take a look back to see exactly how we got to this point in Tennessee Football.
Not only are we going to see how we got here, but let’s look at who got us here.
How about we start with number 5, shall we.
5. Charles Moore
Many may not know Mr. Moore, but he is definitely alive and well in Knoxville.
He was a member of the very first UT football team in 1891. Although, he is more remember by a single color.
Yep, he was the man who selected Orange and White as the official team colors. He picked them specifically because the flowers that grew on the Hill in abundance were also Orange and White.
Yes, this one of few men who is represented every fall Saturday in Neyland Stadium almost 119 years later.
4. George Cafego
He was Tennessee personified.
He was a stud, tailback for Gen. Neyland in the Golden years. In fact, from 1937—1939 many people referred to him as George “Bad News” Cafego.
And with good reason.
He was a beast in the single wing offense that Neyland perfected. He would go on to finish 4th in Heisman voting in his senior year, as well as being selected number 1 overall in the 1940 NFL Draft.
Some even say he helped the Vols to that perfect 13—0 record in 1998. He did, in fact, pass away just under 7 months before the season opener.
You actually think QB’s just trip like that?
3. Phillip Fulmer
We all knew it was his time to go back in 2008, but in his prime…there was no doubt this man could coach.
He was the ultimate Tennessee Volunteer. Having played for the Vols as an offensive lineman from 1968-1970. He would spend his next 22 years working his way up to offensive coordinator and— after a rocky ending for Coach Majors— Head Coach.
Then it was smooth sailing for the native of Winchester, TN. He compiled a record of 152—52 in his 17 years as Tennessee’s coach. That comes out to 2 SEC Championships, 6 Division Titles, and a perfect 13—0 season with a National Championship.
Even with all of those achievements, the thing I’ll always remember Coach Fulmer for is how much he loved the university. Love him or hate him, he embraced every UT tradition and every UT fan.
Like I said, love him or hate him, he was a Tennessee guy.
2. General Robert Neyland
It may come to surprise many that Mr. Neyland is only 2nd on our list, but let’s not take away from all of the great things this man did for the Vols.
He comprised a record or 173 wins, to only 31 losses, and 12 ties. That is a staggering 83% winning percentage. He coached 21 seasons for the Vols, also a record, while serving in the U.S. Army in WWII.
His run of 17 straight shutouts and 71 consecutive scoreless quarters are still records and will most likely stand forever. He coached the 1939 UT squad which was the last team to go an entire season without being scored upon.
His seven maxims are still recited before games and still apply in football today.
He is a legend all over Tennessee and will remain forever in every Tennessee fans heart.
1. Doug Dickey
In 1963, UT was desperate for help.
They had gone 15—15 in the last 3 years and demanded change.
And then we met Coach Dickey. He “rejuvenated” the program as some put it. He also won games, going 46—15 in his days in Knoxville.
But, most remember him for the tradition he instilled in the program.
What do the Power T, Checkerboard End zones, running through the T, and Integration all have in common?
Doug Dickey placed all of them in the University of Tennessee.
He is celebrated every game day in Knoxville and will continue to be for years to come.
Even though, he played and later coached at the University of Florida, he is still remembered and loved by the UT faithful.
If that doesn’t convince you he should be number one…