Monday, October 8, 2012


BOWDEN WYATT WINS 1ST GAME                  

Knoxville, Tennessee (HouseofNeyland) On this day 57 years ago, October 8, 1955, former Vol All-American, Bowden Wyatt, won his 1st game as TENNESSEE head football coach.

The game, played at Shields-Watkins Field versus the Chattanooga Moccasins, ended with a 13-0 win by the VOLS.

Bowden Wyatt, born in Kingston, Tennessee on November 4, 1917, played right end for the VOLS under Coach Neyland from 1936 through 1938.

Wyatt earned ALL-AMERICAN 1st team honors in 1938 on a team which outscored its opponents 283-16. Wyatt was UT's captain on that team.

Tom Siler tells this story of how Bowden met Coach Neyland:

"Wyatt was washing dishes to earn one meal & had a NYA job to pay for other meals & expenses.  This was in Depression days & times were tough...

'I went to Major Neyland & told him I was hungry,' says Wyatt. 'If you feed me, I'll make you a good football player,' is what I said & I meant it.'"

Bowden Wyatt was assistant coach at Mississippi State, the VOLS opponent this coming Saturday night, & then head coach at Wyoming & Arkansas before returning to Tennessee.

When Wyatt was hired as head football coach at UT, he said:

"I'm going back to the job I've always wanted."

Wyatt's 1st UT team finished 6-3-1, but in 1956 went undefeated, won an SEC championship & played in the Sugar Bowl.  Wyatt was also SEC & National Coach of the Year.

One of the greatest victories of Wyatt's coaching career was the win over Georgia Tech in Atlanta in 1956 over former UT great, Bobby Dodd. Going into the game Tech was ranked #2 & UT #3 in the nation.

In 1957, the record was 8-3 with a win in the Gator Bowl.

One of the few coaches to win championships in 3 conferences, Bowden Wyatt posted an overall record of 99-56-5.  He is also one of the few to win election to the HALL of FAME as both a coach & player.

Bowden Wyatt died at the age of 51 on January 21,  1969 & was laid to rest in Rockwood, Tennessee.

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