Wednesday, October 3, 2012


                   HOUSE OF NEYLAND
                          "Home of the Vols"

Neyland Stadium, "the Home of the Vols," is located on the campus of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

This blog will focus on the history of the stadium, the legacy of General Robert R. Neyland,  the Volunteer traditions, and the University of Tennessee football team past & present.

My name is John White.  I was born in Knoxville & have lived here my entire life.  I graduated from UT in 1970 & received my Master's degree from UT in 1974.

I began to usher UT football games in Neyland Stadium beginning in 1979 & have worked at the CC-DD portal in the East Upper Deck since 1983.

As many Volunteer fans say: "My blood runs orange!"

I am never so up than when TENNESSEE wins a football game (like this year's NC State game) or so down when we lose (like this year's Florida game).

The football home of the Volunteers was originally known as Shields-Watkins Field.  It was built in 1921 with the 1st game being played on September 24th of that year, UT vs. Emory & Henry.

In 1962, the stadium itself was named in honor of the legendary coach of the Vols, General Robert R. Neyland (knee-land), who "single-wingedly" made Tennessee a national football power.

After 16 expansions, Neyland Stadium is the 3rd largest in the nation & the largest in the South Eastern Conference.

Stadium capacity is currently 102,455.

My Dad took me to my 1st UT football game at Shields-Watkins Field when I was just 6 years old.  I followed the teams under Coach Bowden Wyatt as they went 10-1 in 1956 with Johnny Majors at tailback & 8-3 in 1957.

Unfortunately, in 1958 Tennessee had a losing season & had mediocre seasons in the early 1960s.

But the game I remember best was the UT victory over National Champion LSU on November 7, 1959.

I was with my Dad in the South end zone watching the VOLS pull the upset.  

In his book "TENNESSEE: Football's Greatest Dynasty,"  Tom Siler describes it as "A Day for Giant Killers."

LSU had not given up a TD in 40 consecutive quarters until the VOLS scored on Jim Cartwright's interception in the 3rd quarter.

With the score Tennessee 14, LSU 7, the Tigers scored a TD in the 4th Quarter.  Now the score was Tennessee 14, LSU 13 with the extra point to follow.

LSU coach Paul Dietzel made the decision to go for "2" & the win.  

The play was a run off tackle by Billy Cannon.  He was stopped 6 inches from the goal line by Charley Severance, Wayne Grubb & Billy Majors.  Final Score: TENNESSEE 14, LSU 13.

                                                                           "The Stop"

The try came in the North end, but even though I was 100+ yards away I could see clearly that Cannon didn't score. What a win!

We were hoping for a win like that this year at Georgia but just fell short.  The VOLS have another opportunity, much like the one in 1959, at Neyland on the 3rd Saturday in October when the Crimson Tide rolls into Knoxville.

Please come back for future posts on THE HOUSE OF NEYLAND. GO VOLS!!!

1 comment:

  1. Enjoyed the article. My brother and I are both UT graduates, just a little ahead of when you were there. We started ushering in the late `50's. He and I were sitting together in the old Section X, right on the goal line where the Billy Cannon play occurred. We had a perfect line of sight, and at the end of the play, we were not cheering, because we both thought we saw Cannon clearly get the ball across the line before he came down. But when the play was over, he was on the ground, and the ball was not across the line! We have often remarked that we were glad no replay was available back then. The LSU players and fans all thought Billy scored, but you can look at the scores, and there it is. Tennessee 14, LSU 13. First time we'd ever seen the scoreboard blinking on and off!