The Tennessee Sports Writers Association inducted 16 charter members to the Tennessee Sports Writers Hall of Fame Thursday night during the organization’s annual college awards banquet at Cumberland College in Lebanon, Tenn. Among those honored were longtime employees of The University of Tennessee Athletics Department Gus Manning and Haywood Harris.
First hired by Gen. Robert Neyland as publicity director, Manning worked for UT for 50 years before retiring in 1999. He recently teamed with Harris to write “Six Seasons Remembered: The National Championship Years of Tennessee Football.” Manning remarkably has attended all but one Tennessee football game -- home and away — since the 1951 season-opener.
Harris was appointed by Neyland as UT sports information director in January 1961 and retired in 2000. He served UT as sports information director, assistant athletics director and associate athletics director of media relations. In 1982, Inside Sports magazine listed him as one of the top-five publicists in the nation. He was named to the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Hall of Fame in 1984 and received the organization’s top honor, the Arch Ward Award, in 1991.
Manning and Harris have both been inducted to the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. They now serve as the athletic department’s historians and consultants to Tennessee Athletics Director Mike Hamilton. The pair is nearing completion on its second book, “Once a Vol, Always a Vol.”
All of the 2006 Hall of Fame inductees come from either the newspaper or sports information field, which comprises the Sports Writers Association membership. The organization voted at its 2005 convention to elect its charter class.
“With the incredible tradition of sports writers and sports information people in the state of Tennessee, it’s only fitting that the Tennessee Sports Writers Association finally is able to commemorate and acknowledge that tradition and the high standards that have been set,” said Sports Writers Association president Teresa Walker.
“The people included in this inaugural Hall of Fame class embody the best the state of Tennessee has brought to sports over the decades,” Walker said. “And I believe the members of the Tennessee Sports Writers Association share in the great pride that we are able to honor them in this way.”
The Sports Writers Association plans to commemorate its Hall of Fame on plaques to be installed in press boxes around the state.
Ragin’ Cajuns
The University of Tennessee Athletic Department announced Tuesday that the University of Central Florida -- which previously had a football game scheduled with the Vols on Sept. 29, 2007 — has exercised its option, per contract, to cancel that game. Therefore, Tennessee has signed a contract to play Louisiana-Lafayette on Nov. 3, 2007, in Knoxville.
The reshuffling of the 2007 football schedule keeps UT’s home slate at seven games but eliminated a November open date.
Tennessee’s 2007 open date is now Sept. 29, giving the Vols an extra week of preparation for SEC Eastern Division rival Georgia Oct. 6 in Knoxville.
The Vols’ only previous meeting with Louisiana-Lafayette came during the 1992 season, when UT posted a 38-3 win in Knoxville (Louisiana--Lafayette was then known as Southwestern Louisiana). Tennessee owns a 3-1 all-time record against current members of the Sun Belt Conference, with the lone loss coming against North Texas in 1975 by a score of 21-14.
Tennessee’s 2008 football schedule features non-conference games with North Carolina State, UCLA, San Jose State and Wyoming. The Vols own a 1-1 all-time record against North Carolina State but have never faced the Wolfpack in Knoxville. The game at UCLA marks the 14th meeting in the all-time series, which dates to 1965. Tennessee is a perfect 2-0 against the Wyoming Cowboys and has never played San Jose State.