Dr. Andy Kozar was one of the great fullbacks in University of Tennessee football history and helped the Vols win a national championship to boot.
But he was so much more than that.
Kozar, a link to the glorious Robert Neyland Era, died Thursday at his Knoxville home. He was 79.
Few individuals have given more to UT than Kozar, an athlete, educator, author and historian.
"Andy knew more about Gen. Neyland than anybody else. He will be missed by everybody in the University of Tennessee family.''
Kozar's introduction to UT was on the football field, but he later enjoyed a long career as a distinguished faculty member.
A native of St. Michael, Pa., Kozar was recruited to UT in 1948 to play for Neyland. College football was his ticket away from a future in the coal mines, where his father worked but died young of lung disease.
Kozar was a three-year starter at fullback from 1950-52, during which the Vols went 29-4-1. The 1951 team won the consensus national championship.
He led the team in scoring and rushing in 1950 and 1952, excelling as a runner and blocker in Neyland's single-wing attack.
Kozar earned All-SEC honors in 1952 and was named second-team All-America, despite missing the final two games due to an injury.
"At first, they didn't know where to play him,'' said teammate Bob Davis, who reported as a freshman with Kozar in 1948. "He had played defensive end and center before moving to fullback.
"He was a good football player. He had quick feet and could hit the hole.
"There was a time in 1950 when the General made him carry a football around campus after he had fumbled a couple of times.''
Following his graduation, Kozar served in the U.S. Army from 1953-55, then played briefly for the Chicago Bears.
He decided it was time to pursue a career in education and enrolled at the University of Michigan, where he earned a master's degree and then a Ph.D.
He returned to UT in 1966 as head of the Men's Physical Education Program, then elected to move to the classroom to teach in 1974.
Kozar held the distinction of University Professor and remained part of UT's Exercise Science Department for the past 25 years.
For a period, he served as executive assistant to UT president Ed Boling.
"Andy worked hard and was dedicated to the game,'' teammate Mack Franklin said.
"He proved that all football players weren't dumb, because he went out and got his doctorate.''
Kozar, who majored in education and minored in art in his undergraduate days, had a variety of interests.
He became an authority on the sports of paddleball and racquetball.
He played a lead role in the university obtaining the collection of R. Tait McKenzie, one of the world's foremost sport sculptors and wrote a book about McKenzie.
His honors included a Silver Anniversary Award from the NCAA and election to the Greater Knoxville and state of Tennessee halls of fame. He is also in the Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame.
He was the author of at least eight books, including the 2002 work: "Football as a War Game - The Annotated Journals of General R.R. Neyland.''
Kozar is survived by his wife, the former Marian V. Higgs, and their three children: Mary Anne, Andrew Joseph Jr., and Amy Elizabeth.
Funeral arrangements are pending.
Freelance contributor Tom Mattingly contributed to this story.