New Vols get dose of history

Program introduces freshmen to UT's past

The class starts at 5:30 on a Monday night late in June, and nobody is late.

In fact, one student arrives nearly half an hour before the lecture is scheduled to begin, and virtually everybody enrolled shows up at least 15 minutes early, clearly eager for the final lesson of the summer session.

It's not for credit, there aren't grades and it also won't be found in any catalog at Tennessee.

It might not even technically come with an official title - though Vol for Life 101: History and Tradition of UT Football certainly fits the bill - and it has quickly become an invaluable tool for a program trying to re-establish its identity among the national powers by reminding the next wave of talent about what and who have come before them.

"I say to them, 'Do you like these stories about the old players?' " associate athletic director and unofficial VFL professor Carmen Tegano said after closing out the semester with an approximately hour-long lecture. "They love them.

"They've come in my office, looked around the walls and said, 'Hey, man, tell me about that guy.' It's important to know who has been here before you, because they've set the bar - and the bar is pretty high here."

For several seasons running the Vols haven't cleared it with any consistency on or off the field, and of the many factors at work in the disappointments, one in particular has seemed to bother second-year coach Derek Dooley lately.

Despite the banners hanging around the practice facility and the portraits on the wall of the many Vols to earn All-America honors, Dooley has several times expressed concern that UT had lost sight of what suiting up for the program should mean.

Instead of playing for championships, guys were focused on the NFL draft. Finding a spot in the lineup might have been more important than one on the honor roll, and certainly the change in culture Dooley has sought since he took over included limiting arrests or trouble in the community.

Those issues, among others, were the driving force behind the VFL program Dooley started last year to provide some additional life lessons and education collectively to his entire roster.

And while the true freshmen and junior-college transfers filing into an upstairs meeting room on Monday nights at the Neyland-Thompson Sports Center were getting a heavy dose of off-field lessons typical of the VFL, they've also been getting history lessons on UT stars like Tee Martin, Harry Galbreath, Jamal Lewis and more each week.

"I felt like we had lost our way a little bit in understanding what it means to be a football player and represent the University of Tennessee, the expectations, the people that you impact," Dooley said.

"One thing is trying to help them forge a life after football, but there's also an element of them understanding what Tennessee is all about. You want them to have a phenomenal football experience, and you want them to understand that this is a big thing that they're in and what they represent.

"A picture doesn't do it. It's the story behind the picture that makes it count. You can look at a picture of Tee Martin holding up the crystal ball, but it's the story behind it - that's what really makes it real, and that's what Carmen (and VFL coordinator Andre Lott) bring to it. It's the stories, and when those guys come back, like Jason Witten coming back last week, they understand his story. He was just like them."

Only the six early enrollees who went through spring camp have even practiced with the Vols at this point, so it's obviously too soon for them to know if the next Witten or Lewis, Galbreath or Dale Carter was sitting in the room as Tegano spoke passionately about the program's rich history.

But if they're going to develop into a player of that caliber or UT is going to once again hoist a crystal football, it doesn't hurt any for them to know how it was done long before they arrived on campus.

And if a picture of Martin, complete with a Fiesta Bowl patch sewn onto his orange jersey, didn't help drive Tegano's point home as he talked about the road to a title, nothing will.

"I tell them all the time, tradition never graduates, it just keeps turning over and over again," Tegano said. "These kids need to understand that, they're setting the tone for the 2012 class. That's what we're trying to do here. They like the stories a lot.

"You know how many kids I've seen walk and stare at that wall down there? They just stare, and they don't know who 80 percent of those guys are. But they know they're All-Americans. They need to understand that there is an end, you know, but it's the journey that matters."

The latest batch of Vols aren't the first ones to take it either. And just in case they weren't already aware, they're getting an early education on the people who helped blaze the trail.

Austin Ward covers Tennessee football. He may be reached at 865-342-6274. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Vols_Beat and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/ward.

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Comments » 44

LJS1984 writes:

I would try to involve Darwin Walker in the Vol for life program at some point. He was great as a Vol and in the "league" and also a successful engineer at the same time. One of my favorite Vols of all time and a distinguished alum.

http://www.engr.utk.edu/diversity/dar...

http://darwinwalker.pdswebdev.com/arc...

BradleyJKinkaid writes:

Craig Faulkner is one of the players I always remember. Saw him make several one-handed catches. Great contributor to UT history.

Moesart writes:

On the other hand, I visited Tennessee on an unofficial visit my (high school) junior year and was excited to be there. To me, it had a number of the same qualities as Alabama, Clemson, and Florida, so I was very intrigued.

However, my unofficial visit didn’t go very well for us, as Jimmy Ray Stephens (a former Florida player) was the only Tennessee coach to talk with me or my family all weekend. The other coaches were busy spending time and interacting with Jonathan Crompton, who was a high school senior at the time. It was easy to read their preference, or at least so it seemed, so I moved on.

Tim Tebow, Through My Eyes (2011)

VolzsFan writes:

in response to Moesart:

On the other hand, I visited Tennessee on an unofficial visit my (high school) junior year and was excited to be there. To me, it had a number of the same qualities as Alabama, Clemson, and Florida, so I was very intrigued.

However, my unofficial visit didn’t go very well for us, as Jimmy Ray Stephens (a former Florida player) was the only Tennessee coach to talk with me or my family all weekend. The other coaches were busy spending time and interacting with Jonathan Crompton, who was a high school senior at the time. It was easy to read their preference, or at least so it seemed, so I moved on.

Tim Tebow, Through My Eyes (2011)

Don't be stupid or buy into this spin. Tebow grew up with everything Gator on his walls and a Gator mailbox. His father's ministry was supported by big money Gator grads. Now he can get even more support if Timmy goes to GVille or it can dry up. Those that think he was going to Tenn or Alabama or anywhere else other than Florida just simply do not understand how this all works...and never will as an outsider.

VolzsFan writes:

Tennessee has a great tradition....of big crowds and thinking they where relevant in college football. Outside of the Hall of Famer's era, Tenn is a 6-5 program and the only legit National Title was in 1998. Mediocre bridesmaid program that had only 7 outright SEC titles in HISTORY prior to 1998. What they had from 1993-2008 will never be close to being duplicated again...period.

LJS1984 writes:

in response to BradleyJKinkaid:

Craig Faulkner is one of the players I always remember. Saw him make several one-handed catches. Great contributor to UT history.

Faulkner is a Tennessee great, you are right about that. I was six years old when Faulkner first suited up for the Vols. My first game was the 1990 Florida game (Vols 45 Gators 3, and I vividly remember watching Florida get off the bus at Gate 10), with the famous Dale Carter second half return. Proud alumnus now, and last season was the first time in exactly 20 years that I didn't attend at least one Tennessee football game home or away. Now that we have ousted Hamilton, I plan to attend as many Tennessee sporting events as possible. Just couldn't get behind a guy that treated my mother like dirt when he met her, and wrecked everything sacred about University of Tennessee athletics.

vol4good#206163 writes:

in response to VolzsFan:

Tennessee has a great tradition....of big crowds and thinking they where relevant in college football. Outside of the Hall of Famer's era, Tenn is a 6-5 program and the only legit National Title was in 1998. Mediocre bridesmaid program that had only 7 outright SEC titles in HISTORY prior to 1998. What they had from 1993-2008 will never be close to being duplicated again...period.

You really should change your call name, because you are not a Tn fan! So you think the team of 1939 that went unscored upon, or the 1951 National Championship team were mediocre bridesmaids? You suggest that previous success cant be duplicated? Give me a break, which team in the SEC other than Alabama has a higher win total than Tn? Dang sure aint Flooorda!

Hillbilly_Orange writes:

I am so gald CDD gets it! GBO!

Wilhelm16 writes:

in response to VolzsFan:

Tennessee has a great tradition....of big crowds and thinking they where relevant in college football. Outside of the Hall of Famer's era, Tenn is a 6-5 program and the only legit National Title was in 1998. Mediocre bridesmaid program that had only 7 outright SEC titles in HISTORY prior to 1998. What they had from 1993-2008 will never be close to being duplicated again...period.

Does Vicky know you're up posting on the internet at 1am? Go to bed Coach Fulmer.

TitanandVolfan4life writes:

These trolls that try to be posers as Tennessee fans are really sad and pathetic.

Everyone sees right through these total losers and knows they've never been a UT fan but are only here to try and stir up trouble and post their ignorance and lies about UT.

They have no real friends or lives and only live for the attention they try to get by going from 1 team site to another and spreading their lies and garbage about different teams.

I pity these sad and pathetic people and I pray that God will help steer them to get the professional psychiatric help they so obviously badly need.

Tennessee has as much history and tradition as a winning football program as any college in America as any real Big Orange fan knows.

Our facilities are 2nd to none as everyone knows that's ever been on the hill has seen with their own eyes.

Sorry trolls but you FAIL, again, as usual and you only continue to prove beyond any doubt that you're jealous of UT and fear our up and coming football program that in the past has beaten your teams like your teams were a high school team and will be back and stomping your teams year after year once again soon.

VFL...GO BIG ORANGE!!!

VolFanInTheBoro (Inactive) writes:

in response to vol4good#206163:

You really should change your call name, because you are not a Tn fan! So you think the team of 1939 that went unscored upon, or the 1951 National Championship team were mediocre bridesmaids? You suggest that previous success cant be duplicated? Give me a break, which team in the SEC other than Alabama has a higher win total than Tn? Dang sure aint Flooorda!

The z in his name is a giveaway. Its little gator z with one of his numerous user names on this site. Like all the Gayta trolls on here he or she is a real loser with an obsession for UT

orangecountyvols writes:

Titan, and other Vols,

You said it very well. We cannot allow the trolls such as OSU 2, the cheap copy cat poster, WitchDoctorsDaddy...........plus other similar trolls with their lack of self esteem problems, to attempt to spoil a nice day for us.

Jealousy does run wild here, and when someone such as the real Witch Doctor has to find somebody copying him, even to the extent of using the same name, that speaks volumes of a persons insecurity and cowardly lifestyle.

You know, it gets a bit weary to come here and try to enjoy the news about our team, here on GoVolsExtra, and find the site infested with trolls like the 2 I just mentioned, along with others such as the ZZ's SEC 1, CantStandHimself, etc characters.

The site doesn't read "GoGatorsExtra" or "GoVandyExtra" etc. However, these trolls are wannabes and this is their pathetic life, isn't it?

Thank goodness we have intelligent and interesting people such as the real Doctor, plus others such as Navalorange, Vol4gzus, Marinevol, Formermarine, Whatthe, Titan, and many others..........here, and believe me, they far over shadow the trolls.

GSO_Vol writes:

in response to slaw_way:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

in response to osu2:

Why to champion the cause. I hope these kids didn't review the last 8 years of vol football 'cause it stinks. But why does everyone think everybody who played here is a VFL? As dooley said, they want the pros and don't care how they get there. If yo really think everyone is a VFL then you are so misguided it's funny. You may live here, but they are just passing thru. And you jus tproved the point with the declining vol tradition by admitting "up and coming" program. MOST top teams remain "up" even though there are bumps but UT has tanked and you black sheep can't see it, just like yor kind wanting Pearl to stay even though he lied and cheated. Take the binders off

unbind my book?

Best retort that I have seen in awhile, lol.... Thank you tartar

pj_ladyvolnMI writes:

Love it. Maybe we should send some so called "fans" through VFL 101.

scvol12 writes:

Sounds like VFL is a a great thing to do. It would also be great to start AFL (American For Life) in the public schools and teach the kids about American History. We need the bar raised in America also on this July 4th.

allvol32 writes:

It's the 4th of July weekend and certainly a dead period for college football news but look how many trolls are so obsessed with UT athletics that they have to post what is to their small minds such witty comments on this site...what a bunch of pathetic losers.

Reminds me of a bunch little kids that ring doorbells and run and hide giggling in the bushes. "Oh we really got them that time!...hehehehe...such fun!"

Grow up morons...you just look plain stupid and immature.

givehim6 writes:

Bad thing about all the trolls coming on here, and some Vol fans defending the Vols against there line of bull is the story gets lost. Yes I to have defended the Vol name. Anyway the Vol history class should get guest speakers in to talk to the new kids vols from the past no just one guy this would build more intrust.

Ayres_Hall writes:

VFL is a great and necessary program. It will assist in the return to Championships. A similar program would be helpful for some fans, as well. Volunteer football didn't start in the 90s.

hcjournals#206623 writes:

Great program...We welcome everyone to be a Vols fan...But if you are not...Don't rain on our parade. If you want to know the top two programs in the SEC, ask a true Alabama fan. It's us and them...

VOLHolla writes:

in response to TitanandVolfan4life:

These trolls that try to be posers as Tennessee fans are really sad and pathetic.

Everyone sees right through these total losers and knows they've never been a UT fan but are only here to try and stir up trouble and post their ignorance and lies about UT.

They have no real friends or lives and only live for the attention they try to get by going from 1 team site to another and spreading their lies and garbage about different teams.

I pity these sad and pathetic people and I pray that God will help steer them to get the professional psychiatric help they so obviously badly need.

Tennessee has as much history and tradition as a winning football program as any college in America as any real Big Orange fan knows.

Our facilities are 2nd to none as everyone knows that's ever been on the hill has seen with their own eyes.

Sorry trolls but you FAIL, again, as usual and you only continue to prove beyond any doubt that you're jealous of UT and fear our up and coming football program that in the past has beaten your teams like your teams were a high school team and will be back and stomping your teams year after year once again soon.

VFL...GO BIG ORANGE!!!

Amen Titan, with UT's rich tradition and history
we dont take a backseat to any other program. We are going through our time of atrition just as most programs have or will at some time. i.e Alabama w/ Mike Shula, LSU w/ Gerry Dinardo,
Georgia w/ Jim Donnan, Nebraska w/ Bill Callahan
etc...Coach Dooley looks to be the right man for the job.The future is glowing a brighter Orange than in the last few years - driven by the traditions and the VFL program.

steamboatticket#484773 writes:

This sounds good to me. There's a story about Kiffin that I always found difficult to believe. Did that guy really replace pictures in the athletic building with USC players? First, nobody would do that. Second, nobody would sit still for somebody doing that.

pingkr62 writes:

in response to hcjournals#206623:

Great program...We welcome everyone to be a Vols fan...But if you are not...Don't rain on our parade. If you want to know the top two programs in the SEC, ask a true Alabama fan. It's us and them...

Great program? ABSOLUTELY! We sometimes need to look past the trolls. Many of them are too young or stupid to know anything prior to year 2000. The fact is Alabama and Tennessee are the two winningest programs in SEC history. For those who don't know, the SEC has been around since the 1930's. If the stories of these two programs were written, both would fill books the size of War and Peace. If the history of Florida's football program were written, it might fill a comic book.

Neyland writes:

I agree. Tennessee has a great history and heritage. Mike Hamilton almost ruined it. I'm so glad he is gone. I think another former Vol to talk to the incoming freshmen would be Willie Gualt. Willie is a class act.

pingkr62 writes:

in response to Neyland:

I agree. Tennessee has a great history and heritage. Mike Hamilton almost ruined it. I'm so glad he is gone. I think another former Vol to talk to the incoming freshmen would be Willie Gualt. Willie is a class act.

I think all players, and some posters, should read NEYLAND THE GRIDIRON GENERAL.

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to pingkr62:

Great program? ABSOLUTELY! We sometimes need to look past the trolls. Many of them are too young or stupid to know anything prior to year 2000. The fact is Alabama and Tennessee are the two winningest programs in SEC history. For those who don't know, the SEC has been around since the 1930's. If the stories of these two programs were written, both would fill books the size of War and Peace. If the history of Florida's football program were written, it might fill a comic book.

Two excellent observations ! Made my day reading something from people who know what they're talking about.

Happy 4th to you Vols

pingkr62 writes:

in response to orangecountyvols:

Two excellent observations ! Made my day reading something from people who know what they're talking about.

Happy 4th to you Vols

Thanks! GO BIG ORANGE

crimsonviper writes:

in response to pingkr62:

Great program? ABSOLUTELY! We sometimes need to look past the trolls. Many of them are too young or stupid to know anything prior to year 2000. The fact is Alabama and Tennessee are the two winningest programs in SEC history. For those who don't know, the SEC has been around since the 1930's. If the stories of these two programs were written, both would fill books the size of War and Peace. If the history of Florida's football program were written, it might fill a comic book.

Great post...To me, the Vols-Tide on the third Saturday in Oct.is college football at it's finest.

pingkr62 writes:

in response to RockyTopRenegade:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Agreed, CDD is doing all the right things. I believe he will turn the program around and make Tennessee football something we can all be proud of. I remember Phil Fulmer making the statement after UT lost to Vanderbilt a few years ago that too many players were playing for the name on the back of their jerseys and not the T on their helmet. We are currently going through some tough times with the program, which every school in the country goes through sooner or later, but we WILL be back at the top of college football . As true UT fans, we have a rare gift in that we have the opportunity to watch these players and the team as a whole grow into something very special.We only need to be patient and remember good times are coming. GBO!

utvolfan writes:

Thanks to the few posters who actually made comments relevant to this article about VLF, which sounds like an excellent program. It is refreshing that CDD seems to have a perspective on what a college athletic program should be about.

Maybe KNS could set up a separate discussion board for those who only want to complain about the Vol program, coaches, administration, etc. Their using every article for the same old rants is annoying for those who actually are interested in discussion of the article.

jrobi124 writes:

I like how CDD has came in and started this program to get these young men to be proud of being a vol and they have a responsibility to make thier time here a great one cause that is tenn. history. I dont want to bring bad luck but we have not had a major incident from one of our players this off season. CDD is doing good stuff this year will be a tough one but next year we will compete for the SEC Championship.

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors_Daddy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Witch Doctor say please refrain from coming out on a closet on a sports-board. Witch Doctor say little too much info..stay classy..remember? Witch Doctor say try to stay on subject.
Bones never lie.

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor say please refrain from coming out on a closet on a sports-board. Witch Doctor say little too much info..stay classy..remember? Witch Doctor say try to stay on subject.
Bones never lie.

*Witch Doctors "happy" third cousin from San Fran.."Willie the Witch Doctor" call and correct Witch Doctor. "coming out of the closet". Witch Doctor kinda glad he got this one wrong..jungle cred. Witch Doctor sure "Precious" woulda been along any second to correct that phrase along with a history lesson behind it and show and tell and sing along. Lol Witch Doctor thought I'd save us....
Bones never lie.

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

*Witch Doctors "happy" third cousin from San Fran.."Willie the Witch Doctor" call and correct Witch Doctor. "coming out of the closet". Witch Doctor kinda glad he got this one wrong..jungle cred. Witch Doctor sure "Precious" woulda been along any second to correct that phrase along with a history lesson behind it and show and tell and sing along. Lol Witch Doctor thought I'd save us....
Bones never lie.

The REAL Witch Doctor,

Remember it's tough, but we have to realize the
'closet' Witchdoctor' you know the one talking about being a daddy etc.............is hiding behind doors, keyboards and the like, because
he is a failure. A copy cat loser.

WD's Ghost, always look forward to hearing from you and appreciate your humor and knowledge of Vol sports.

Happy 4th

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to orangecountyvols:

The REAL Witch Doctor,

Remember it's tough, but we have to realize the
'closet' Witchdoctor' you know the one talking about being a daddy etc.............is hiding behind doors, keyboards and the like, because
he is a failure. A copy cat loser.

WD's Ghost, always look forward to hearing from you and appreciate your humor and knowledge of Vol sports.

Happy 4th

Happy 4th!
BNL

VolGrad writes:

Great article Austin. I just took for granted that every football player got indoctrinated with the UT Football history and tradition. I guess that hasn't always been the case. I know the previous coaches didn't even embrace it, but the UT Athletic Department should require it of each sport. These kids need to understand that history and tradition so they can properly represent it going forward.

Go Vols!

VolGrad writes:

KNS, we need a SPAM link beside each post so we can mark about half these comments as such and not have to see these posers' comments in the future unless we so choose.

GBO!

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to VolGrad:

KNS, we need a SPAM link beside each post so we can mark about half these comments as such and not have to see these posers' comments in the future unless we so choose.

GBO!

Witch Doctor prefer they call the "ignore" button but soon after implemented posters find they had that power all along. Happy 4th VolGrad and Vol world!
Go Vols!
Bones never lie.

nocleats writes:

Its good to know the history and traditions..... It's even more important to add something to them! Go Big Orange!!

thetrollhunter writes:

in response to osu2:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I tell ya one team that's pretty much ruined forever, the suck-eyes. Pryor destroyed Ohio state football, and the NCAA hammer is gonna come down harder than on any other school in the country, including USC and us. Not even the fan base can save it.

Ohio is back to being important only during election years.

VolGrad writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor prefer they call the "ignore" button but soon after implemented posters find they had that power all along. Happy 4th VolGrad and Vol world!
Go Vols!
Bones never lie.

Back at'cha w/the 4th wishes.

Go Big Orange!!!

brokendownoldvol writes:

Most of the kids on here could use a history lesson.

uncle_loue#473937 writes:

SEC teams with football NCs:
1925 - Alabama
1926 - Alabama
1930 - Alabama
1934 - Alabama
1938 - Tennessee
1940 - Tennessee
1941 - Alabama
1942 - Georgia
1950 - Tennessee/Kentucky
1951 - Tennessee
1957 - Auburn
1958 - LSU
1959 - Ole Miss
1960 - Ole Miss
1961 - Alabama
1962 - Ole Miss
1964 - Alabama/Arkansas
1965 - Alabama
1967 - Tennessee
1973 - Alabama
1978 - Alabama
1979 - Alabama
1980 - Georgia
1992 - Alabama
1996 - Florida
1998 - Tennessee
2003 - LSU
2006 - Florida
2007 - LSU
2008 - Florida
2009 - Alabama
2010 - Auburn

Now thats history...and i see a lot more Tennessee than Florida...

JV67 writes:

LOVE that CDD has instituted this! This is a great idea to help these young men understand the opportunity they have and get the program turned back around. GBO!!!

AHoffman writes:

Hope they include a session on "The Arrest Records of Former UT Football Players". It would be very educational.

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