Former Tennessee football coaches and players gathered at Neyland Stadium on Friday night to talk, laugh and fellowship — and to remember one of their own who died too young.
The reception benefited the Camp 76 Scholarship Fund, which was created in memory of former Tennessee and NFL offensive lineman Harry Galbreath, who died in 2010 at age 45.
“I couldn’t even describe the magnificent personality that Harry had,” said Fulmer, who was Galbreath’s offensive line coach. “He loved his family, his teammates, his coaches, and he didn’t mind saying it. He loved life. He lived life to the fullest. He was a gentle guy off the field, but on the field he was one tough guy — and maybe the toughest I’ve had the chance to coach.”
Galbreath’s on-field intensity was legendary, but so was his ability to switch it off after the game or after practice and return to his big-hearted, jovial personality.
“He was such a great guy with a great sense of humor and was fun to be around, but when it came to practice, when it came to game, he had a fierceness,” said Majors. “When he got that fierce look in his eyes, you better watch out. I’ve had the privilege to coach a lot of great players at Tennessee. Pound for pound, Harry Galbreath was the most dominating, devastating blocker I’ve ever seen in college football.”
The fund in Galbreath’s honor provides scholarships to young people from his hometown of Clarksville and also supports a youth football camp.
Galbreath wore No. 76 as an All-American lineman at UT. He spent nine years in the NFL with Miami, Green Bay and the New York Jets. He later served as an assistant coach at several colleges, including a stint on the UT strength staff from 2007-2008. He was working for CSX Transportation in Mobile, Ala., when he died of an apparent heart attack.
His death, and the early deaths of other players from the era, prompted many of his teammates to start refocusing on their health, including a group that dubbed themselves “The 76 Club” in workouts at UT.
“We’ve had several teammates die,” said former UT quarterback Jeff Francis. “It’s an issue that a lot of guys have tried to address.”
Galbreath was not a highly recruited player coming out of high school, nor was he a coveted pick in the NFL draft. But he succeeded at every level by his sheer tenacity, Fulmer said.
“He did not want to lose. He did not want to fail,” Fulmer said. “He knew he wasn’t one of the most highly recruited guys of all time when he came here. In fact, I think it was us and Austin Peay and maybe the Army. But you go back and ask anybody who played against him at Tennessee or in the NFL: If he got his hands on you, he blocked you.”
But Fulmer said that’s not the main reason former teammates still remember him.
“That’s just the football part of him,” he said. “The personal part of it is why all these guys are here. There are a lot of great players, but there’s not many people that affected people like Harry Galbreath did.”
Evan Woodbery covers Tennessee football. Follow him at www.Twitter.com/TennesseeBeat.