Lewis Neyland, the youngest son of legendary Tennessee football coach Robert R. Neyland and wife Ada Fitch Neyland, died Saturday morning at his residence in Chattanooga at age 79.
Mr. Neyland grew up in Knoxville and attended Baylor School in Chattanooga, Knoxville High School, and Castle Heights Military Academy in Lebanon, Tenn., before entering the University of Tennessee. While on campus, he lettered in basketball (1954-56), tennis (1953-54), and golf (1954-56). He was known in his campus days as “Snake.”
Wearing No. 17 on his orange and white jersey and playing for head coach Emmett Lowery at 6-3, 165, he played in 63 games as a Vol, scoring 438 points and averaging 7 points per game for his career.
“I knew Snake by reputation before I ever met him,” said teammate Buddy Cruze. “We were teammates for two years at Knox High, then two at UT.
“He was a good ballplayer, a great deal of fun, and a good shooter. I have the fondest memories of him.”
Former Knoxville Journal sportswriter Ben Byrd, who covered the Vols during Mr. Neyland’s time at Tennessee, remembered that when Carl Widseth scored a school-record 47 points at Auburn in a 91-87 win on Feb. 25, 1956, Mr. Neyland scored 20.
Mr. Neyland graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1957 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
An avid amateur golfer and bridge player, Mr. Neyland started out as a salesman for Container Corporation and later went into business, owning Neyland Packaging Company until it closed in 1995.
In addition to his parents, Mr. Neyland was also preceded in death by his son Lewis, Jr., and stepdaughter Lisa Ownby.
Survivors include his wife of 45 years Elizabeth “Libby” Parsons Neyland, daughter, Kim Gleckler, and grandson, Jason Martin, of Ft. Myers Florida, brother, Robert R. Neyland, and wife, Anne, of Nashville, and several nieces and nephews.
Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. on Thursday in the funeral home chapel of Advantage Funeral & Cremation Services, Franklin-Strickland-Pinkard-Bryan-Smith Funeral Directors, 1724 McCallie Ave. in Chattanooga. Dr. Kerry Smith will officiate. Entombment will follow in Hamilton Memorial Gardens.