Dick Evey, who played for Vols from 1961-63, dies at 72

Former Tennessee players, from left, Darris McCord, Dick Evey, Doug Atkins, Glenn Glass and Mike Stratton watch Steve DeLong in a June, 1965 gathering.

Photo by News Sentinel

Former Tennessee players, from left, Darris McCord, Dick Evey, Doug Atkins, Glenn Glass and Mike Stratton watch Steve DeLong in a June, 1965 gathering.

Former Tennessee players, from left, Darris McCord, Dick Evey, Doug Atkins, Glenn Glass and Mike Stratton watch Steve DeLong in a June, 1965 gathering.

Photo by News Sentinel

Former Tennessee players, from left, Darris McCord, Dick Evey, Doug Atkins, Glenn Glass and Mike Stratton watch Steve DeLong in a June, 1965 gathering.

Dick Evey, a letterman on the Tennessee football and track teams from 1961-63, died Thursday at the Ben Atchley State Veterans Home after a debilitating illness. He was 72.

Mr. Evey came to Tennessee as a highly recruited athlete from Springfield, Ohio, and played under coaches Bowden Wyatt and Jim McDonald. A tackle, Mr. Evey wore No. 75 on his orange and white jersey and played at 6-4, 235.

“Woody Hayes always said that Dick Evey was one of the best high school players he had ever tried to recruit,” said good friend Larry Johnston, a leader of the Tennessee freshman team in 1967 who suffered a career-ending knee injury before his sophomore season in 1968.

Mr. Evey was one of the first recipients of The 88 Plan, the fund administered by the National Football League honoring the late John Mackey of the Baltimore Colts, according to his daughter Kristi Satterfield.

The 88 Plan provides former players with up to $100,000 per year for medical and custodial care resulting from dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, ALS, and/or Parkinson’s disease.

“I think it’s been nothing but an extremely positive experience for our family,” Satterfield said. “We are forever grateful and so thankful to the NFL. The 88 Plan made the very best out of a very bad situation.”

Former News Sentinel sports editor Marvin West related that Mr. Evey was the school recordholder in the shot put in 1963 at 50 feet, 2 1/2 inches. He placed fifth in the SEC outdoors in Chuck Rohe’s first season.

Jerry Holloway, a mid-1960s offensive lineman at UT, remembered Mr. Evey “visiting spring practice in 1966, 1967, and 1968, demonstrating defensive line maneuvers, including his powerful head slap with those ‘huge hands.’ ”

When asked what he remembered about Mr. Evey’s football abilities, one word sufficed: “Wow!”

After leaving Tennessee, Mr. Evey played in the 1963 Blue-Gray Game and the 1964 College All-Star Game.

He was a first round selection of the Chicago Bears in the 1964 NFL draft at No. 14. The same year, he was a second round selection by the AFL Buffalo Bills.

He played for the Bears from 1964-69, the Los Angeles Rams in 1970, and the Detroit Lions in 1971.

After his football career ended, he was a land developer in Blount County, involved in the restoration of Historic Perry’s Mill, a working grist mill with plans for a restaurant in Walland in the 1980s.

“That was his passion, his obsession,” Johnston said Thursday. “He always wanted to own a restaurant. He sunk heart, soul and money into it. When it burned down, it really took the wind out of his sails.”

A “Celebration of Life” service will held on June 5, at Smithview Pavilion, 601 Smithview Drive in Maryville, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., with a brief service to follow, Dr. Jerry Russell officiating.

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Comments » 11

richvol writes:

As a kid I remember watching him play at UT. He was a tremendous physical specimen. Sorry to hear of his passing.

tgiles1944#654264 writes:

What a great guy I took a speech class at night in Oak Ridge with Ken Hudgens, Rex Dockery, Dick Evey, Johnny Mills. We all rode together from Bill Gibbs Hall. I really enjoyed that time we had together and the stories that were told by all.God bless you Dick Evey and may your soul rest in peace forever.

orangecountyvols writes:

Sad to hear the loss of this fine gentleman, a true Tennessee legend.

TommyJack writes:

Had a class with him when I was a frosh...He was a beast of a guy (relative to those days) Man he was cut.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

God Bless a great Vol player in Dick Evey..RIP

chucker6 writes:

God Bless You Dick Evey, I remember you student coaching at Knoxville South High School. You were down to earth, easy to talk to and a great example for young athletes.

cltvol writes:

Wow those guys were in good shape,,old school baby. Pushups and sit ups. A few bar fights just to keep the adrenaline going. Steve delong looks like Tarzan. And Doug Atkins could whoop Goliath with both hands tied behind his back

allvol32 writes:

I had the very good fortune of knowing Dick Evey back in the 1970's and 80s. I met him while I was in Junior High School and he was nearing the end of his NFL career. He was quite a unique character in every positive way.

I'll never forget working with him one summer on his farm we were loading railroad ties into a truck. Watching him carry one railroad tie on his right shoulder and another one cradled in his left hand while I was flipping them over end to end just amazed me - I felt like I was working with a real life Paul Bunyon.

I'll never forget riding in his open jeep on the way to the farm one day when this guy walking down the road threw a coke can into the ditch as we were passing him. Evey slammed on the brakes threw it in reverse and backed up to the miscreant and said in his huge booming voice "Hey, you wanna pick that up?" You should have seen the look on the guy's face as he scrambled to retrieve the can.

My condolences to the Evey family who I also have had the very good fortune to know.

The whole family worked so hard on the Peery's Mill restoration and it was something special. Unfortunately somebody took offense to the presence of the mill and burned it to the ground. I understand that the authorities knew who it was but didn't have enough evidence to charge him.

Dick Evey was a real larger than life character and is treasured and missed by many.

theoldbear writes:

I remember Dick Evey running a leg on the 440 relay team for the track team What a sight!

I also used to have breakfast with him in the old Student Center, when he was back working on his degree in the mid '60s. He was always a gentleman, but on the field, wow!

He played with four or five hall of fame players, and actually took Alex Karras's place when Alex retired to Monday Night Football!

He was as rough on the field as he was gentle off it. Had the reputation for being dirty, but he wasn't. Just tough. He and Doug Atkins may have been the toughest pair ever to grace the same line in the NFL.

yachtsman319#1417874 writes:

Dick and I were high school classmates in Springfield, Ohio. He was one of my best friends and I always thought of him as a "gentle giant." He was one of the leaders on our football team the finished second in Ohio in 1959.
He was one of the most popular guys in school and he will be missed.
Mike Wright
Boquete, Panama

GerryOP writes:

Had a couple of classes with Evey and attended a few parties with him! Back in the day, he was a big kid. Same with Steve DeLong.

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