Mike Strange: No way the Tennessee bus was leaving without Dale Ellis

Mike Strange
Tennessee’s Dale Ellis (14) falls between Virginia’s Lewis Lattimore (55) and Terry Gates (44) after pulling down a rebound in first half action in Atlanta, on Thursday, March 19, 1981 during the NCAA East regional Semi-finals. (AP Photo)

Photo by Anonymous, AP1981

Tennessee’s Dale Ellis (14) falls between Virginia’s Lewis Lattimore (55) and Terry Gates (44) after pulling down a rebound in first half action in Atlanta, on Thursday, March 19, 1981 during the NCAA East regional Semi-finals. (AP Photo)

Don DeVoe’s first recruiting campaign at Tennessee was headlined by two East Tennessee priorities. Oops, the Vols signed neither.

Subscribe to read the full story

Current Subscribers - Activate Now

Already subscribe to the News Sentinel? Unlimited access to KnoxNews.com on the web, your smartphone, tablet, Knoxville.com and GoVolsXtra.com is included with your subscription. All you need to do is ACTIVATE now!

Activate Now

New Subscribers - Subscribe Now

Want to keep reading?
KnoxNews now offers Premium and Digital Subscriptions. Subscribe now and select how you want to keep up-to-date on local news, reader comments, photos, videos, blogs and more.

Subscribe Now

© 2014 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Comments » 9

cltvol writes:

dang good ball player,,saw him play a bunch,,best player @ UT other than BK

broleb44#1437447 writes:

Great player, great citizen. Watched him give Ralph Sampson all he could handle. Why did we wait so long to honor the MAN?

VictorKrugerIII writes:

Congratulations to my all-time favorite Vol, the "slender soph-o-more from Marietta G-A." I'll never forget the SEC battles with Dominique Wilkins and Charles Barkley, and when he started to break out in the NBA playing with the X-Man and Tom Chambers in Seattle. How many players have you ever seen dominate inside in college and then change their game completely and dominate outside in the NBA like he did? The ball was out of his hand and headed to the bottom of the net before the defender knew what hit them. Way to go, #14/#41!

forkball writes:

in response to cltvol:

dang good ball player,,saw him play a bunch,,best player @ UT other than BK

It's close, but I would have to agree. An absolute warrior.

Sauce writes:

I am prejudiced since I went to school with Dale, but he is my all time favorite BasketVol.
I was at Indy in 1982 when he held Ralph Sampson to 12 points. He was a magician in the post on offense and a beast on defense. Congrats Dale, this honor is way overdue!

798orange writes:

One of the most accurate shooters ever. He more than anyone else helped keep UT basketball in the spotlight in the years after Ernie and Bernie.

tgggovols#1425081 writes:

Dale used to come over to the tennis courts and play tennis with Kirk Naler some in the off season. UT's tennis coach at the time, Mike Depalmer, used to say if he had Dale for 4 years he could have been an all-american in tennis! Great athlete, even better guy. Well deserved Dale, loved to watch you play!

oldschoolvol writes:

It should be noted that Dale had the benefit of playing with some great teammates who took some of the scoring load off him and provided balance to the offense. Howard Wood, Gary Carter, and Michael Brooks were excellent players in their own right. Tyrone Beaman was a good point guard who was able to effectively get the ball to Dale. The early 80's were fun years to be a UT bball fan. Thanks Dale and Coach Devoe for the great memories.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to broleb44#1437447:

Great player, great citizen. Watched him give Ralph Sampson all he could handle. Why did we wait so long to honor the MAN?

Good question! IMHO, Dale had the most polished moves in the post I have seen in the SEC since his day. His footwork in the lane was as precise and effective as it is possible to be. I have argued on here before, and been mightily slammed for it, that he had better moves than Bernard King. Not to say he was a better player than King--that WOULD be silly!--but Dale's moves were more deliberate and thus repeatable and teachable to others while King's were more explosive and instinctive. King had the edge in natural athletic ability, which was why Ellis worked so hard to perfect his skills. This is not to say that King didn't practice--his individual workouts were legendary--but they focused more on enabling him to go all-out for extended periods; nobody could battle as hard through a long possession or at such a high level of energy and physicality throughout a game.

It was a privilege and a joy to watch both of these great men in Big Orange! They just don't seem to make players like either of them anymore.

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Features