The Info List - Robert Neyland

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Robert Reese Neyland (pronounced KNEE-land),[1] MBE,[2] (February 17, 1892 – March 28, 1962) was an American football
American football
player and coach and officer in the United States Army, reaching the rank of brigadier general. He served three stints as the head football coach at the University of Tennessee
University of Tennessee
(UT) from 1926 to 1934, 1936 to 1940, and 1946 to 1952. He is one of two college football coaches to have won national titles in two non-consecutive tenures at the same school, along with Frank Leahy
Frank Leahy
of the University of Notre Dame. Neyland holds the record for most wins in Tennessee Volunteers
Tennessee Volunteers
history with 173 wins in 216 games, six undefeated seasons, nine undefeated regular seasons, seven conference championships, and four national championships. At UT, he reeled off undefeated streaks of 33, 28, 23, 19, and 14 games. Neyland is often referred to as one of the best, if not the best, defensive football coaches ever. Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated
named Neyland as the defensive coordinator of its all-century college football team in its "Best of the 20th Century" edition.[3] 112 of his victories came via shutout. In 1938 and 1939, Neyland's Vols set NCAA records when they shut out 17 straight opponents for 71 consecutive shutout quarters. His 1939 squad is the last NCAA team in history to hold every regular season opponent scoreless. Neyland was also an innovator. He is credited with being the first coach to utilize sideline telephones and game film to study opponents. His teams also were some of the first to wear lightweight pads and tearaway jerseys. Such measures increased his players' elusiveness and exemplify Neyland's "speed over strength" philosophy. Neyland is also famous for creating the seven "Game Maxims" of football that many coaches, on all levels, still use. Tennessee players recite the maxims before every game in the locker room as a team. Neyland Stadium
Neyland Stadium
at UT is not only named for The General, but was designed by him. His plans formed the basis for all expansions that brought the stadium to its modern size with an over 100,000 seat capacity. Neyland was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 1956. On November 12, 2010, a 9-foot (2.7 m), nearly 1,500-pound (680 kg) bronze statue of General Neyland was unveiled between gates 15A and 17 at Neyland Stadium. The statue, which was commissioned by artist Blair Buswell, is twice life-size. Since Neyland is portrayed in the kneeling position rather than standing, the statue is 9 feet (2.7 m) tall (a standing statue would have stood 12 feet (3.7 m) tall). The base is 57 by 87 inches (140 by 220 cm) and features Neyland's well-known seven Game Maxims engraved into the precast.


1 Early life 2 Coaching career 3 Playing career and education 4 Family 5 Neyland Scholarship 6 Seven Maxims of Football 7 Head coaching record 8 See also 9 References 10 External links

Early life[edit] Born in Greenville, Texas, Neyland was appointed to West Point by Congressman Sam Rayburn, graduating in 1916. One of the greatest athletes of his day, he was a star football lineman, baseball pitcher, and national collegiate boxing champion. He was commissioned as an officer in the Corps of Engineers and served in France during World War I. After the war he served as an aide to Douglas MacArthur, who was then superintendent at West Point, and became an assistant football coach for the Black Knights of the Hudson. Coaching career[edit]

Statue of Robert Neyland
Robert Neyland
on display at Neyland Stadium

Wanting to continue coaching, Captain Neyland was appointed Professor of Military Science at the University of Tennessee
University of Tennessee
(UT) in 1925.[4] After one season as an assistant to head coach M. B. Banks, Neyland was named head coach and athletic director by school president Nathan W. Dougherty in 1926. He coached the team for nine years before the Army called him to active duty for one year in Panama. During that first nine-year stint with the Vols, Neyland had five undefeated seasons, all within a six-year period (1927, 1928, 1929, 1931, and 1932). The Vols reeled off undefeated streaks of 33 and 28 straight games. Upon returning stateside from the Panama
Canal Zone, he returned to UT as head coach. Neyland's 1938 team went undefeated and was proclaimed national champion by several minor outlets. His 1939 squad is notable for being the last college football team to go an entire regular season unscored upon, shutting out every opponent; his team was then shut out by USC in the Rose Bowl. From November 5, 1938 to December 9, 1939, the Vols ran off 17 straight shutouts and 71 consecutive shutout quarters—records that have never been seriously threatened. Neyland completed another undefeated regular season in 1940. He was recalled to military service again in 1941. In World War II Neyland served in the China-Burma-India Theater, supervising the transportation of material through monsoons and across the Himalayas
to the troops commanded by General "Vinegar" Joe Stillwell. During his military career he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal and the Legion of Merit and made a member of the Order of the British Empire. He retired from military service a second time, in 1946, with the rank of brigadier general, and again returned to the Vols as coach through 1952. After producing mediocre teams in the late forties, many thought that the General had lost his touch, as more teams moved toward the "T formation" and Neyland continued running the single wing. Neyland was vindicated, however, as he ended his career with a flourish. His 1950 team was crowned national champion by several minor outlets, while his 1951 team won the school's first undisputed national championship, the first year the Volunteers ended a season ranked first in either the AP or UPI poll. He remained as athletic director at the university until his death in New Orleans
New Orleans
in March 1962.

Neyland at Army tossing a pass.

Shortly before his death, Neyland drew up plans for a major expansion and renovation to the Vols' home stadium, Shields–Watkins Field. When he had arrived in Knoxville in 1925, Shields–Watkins Field seated only 3,200 people—barely a fraction of the capacity of Vanderbilt's Dudley Field. Reflecting the Vols' rise to national prominence under his watch, the stadium's capacity had jumped to over 46,000 seats—an over 14-fold increase—in the 36 years since then. UT renamed the stadium Neyland Stadium
Neyland Stadium
in his honor prior to the 1962 season, and the plans he drew up were so far ahead of their time that they have been used as the basis for every major expansion since then. Playing career and education[edit] Neyland attended Burleson Junior College in his home town of Greenville, Texas
Greenville, Texas
for a year and then transferred to Texas A&M playing football a year before receiving an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, where he starred as a football lineman and baseball pitcher and was the academy boxing champion. The National League
National League
baseball New York Giants offered him a $3,500 contract, which he turned down. Instead, Neyland served overseas briefly in World War I, then returned to get his engineering degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, then moving to West Point as aide-de-camp to Superintendent Douglas MacArthur. Family[edit]

Tombstone of General Neyland at Knoxville National Cemetery

On July 16, 1923, Neyland married Ada "Peggy" Fitch (September 1, 1897 – March 7, 1976) of Grand Rapids, Michigan. They had met while she was visiting friends at the Academy. Ada was the daughter of Charles Lewis Fitch (July 24, 1845 – September 8, 1930) and Mary S. (June 1853 – ?). They had two sons, Robert, Jr., born February 11, 1930, and Lewis, December 6, 1933 — 2013. General Neyland was the son of lawyer Robert Reece Neyland, Sr. (October 1859 – 1935) and Pauline Lewis Neyland (January 1861 – ?). His siblings were sister Carroll M. Neyland (January 1890 – 1965) and brother Mayo W. Neyland (March 1896 – November 1969). Both General Neyland and Ada are buried in Knoxville National Cemetery. Neyland Scholarship[edit] In late 1961, Neyland began working on a plan for supporters of UT athletic teams to show their interest in UT's academic programs by offering scholarships to attract outstanding student scholars to the University. General Neyland himself was an outstanding scholar, as well as an athlete during his college days at West Point. It was the General's dream that the University offer four-year academic merit scholarships to students who possessed outstanding academic and leadership qualities. Following Neyland's death in early 1962, Dr. Andrew D. Holt, then UT president, announced that a nationwide campaign would be launched to raise a minimum of $100,000 to establish the Robert R. Neyland Scholarship Fund. In October 1962, at half-time of the UT vs. Alabama game, 165 women representing UT's sororities collected more than $10,000 in a 15-minute time period at Neyland Stadium
Neyland Stadium
to launch the effort. By the end of fall 1962, more than $65,000 had been committed to the Neyland Scholarship fund. In the spring of 1963, a decision was made that proceeds from the annual Orange and White spring football game would go to help build the Neyland Scholarship Fund. The first Neyland Scholarships were awarded in 1963. The first two recipients were Melissa Ann Baker of Maryville, Tennessee
Maryville, Tennessee
(now Mrs. Ann Baker Furrow, a former member of the UT Board of Trustees) and Mr. Robert English Allen of Columbia, Tennessee. Seven Maxims of Football[edit] During the 1930s, Neyland began having his teams recite seven sentences that he felt summarized everything it took to win a game. These came to be known as "the Seven Maxims of Football", or "the Seven Game Maxims." To this day, Vol teams still recite them in the locker room before every game.

The team that makes the fewest mistakes will win. Play for and make the breaks and when one comes your way – SCORE. If at first the game – or the breaks – go against you, don't let up... put on more steam. Protect our kickers, our QB, our lead and our ball game. Ball, oskie, cover, block, cut and slice, pursue and gang tackle... for this is the WINNING EDGE. Press the kicking game. Here is where the breaks are made. Carry the fight to our opponent and keep it there for 60 minutes.

Head coaching record[edit]

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°

Tennessee Volunteers
Tennessee Volunteers
(Southern Conference) (1926–1932)

1926 Tennessee 8–1 5–1 2nd

1927 Tennessee 8–0–1 5–0–1 T–1st

1928 Tennessee 9–0–1 6–0–1 2nd

1929 Tennessee 9–0–1 6–0–1 2nd

1930 Tennessee 9–1 6–1 3rd

1931 Tennessee 9–0–1 6–0–1 2nd

1932 Tennessee 9–0–1 7–0–1 T–1st

Tennessee Volunteers
Tennessee Volunteers
(Southeastern Conference) (1933–1934)

1933 Tennessee 7–3 5–2 4th

1934 Tennessee 8–2 5–1 3rd

Tennessee Volunteers
Tennessee Volunteers
(Southeastern Conference) (1936–1940)

1936 Tennessee 6–2–2 3–1–2 4th


1937 Tennessee 6–3–1 4–3 7th

1938 Tennessee 11–0 7–0 1st W Orange


1939 Tennessee 10–1 6–0 T–1st L Rose


1940 Tennessee 10–1 5–0 1st L Sugar


Tennessee Volunteers
Tennessee Volunteers
(Southeastern Conference) (1946–1952)

1946 Tennessee 9–2 5–0 T–1st L Orange


1947 Tennessee 5–5 2–3 T–9th

1948 Tennessee 4–4–2 2–3–1 8th

1949 Tennessee 7–2–1 4–1–1 3rd


1950 Tennessee 11–1 4–1 2nd W Cotton 3 4

1951 Tennessee 10–1 5–0 T–1st L Sugar 1 1

1952 Tennessee 8–2–1 5–0–1 2nd L Cotton 8 8

Tennessee: 173–31–12 103–17–10

Total: 173–31–12

      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title or championship game berth

#Rankings from final Coaches Poll. °Rankings from final AP Poll.

See also[edit]

List of college football head coaches with non-consecutive tenure


^ http://blogs.knoxnews.com/mattingly/2008/02/kneeland-like-my-knee.html ^ "General Robert Reese Neyland". smokeys-trail.com.  ^ "CNN/SI - Century's Best - SI's NCAA Football All-Century Team - Wednesday October 06, 1999 03:30 PM". Sports Illustrated. October 6, 1999. Retrieved 2009-12-28.  ^ " Robert Neyland
Robert Neyland

External links[edit]

Robert Neyland
Robert Neyland
at the College Football Hall of Fame Robert Neyland
Robert Neyland
at Find a Grave

Links to related articles

v t e

Tennessee Volunteers
Tennessee Volunteers
head football coaches

J. A. Pierce (1899–1900) Gilbert Kelly (1901) Hubert Fisher
Hubert Fisher
(1902–1903) Sax Crawford (1904) James DePree (1905–1906) George Levene
George Levene
(1907–1909) Lex Stone (1910) Zora G. Clevenger
Zora G. Clevenger
(1911–1915) John R. Bender (1916–1920) M. B. Banks
M. B. Banks
(1921–1925) Robert Neyland
Robert Neyland
(1926–1934) W. H. Britton (1935) Robert Neyland
Robert Neyland
(1936–1940) John Barnhill (1941–1945) Robert Neyland
Robert Neyland
(1946–1952) Harvey Robinson (1953–1954) Bowden Wyatt
Bowden Wyatt
(1955–1962) Jim McDonald (1963) Doug Dickey
Doug Dickey
(1964–1969) Bill Battle
Bill Battle
(1970–1976) Johnny Majors
Johnny Majors
(1977–1992) Phillip Fulmer (1992–2008) Lane Kiffin
Lane Kiffin
(2009) Derek Dooley (2010–2012) Jim Chaney
Jim Chaney
# (2012) Butch Jones
Butch Jones
(2013–2017) Brady Hoke
Brady Hoke
# (2017) Jeremy Pruitt
Jeremy Pruitt
(2018– )

# denotes interim head coach

v t e

Tennessee Volunteers
Tennessee Volunteers
athletic directors

Paul Barrows Parker (1931–1936) Robert Neyland
Robert Neyland
(1936–1941) John Barnhill (1941–1945) Robert Neyland
Robert Neyland
(1946–1962) Bowden Wyatt
Bowden Wyatt
(1962–1963) Bob Woodruff (1963–1985) Doug Dickey
Doug Dickey
(1985–2003) Mike Hamilton (2003–2011) Joan Cronan # (2011) Dave Hart Jr. (2011–2017) John Currie (2017) Phillip Fulmer (2017– )

# denotes interim athletic director

v t e

1914 Army Cadets football—national champions

Omar Bradley Paul A. Hodgson William M. Hoge John McEwan Louis A. Merrilat Robert Neyland Elmer Oliphant Vernon Prichard James Van Fleet Alex Weyand

Head coach: Charles Dudley Daly

v t e

1916 Army Cadets football—national champions

Biff Jones John McEwan Robert Neyland Elmer Oliphant

Head coach Charles Dudley Daly

v t e

1938 Tennessee Volunteers
Tennessee Volunteers
football—national champions

13 William F. Barnes 17 Sam Bartholomew 21 Buzz Warren 36 Ed Molinski 37 Bowden Wyatt 42 Bob Suffridge 47 Ed Cifers 54 Abe Shires 56 Bob Woodruff 72 George Cafego 77 Bob Foxx

Head coach: Robert Neyland

Assistant coaches: John Barnhill W. H. Britton Murray Warmath

v t e

1951 Tennessee Volunteers
Tennessee Volunteers
football—national champions

20 Bert Rechichar 27 Hank Lauricella 38 John Michels 56 Jim Haslam 67 Ted Daffer 90 Bob Davis 91 Doug Atkins 96 Ed Nickla Ken Donahue

Head coach: Robert Neyland

Assistant coach: Harvey Robinson

v t e

Amos Alonzo Stagg Award winners

1940: Herring Jr. 1941: Cowell 1942–1945 No award given 1946: Rice 1947: Alexander 1948: Dobie, Warner & Zuppke 1949: Harlow 1950 No award given 1951: McLaughry 1952: McMillin 1953: Little 1954: Bible 1955: Tomlin 1956 No award given 1957: Neyland 1958: Bierman 1959: Wilce 1960: Harman 1961: Eliot 1962: Wieman 1963: Kerr 1964: Faurot 1965: Stuhldreher 1966: Moore 1967: Neely 1968: Martin 1969: Engle 1970: Waldorf 1971: Murray 1972: Curtice 1973: Jordan 1974: Gaither 1975: Zornow 1976 No award given 1977: Schwartzwalder 1978: Hamilton 1979: Crisler 1980 No award given 1981: Russell 1982: Robinson 1983: Bryant 1984: Wilkinson 1985: Daugherty 1986: Hayes 1987: Scovell 1988: McCracken 1989: Nelson 1990: Casanova 1991: Blackman 1992: McClendon 1993: Jackson 1994: Devaney 1995: Merritt 1996: Neinas 1997: Parseghian 1998: Reade 1999: Schembechler 2000: Osborne 2001: Dooley 2002: Paterno 2003: Edwards 2004: Schipper 2005: Fry 2006: Teaff 2007: Curry 2008: Walsh 2009: Gagliardi 2010: Royal 2011: Bowden 2012: DeBerry 2013: Westering 2014: Slocum 2015: Hatfield 2016: Cooper 2017: Nehlen 2018: Broyles

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 73043586 LCCN: n92003