I lived on the same dorm floor with Tracy when they had Gibbs closed and they moved the athletes into the other dorms. I will tell you he was one of the nicest people I had ever met, he would sit out in the lobby and talk to us and watch TV.
Great memories and I heard some real bad stories about some of the other athletes on other floors, but Tracy was a really great guy and deserves all of the good things that come to him.
My roommate that year was actually one of the long snappers on the team and I teased him that he might be the only player who's roommate was bigger than him. He was also a really nice guy.
Travis Cozart worked for me for a few years in Loudon at a pre-cast plant...Travis went through a lot & I hope he has gotten his life together. I haven't seen or heard from him in a few years. He was starting a football camp in Lenoir city last I heard. He is a large human! I can't imagine trying to tackle him.
Met Bobby Graham at the Georgia Dome when Tennessee played NC State in the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game. This was back when I still drank so I was pretty drunk when I ran into him and I was holding a beer. It was mid-way through the fourth quarter and he asked me where I got the beer because they had stopped serving. In my drunken state of mind I thought it was a good idea to offer him my half-drunk beer since he could not buy a beer. Looking back on that is not my proudest moment.
I've got a few - mostly because I fly all of the time:
1. Met Johnny Majors in Knoxville airport on the elevator in the parking garage. Had a nice few minutes talking to him.
2. Met John Chavis in Atlanta airport between flights a few months after he was fired. We talked for a solid 20 minutes as we didn't have anything else to do. He shared a lot of cool stories.
3. Met Khalil Mackenzie when he was flying to Knoxville just prior to the start of camp.
4. Met Erik Ainge, Arian Foster and several others at practice - my boys were star struck. Well, except for Arian who was a jerk.
5. Bonus points: saw Tony Dungy in a hotel elevator when Indy was playing Patriots - we spent a few minutes talking about how great Peyton was.
I totally forgot about meeting Tony Robinson. I took my boys by the indoor facility one day and Tony Robinson was in there throwing passes to no-one. Just chucking them at the goal post. I went up and introduced myself and then he proceeded to pass with my two boys for about 30 minutes. He still has a cannon!
I randomly ran into Peerless Price at Smoothie King a few years ago on the north side of Atlanta. I said: “Hey, Go Vols!” He smiled and I told him he was one of my favorite players to watch. Pretty simple.
My sophomore year, I was talking to this super hot sorority girl at a party in the fort. Eric Berry stopped in. He started talking to everyone, including her, and asked if she wanted to go back to his place and see his fish tank.
She told me she would be right back. I saw her the next morning walking to her dorm. That must’ve been a real interesting fish tank...
I met Reggie White, at a FCA Rally, at Silver Dollar City(Dollywood). He was bigger than life, and still a Vol, at the time. I also met Gary Carter at youth basketball camp. Dude was money from downtown.
Have you ever just randomly ran into a Vol (former or current)? I am not talking about an autograph signing or anything organized. I am talking about just randomly running into one on vacation or just in the every day world.
I wanna say it was around 2004 or 2005, I was on the same Carnival Cruise as former Vol Kicker Jeff Hall. He just shouted Go Vols and then I recognized him and just had small general conversation.
I ran into James Wilhoit in the parking lot after a Mt. Juliet football game in 2016. We talked about his kick against Florida in 2004. I asked him to call into 104.5 the zone and lift the curse (it was a yearly joke on that station at the time). He said he would, apparently did, I didn't hear it on the radio, but we did beat Florida that year. That was back in the good ole days of Lyle Brick Jones.
When I was in high school, we took a school trip to UT. I don't even remember what we were there for, but a couple of buddies and myself were roaming past the stadium and a gate was open. Even though we were diehard fans and knew all the players' names and stats by heart, none of us had ever been to a UT game so we went inside. There were some folks working on the field (it was Friday before a home game). We decided we were gonna go down to the field and pick a blade of grass (the joke was on us since it was the last season of the rug 😂). As we were making our way down to field level, a burly mustachioed guy walked over and barked, "You kids aren't supposed to be here!" (In hindsight it was kinda like a scene out of "Rudy," which if I recall correctly came out that same year.) We were 3 kids from rural East TN who never went any further than Walmart so of course we thought we were going to jail. We told him we were on a trip and we just wanted to see what Neyland Stadium looked like because we'd never gotten to attend a game. The guy relaxed a little bit and asked us if we'd like a tour. Well, heck yes we wanted a tour. And so he gave us one. He never said a word about who he was and we didn't ask.
A few days later I picked up my Football Time magazine and was flipping through it and saw a picture of that burly guy. He was (at that time) the defensive line coach. John Chavis had busted us and given us a tour of Neyland Stadium.
I have another random Vol meeting story that ranks up there among my personal favorites, too. In the mid 2000s, I was involved in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program and took my "little brother" to a UT basketball game. I don't remember the opponent, but I remember it was COLD. We got to the arena before the gates opened and were standing around with another couple hundred of people or so who were waiting on the ramp on the northeast corner of the arena by the G5 parking lot. We were standing there impatiently waiting for them to open the gates when John and Barbara Ward walked up. The kid with me didn't have a clue who John Ward was, of course, but I grew up idolizing John Ward. I wanted to be a sports broadcaster because of John Ward. A few folks nodded at him and whispered but no one approached him for a minute. They were respecting his personal space, I guess. But I wasn't that polite. Haha! So I went up and introduced myself, and told him I just wanted to thank him for all the memories and all of his years of service to Tennessee fans. He was very gracious. He took time to ask where I was from, what I did for a living, etc. We chatted for a minute, then other folks started coming up. Some just wanted to shake his hand, some wanted autographs. But John took the time to talk to each one of them as if that was the most important moment of his day. That spoke volumes to me, because I had been told by a couple of insiders that John Ward was arrogant and unapproachable. That interaction outside TBA showed me that John was just as humble and personable in person as he came across as being on the radio. And the significance of it was here is a guy who is a legend at Tennessee. At the peak of his career he was the highest-paid person in the athletics department, making more money than Phillip Fulmer or Pat Summit, two legendary coaches. He could have named his seat inside TBA, and he could've been ushered inside a private entrance downstairs way ahead of the one-hour-before-tipoff gate-opening. Yet, here he was in 10-degree weather, standing outside in the cold with the rest of us "common" fans. As it turned out, that's just who John Ward was.
My grandparents lived in west hills and I was riding with my grandma when she stopped for gas at Walker springs road. A guy starts pumping the gas then comes over and cleans the windshield and chatting with me.After we left I asked grandma if she knows who that was and she says no but he’s a nice boy whose dad owns this station. It was Bill Bates who would come home from Dallas in the summers to help his dad. My grandma would always tip the “ boys“ a buck or two but had no idea he was an NFL player but he had been taking care of her since he was at Farragut hs.
A few years ago I was sitting in a meeting with a friend who is my families financial advisor in Knoxville when he asks if I’d like to meet Jason Witten. He was in the office with his wife. Got my son a signed t shirt. Im a decent sized dude at 6’2” 280 but that man had hands that dwarfed mine.
I mentioned in the Johnny Majors thread memorial thread that I was in cardiac rehab with him in 2014 at UT Medical Center.
Not random, but...
In 1993 after I finally graduated in May from UT after 7 years of college, I took a week off from work and flew out to San Fransisco with a ticket with Keith DeLong's name on it. He got a round trip ticket because they are less expensive.
He was going to play one more year as I remember and he and his wife who was my sister's freshman roommate were going to move back to Knoxville and I guess rent out there until he retired which should have been the send of that upcoming season. My sister was moving back to Knoxville to get married.
My job was to fly out there. The next morning, I got up and went over to the 49ers traning facility and got a tour from Keith. Only remember seeing George Seifert. Then I went out to the parking lot and got in a 24 or 26 foot International hauler UHaul and started driving back to Knoxville with the DeLong's and my sisters stuff. I had a trailer with Keith's Jeep (Cherokee I think). I got to keep whatever money Ithey gave me that I did not spend and take the route I wanted to take.
Stayed in Flagstaff the first night. Stayed in OKC the second night and my dad had flown in and gotten a hotel room for us. Next morning, I drove us to Memphis and I dropped off the trailer at his agent's office. Then we got to Nashville where my parents lived. Stayed there that night and drove the UHaul back to Knoxville the next day and parked it in my yard where I still live for my future and now brother in law to come pick up.
Not a random meeting, but Kevin Mays came back to Kingston during the 1998 football season to help coach the offensive and defensive lines in some preseason practices. It was awesome having a legend like him to learn a few tricks from.