Scott LeTellier: A very interesting former Vol

Marvin Westwestwords

After decades of comprehensive evaluation, I told Scott LeTellier that he and Richmond Flowers were among the most interesting Volunteers of my lifetime.

I left some slack for the Swamp Rat and Condredge Holloway and Dick Williams and Rodney Woods and …

Scott said he had never, to the best of his knowledge, been on any kind of list with Flowers, even though both earned law degrees.

“To be mentioned in the same sentence is an honor.”

As athletes, Flowers was more famous, world-class hurdler, Tennessee football, NFL. He had the added achievements of racing a quarter horse and once telling Bear Bryant no. Richmond was a keen young businessman. He sold complimentary track gear, even warmup suits, out of the trunk of his car.

Scott was a tennis player, four-year letterman for Louis Royal. LeTellier rose from preferred walk-on to captain. His time as a Volunteer, 1970s, was interrupted by a two-year Mormon mission to Germany. That was a turning point in his life.

What I found more interesting was his very ambitious list of major sports events he intended to see before he got old and grey.

“As a kid in sixth grade, my dad and I made a list of the 15 greatest sporting events in the world. I resolved to attend all 15. Took me 50 years, but I have seen them, many on multiple occasions.

“My dad took me to the 1967 Ice Bowl in Green Bay, the NFL championship. The Super Bowl eventually displaced that event. You provided my ticket to my first Super Bowl. At the Rose Bowl. Thanks again.”

Wow, so there was a time when I had influence.

The other adventures:

  • 1958 World Series, Yankees over the Braves, Moose Skowron hit a home run in Game 7, seven Hall of Famers on the field.
  • 1976 Kentucky Derby, Bold Forbes, the most exciting two minutes in sport
  • 1976 Montreal Olympics (subsequently attended Seoul, Barcelona, Atlanta, Sydney, Athens, Beijing, London and Rio de Janeiro).
  • FYI: Scott was on the Los Angeles Olympics organizing committee and helped direct the Games. He helped Atlanta, too.
  • 1979 NCAA Final Four, Salt Lake City, Bird versus Magic.
  • 1980 Rose Bowl and many others. His law office for a time was in LA.
  • 1980 Masters, Seve Ballesteros; several other Masters. Augusta National remains his most memorable venue.
  • 1980 heavyweight title fight, Las Vegas, Holmes over Ali. Scott says most pulsating moment of any of the events was Ali’s entrance into the ring.
  • 1982 World Cup, Madrid (on his honeymoon), Italy over Germany.
  • 1983 NBA finals, Sixers over the Lakers.
  • 1992 Olympic Winter Games, Albertville, France, beautiful mountains.
  • 1999 NCAA football championship, Fiesta Bowl, Tennessee over Florida State.
  • 2005 Indianapolis 500, Dan Wheldon and Danica mania.
  • 2007 Stanley Cup, Anaheim Ducks over Ottawa Senators.
  • 2008 Wimbledon, Nadal and Federer.
  • 2013 America’s Cup, San Francisco, Oracle Team USA over Emirates Team New Zealand. He says views of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge were amazing.
The rest of the story

LeTellier got hooked on soccer during the Mormon mission to Germany. As fate would have it, the 1974 World Cup was being played there. A 12-year-old explained the nuances of the sport and the tournament. It truly changed Scott’s life.

Through a strange set of circumstances, Scott later set aside his law practice (corporate and securities in Newport Beach) and invested six years leading to and through World Cup 1994. He became chief operating officer and managing director.

Before that, he wrote the full 130-page bid document submitted to FIFA. He assembled necessary government guarantees. He spent the summer of 1987 in Washington, D.C. President Reagan’s chief of staff was Howard Baker. They met in the West Wing and talked Tennessee. Baker helped with the soccer project.

LeTellier wrote the four oral presentations to FIFA in Zurich and the letter Reagan signed.

“To our astonishment, we won over Brazil and Morocco.”

Soon thereafter, Scott was asked to run the whole show.

There was one massive shock before those two shocks. The bid committee ran out of money early in the process. LeTellier mortgaged his house.

“I started using that equity line, and they must have thought I was into drugs, because in four months, I was over $100,000 in the hole. I was paying all bid costs, including my own salary, from this loan.”

What saved the pursuit of the tournament was a Hail Mary pass from Heisman trophy-winner Dick Kazmaier. He worked for Manufacturers Hanover in New York and personally guaranteed an $8-million line of credit.

Kazmaier’s boss joked about a sobriety test.

Believe it or not, former Vol Scott LeTellier spent an amazing six years flying around the world with day-to-day responsibility for organizing the world’s largest sports event. The resulting World Cup was a rousing success. Kazmaier didn’t lose even a thin dime.

Believe it or not, part 2, there are many other intriguing LeTellier accomplishments and adventures, plus plans for Hawaii in late November to see the basketball Vols in the Maui Invitational. Of course, there are plans for the Paris Olympics. Scott’s son, Billy, 36, is a master of world maps.

Steadfast as a Mormon?

“I have remained a faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for over 50 years now, serving particularly as a gospel doctrine Sunday School teacher and youth advisor.”

Scott LeTellier and Richmond Flowers get chapters of their own if I write another book.

Marvin West welcomes comments or questions from readers. His address is


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