Danny Schultz, star guard at the beginning of the Ray Mears era, died Saturday at his home in Harriman. He was 79.
Schultz grew up in Middlesboro, was ignored by Adolph Rupp and the Kentucky Wildcats, went to Hiwassee College, shot his way to Tennessee and was waiting, along with A.W. Davis, when Mears arrived as coach of the Volunteers.
Schultz was an entertaining long-shooter before the three-point rule. He averaged 17.2 points per game for his two-year career, a fraction behind Davis and a fraction in front of Chris Lofton.
Danny scored 32 at Virginia Tech in 1963 and 32 against Duke at Stokely Center and 35 at Vanderbilt in 1964.
Ah, there was a story. Schultz, the shooting star, was called to courtside by a TV announcer for a post-game interview. He had stunned Vandy, first victory for the Vols in Nashville in 10 years. There were many vivid details to share.
Danny got his hands on the microphone and wouldn’t give it back. He talked about schemes, plays, screens and jump shots and about clutch free throws and how much fun it was to clip the cursed Commodores at their house.
What is a broadcaster to do? It would not be politically correct to strangle the star. Schultz talked the station past the allotted time and was still going strong when a courageous engineer finally pulled the plug.
Schultz was two-time all-Southeastern Conference. He was a second-team Converse all-American. He led the SEC in free-throw percentage in 1963 (87.3 percent) and 1964 (89.4 percent). He hit 39 in a row.
He was named the Vols’ most valuable player as a senior. He was drafted in the eighth round by Baltimore and played briefly in the NBA.
He is survived by his children, Teresa Schultz Majors, Danny, Anna, Brittany Schultz Jackson, Jessica Schultz Graham and Gunnar.
The family will receive friends from 5-6:45 p.m. on Wednesday, June 8, at Click Funeral Home, Farragut Chapel. A celebration of life is scheduled for 7. The family suggests memorial gifts to the University of Tennessee Alumni Association instead of flowers.