Don DeVoe at 82 – plus bits ‘n pieces

Marvin Westwestwords

Remember Don DeVoe? Thought so. He coached Tennessee basketball for 11 seasons and led the Volunteers to five consecutive NCAA tournaments.

At 82, he has not been forgotten. On Saturday he will be inducted into the Ohio basketball hall of fame.

DeVoe was born in Sabina, Ohio, and raised in nearby Port William. He earned two degrees at Ohio State. He played for the Buckeyes from 1961-64. Those were good years – three Big Ten titles and national runner-up in 1962.

Some really big names were on that team – Jerry Lucas, John Havlicek, even Bob Knight.

DeVoe had some pretty good players as coach at Tennessee – Dale Ellis, Reggie Johnson, Dyron Nix, Tony White, Howard Wood and others. DeVoe was Southeastern Conference coach of the year three times – 1979, 1981 and 1982.

Unforgettable departure: Whispers said DeVoe could no longer communicate with modern athletes. Sagging attendance at cavernous Thompson-Boling Arena was louder. Doug Dickey, athletics director, was going to replace DeVoe. He resigned before he could be fired. He said he saw the “big picture.”

“You can only take so much speculation and uncertainty. You reach a saturation point. I felt this was the most viable decision for me.”

UT paid off what remained of his contract. His base pay in 1989 was $72,000 and change. He earned some more from his TV show and shoe contract.

“The phone has been ringing off the hook with people telling me what a great job I did. But I’m sure people are also telling Coach Dickey what a great thing he did by getting rid of me.”

DeVoe was 19-11 in his going-away season. He finished with a 204-137 record. Tennessee chose Wade Houston as the new coach. In his five seasons, the Vols were 65-90. That is not a typographical error.

Before Tennessee, DeVoe coached at Virginia Tech and Wyoming. After Tennessee, he was interim coach at Florida and logged 12 years at Navy. In 31 seasons as a head coach, his record was 512-389.

Don and his wife, Ana, still live in Annapolis.


In comparing coaches, Kentucky has stopped celebrating the departure of John Calipari, owner of 33 conference titles, 57 NCAA tournament victories, six Final Fours, one national championship and other achievements vacated for rules violations.

Wildcat faithful are still trying to figure out what to say about the next man up, Mark Pope, imported from Brigham Young. He has zeroes in all those categories where Calipari claims fame.


Alabama football has named Dr. Will Wright director of applied science. Tennessee does not have one of those – yet.

Wright, who holds a doctorate in human performance, has been an assistant strength coach for the Tide. He previously worked with wheelchair basketball, wheelchair tennis and para track and field.

We’ll get back to you when we find out what he does for football.


Power Plant: The state of Georgia just sent word that it has produced 29 consensus football all-Americans since 2002. Tennessee got away with two, Eric and Evan Berry, sons of former Vol James Berry.

An earlier prize, Chip Kell, represents the Vols in the college football hall of fame.

Three pretty good UT quarterbacks came out of Georgia: Josh Dobbs from Alpharetta, Bobby Scott from Rossville and Dewey Warren from Savannah.

There were other big-name recruits: Willie Gault from Griffin, Andy Spiva from Chamblee, Walter Chadwick from Decatur, Mallon Faircloth from Cordele, Jim Weatherford from Dalton, David Allen from Athens, the list goes on and on.

Go UT recruiters – to Georgia.


Name Game: Trilly Donovan, masked man of internet college basketball information, says he is pleased to present his finest five names from the great game: Poohpha Warakulnukroh, Central Florida; Legends Stamps, Florida A&M; Supreme Cook, Fairfield; Churchill Bounds, Canisius; and Freds Pauls Bagatskis, Texas-Arlington via Georgia Tech.

Adieu Aidoo did not meet consideration criteria.


Tragedy: Blaise Taylor, son of former Vol coach Trooper Taylor, has been arrested in Utah on a grand jury indictment with two charges of first-degree murder.

According to police, Taylor, 27, is charged with poisoning his girlfriend, Jade Benning, and her unborn child. Taylor worked for the Tennessee Titans in times past.


Oh my: TV average audience for the South Carolina-Iowa women’s NCAA basketball championship game was four million more viewers than UConn-Purdue men attracted.

Nothing like that had ever happened. Advertising buyers are nervous.

Paid admissions? The women drew a sellout crowd of 18,300 to Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Cleveland. The men attracted 74,423 to State Farm Stadium in Phoenix.

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


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