Old Vol Dave Stottlemeyer dead at 83

Marvin Westwestwords

Dave Stottlemeyer, another special link to the best days of the Bowden Wyatt era of Tennessee football, has died at age 83 at his home in Sarasota, Florida.

Stottlemeyer was a center and linebacker for the undefeated 1956 Volunteers and a standout on the very good 1957 team. He was a two-year teammate of the late John Majors.

Dave Stottlemeyer

“Dave was a really fine football player,” said Jim Smelcher, a tackle on the 1955-56-57 teams. “He was maybe 6-1 and 195. None of us were very big by today’s standards, but Dave was an excellent technician, a very good blocker and a really smart linebacker.”

Stottlemeyer and his roommate, tailback Bobby Gordon, were part of a historical tidbit, supposedly the first Tennessee plays from the T formation. Going back to the early days of coach Bob Neyland, the Vols had been and were a single-wing team.

As Smelcher recalls, Tennessee had stopped a Georgia Tech drive very close to the goal. Without saying anything to anybody, Gordon lined up three times as a quarterback under center and took the snap with the idea of protecting the football and wedging out what yardage he could get.

“Coach Wyatt was the most surprised person in the stadium,” said Smelcher.

“It turned out Stottlemeyer and Gordon had practiced the T formation exchanges in their dorm room just in case a situation called for such a play.”

There was another historical touch to the last game for Stottlemeyer and the ’57 team, a 3-0 victory over Texas A&M in the Gator Bowl. That was Paul “Bear” Bryant’s last appearance with the Aggies before his move to Alabama.

After college, Stottlemeyer returned to Sarasota and joined the family lumber business. He later started a garage door company.

The Stottlemeyers moved from Anderson, Ind., to Sarasota in 1950. Dave played at Sarasota High. Of his time at Tennessee, he often said his best day was when he met the love of his life, Mary Temple Biggs. They were married 59 years.

Dave is survived by Mary and sons Mark and Scott. A private memorial service will be held at a later date.

Marvin West welcomes reader comments or questions. His address is marvinwest75@gmail.com

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