Stop the clock: UT hall of fame honors Stan Huntsman

Marvin Westwestwords

Nice news that the University of Tennessee Athletics Hall of Fame is getting around to Stan Huntsman.

The hall is 24 years old.

Based on the great need for accuracy in reporting, I tell you the hall was called something else and limited to women for the first 15 years. In 2016 it was discovered that men are people, too, and some could be included even though the risk of misbehavior and embarrassment might be higher.

In an effort to catch up to the mismatch in numbers, somebody in the Dave Hart administration rounded up the names of 65 or 70 men and tossed them in. Some you probably never heard of but some were borrowed from the College Football Hall of Fame plus Ernie and Bernie, Condredge Holloway, Richmond Flowers and several others.

Notably missing was Robert Reese Neyland – but he made it in 2017. So did Todd Helton.

Why there was no 2018 class escapes me but it could have been because the university was paying the front part of Butch Jones’ buyout and scrambling to hire Jeremy Pruitt and there was no extra dinner money or spare time.

The honors program was resumed in 2019 and had a one-year run.

There was no class in 2020, 2021 or 2022. I wondered if the hall was full or forgotten. I concluded it must not be very important. Closure could be blamed on Covid. Many other things were and are.

To the credit of Dr. Danny White, the UT hall of fame was dusted off and reopened last year. To my personal delight, Chuck Rohe was admitted before he died. He was outstanding as track coach and smart, very smart, as a Doug Dickey football recruiter.

It is again very personal that Huntsman is being remembered. All he did was coach Tennessee track and cross-country for 15 years. His teams won 31 Southeastern Conference championships, the 1972 NCAA cross-country crown and the 1974 NCAA outdoor track title. Stan seldom raised his voice but developed an assortment of all-Americans.

Not incidentally, Texas purchased his services in 1985. Bob Woodruff, then Tennessee athletics director, decided Huntsman wasn’t worth what the Longhorns offered in salary and support. What Stan did in Texas says Bob miscalculated.

What Stan did internationally was remarkable. He was USA track coach for the 1977 World Cup, the 1983 World Championships and the 1988 Olympics. He was an assistant at the 1976 and 1980 Olympics.

Long before UT finally called his name for this local honor, Huntsman was inducted into the U.S. track and field hall of fame, the NCAA hall of fame, the Texas hall and the Tennessee sports hall of fame.

At the two schools, Huntsman was six times national coach of the year.

Better late than never, you say? Huntsman died in 2016.

The UT hall of fame will also honor Jim Haslam. Thankfully, he is still alive. I believe he is the university’s most generous donor. Dollar records are not announced but if you think money isn’t important to athletics, review Dr. Danny’s staff of hired guns, oops, professional fund-raisers.

In addition to millions, Haslam has given time, too, decades of leadership. He served long as a UT trustee and was prominent on the athletics board.

Jim was a tackle for three of the best Volunteer football teams and 1952 captain. He and Mack Franklin are the survivors of the Neyland era.

Just for the record, Haslam does not meet official hall criteria. He is called a legacy inductee.

Former defensive tackle John Henderson is in this honors class. He was an all-American, SEC defensive player of the year 2000 and winner of the Outland Trophy as the best interior lineman in the country. He’s been waiting since the beginning – of time.

Headed for the hall are former softball player Sarah Fekete-Bailey, basketball player Sheila Frost, volleyball player Julie Knytych and another personal favorite, Ann Baker Furrow, excellent golfer, better person.

Ann earned a full scholarship and played on the men’s golf team in 1964 and 1965 because there was no women’s team. She ranked No. 3 as a Volunteer, far more than an ornament. She was competitive in the big league, runner-up in the 1962 U.S. Golf Association National Amateur tournament. She elsewhere won a collection of trophies.

She was the first recipient of a Neyland Scholarship and the first woman appointed to the UT Board of Trustees. She joined at age 26 and served for 18 years. If you are keeping score, she was the first female commencement speaker. That was 1971.

If you are keeping score, part 2, she endowed a scholarship as a way of giving back what was awarded her. The main road leading into Sorority Village at UT is named Ann Baker Furrow Boulevard.

Like Haslam, Ann does not fit the script. She is called a trailblazer inductee.

The class of ’24 will be formally inducted on Friday at Regas Square Events. It seems to be a private affair. There has been no drum roll to sell tickets. Whether fans can buy their way in remains a secret. Honorees will be presented on Saturday at the Tennessee-Missouri baseball game.

Let us hope the hall builds on this limited success. All in favor of Eric Berry as a sometime honoree, say “aye.”

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


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