Bill Battle’s last game at Tennessee was 38 years ago today, a 13-10 triumph at Vanderbilt. Vol players carried Battle off the field, just before Bill offered this observation to media covering the game.
“I told our players there are a lot definitions of class,” Battle said. “But to me, class is when they run you out of town and make you look like you’re leading the parade. That’s what I’d like to do. They helped me do that, and I appreciate that.”
The game itself was no classic, except to those who take any win over Vanderbilt as something good, given that the Commodores had won in Knoxville a year earlier. The Vols survived three fumbles and three interceptions, as well as a seemingly-nasty pre-game skirmish that was full of sound and fury and not much more.
The Battle Era ended 59-22-2, with a 4-1 record in bowl games.
When many in the Tennessee family gathered in 2004 for one of those video remembrance shows, with all kinds of good conversation and embellished sense of accomplishment, Bill Battle was right there front and center. He was still part of the tradition, still part of those men who have made the program what it is.
And that’s good.
Friday, Nov. 28, 2014