“The Best Press Box in the Country”

There was a time Tennessee’s Shields-Watkins Field, the old Crump Stadium in Memphis, and the now-demolished Orange Bowl were near locks as the three worst press boxes in college football as voted on by the Football Writers of America, gentlemen who should know what works in press areas… and what doesn’t.

When Tennessee built a new press box in 1962, it fell to Gus Manning to brief Gen. Neyland, then at the Ochsner Clinic in New Orleans, about the progress of the west side and press box addition. Neyland had apparently tired of the constant criticism of the press coop and let his feelings be known once construction was underway, with a stipulation, of course.

“By golly, we’re going to build a best press box that will be the best in the country, and, furthermore, let’s hope that it improves the quality of writing that is done there,” said “General,” as Gus called him.

The General died before there was a game played in 1962, covered from the new press box towering over the west side, but history will have to be the judge whether he got his wish.

Saturday, July 19, 2014