Vols football head coaches in SEC era

Vols football head coaches in SEC era

December 8th, 2012 by David Paschall in Sports College08football

Vols T logo

Vols T logo


Seasons: 1933-34

Record: 15-5 overall, 10-3 SEC

Memories: Neyland had three coaching stints at Tennessee, the first of which began in 1926. He was an amazing 61-2-5 in his first seven seasons that predated the inception of the SEC, including unbeaten strings of 33 and 28 games.


Season: 1935

Record: 4-5 overall, 2-3 SEC

Memories: Britton had been an ends coach and a scout under Neyland since 1926, and he was elevated for one season when Neyland was called to active duty in the Panama Canal Zone. When Neyland returned, Britton went back to being an assistant.


Seasons: 1936-40

Record: 43-7-3 overall, 25-4-2 SEC

Memories: Neyland's second stint produced three consecutive 10-0 regular seasons from 1938 to '40, with the '38 and '40 teams being recognized as national champions. His '39 team is the last in NCAA history not to allow a point during the regular season.


Seasons: 1941-45

Record: 32-5-2 overall, 15-3-1 SEC

Memories: Neyland's second stint was interrupted by World War II, and the Volunteers did not field a team in 1943. Barnhill went 0-3-1 against Alabama but was undefeated against everyone else in the league, and he left upon Neyland's return to become head coach at Arkansas.


Seasons: 1946-52

Record: 54-17-4 overall, 27-8-3 SEC

Memories: Neyland's retirement from the military enabled him to focus full time on football, and he guided the Vols to a consensus national championship in 1951. His final three teams went to the Cotton, Sugar and Cotton bowls before poor health in 1952 forced his move to athletic director, a position he held until his death in 1962.


Seasons: 1953-54

Record: 10-10-1 overall, 4-7-1 SEC

Memories: A tailback on Neyland's teams in the early 1930s and a member of Neyland's staff since 1946, Robinson was elevated to head coach after Neyland stepped aside. Robinson lasted just two seasons but returned to Knoxville in 1960 as an assistant under Bowden Wyatt.


Seasons: 1955-62

Record: 49-29-4 overall, 29-23-4 SEC

Memories: An All-America end on Tennessee's 1938 team, Wyatt had successful coaching stints at Wyoming and Arkansas before returning to Knoxville. He led the Vols to a 10-0 regular season and an SEC title in 1956, but his last five teams went 25-22-3 and did not qualify for a bowl.


Season: 1963

Record: 5-5 overall, 3-5 SEC

Memories: McDonald had been an assistant under Wyatt since 1955 when he was elevated to head coach. The former Ohio State football and basketball standout served for one season before remaining at Tennessee as an assistant athletic director.


Seasons: 1964-69

Record: 46-15-4 overall, 23-10-4 SEC

Memories: The former Florida quarterback was hired off the Arkansas staff to rebuild the Vols and did just that, going 4-5-1 in his first season and 8-1-2 in his second. The 1967 and '69 Vols won SEC titles, and Tennessee defeated Alabama three straight seasons before Dickey left to coach his alma mater.


Seasons: 1970-76

Record: 59-22-2 overall, 22-18-1 SEC

Memories: Battle became the youngest head coach in college football when he took over at age 28, and his first three teams were 31-5 overall but 1-2 against Alabama and 0-3 against Auburn. The program began to slide, and Battle was out after a 6-5 season in 1976 that included a sixth straight loss to the Crimson Tide.


Seasons: 1977-92

Record: 116-62-8 overall, 57-40-3 SEC

Memories: An All-America halfback for the Vols during the 1950s, Majors coached Pittsburgh to the 1976 national title before returning to his alma mater. The rebuilding took time, but Majors led Tennessee to three SEC titles (1985, '89 and '90), two Sugar Bowls, one Cotton Bowl and one Fiesta Bowl. He was just 4-12 against Alabama, however.


Seasons: 1992-2008

Record: 152-52-1 overall, 98-36 SEC

Memories: Fulmer played at Tennessee and was a 14-year assistant under Majors before overseeing the program's best extended run since the Neyland era. The Vols had a 45-5 stretch during the mid-to-late 1990s that was highlighted by the '98 national title. He had nine 10-win seasons and a seven-game winning streak over Alabama but suffered two losing seasons in his final four years.


Season: 2009

Record: 7-6 overall, 4-4 SEC

Memories: The former Southern Cal offensive coordinator and Oakland Raiders head coach had a brief stint that was explosive and controversial. Kiffin was reprimanded by the SEC for his verbal jabs at Florida's Urban Meyer and signed a volatile class that quickly imploded, but he did a nice job in developing quarterback Jonathan Crompton and nearly knocked off eventual BCS champ Alabama.


Seasons: 2010-12

Record: 15-21 overall, 4-19 SEC

Memories: Dooley's 41.7-percent win clip was the program's worst in more than a century, and he lost 14 of his last 15 SEC games. A four-game winning streak to end the 2010 regular season and clinch a Music City Bowl bid, and an impressive opening win over North Carolina State this year served as Dooley's highlights.