In this 1975 photo, a young Bill Battle was the head coach of the University of Tennessee football team.
Despite a 59-22-2 cumulative record at UT (1970-76) and three national Top 10 finishes, Battle was forced out as coach of the Volunteers after the 1976 season to make way for Tennessee favorite son Johnny Majors, who had just coached the University of Pittsburgh Panthers to a national championship.
Only 28 years old when he took over the job in Knoxville from departing coach Doug Dickey, Battle led the Vols to an 11-1 record his first season including a victory in the Sugar Bowl over Air Force. But after back-to-back 10-win seasons in 1971 and 1972, the Vols never again reached double-digit victories during his time in Knoxville.
In 1975, the year this photo was taken, the Vols finished the year 7-5 and did not go to a bowl game. They placed fifth in the then 10-team Southeastern Conference that year.
Still, the 1975 UT team managed victories over three Top 20 teams: Maryland, Auburn and LSU. But they also absorbed stinging home losses in Knoxville to North Texas State and Vanderbilt. The next season, the Vols slipped to 6-5 (2-4 in the conference) and Battle was out.
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However, Battle went on to become a pioneer in the business of sports licensing and eventually found his way back to his alma mater, the University of Alabama, as athletic director from 2013-17. Battle was on Paul "Bear" Bryant's first national championship team at Alabama in 1961.
The year this photo was made, Tommy West, a future University of Tennessee at Chattanooga head coach, was a linebacker on the UT team and one of two players drafted by the NFL that year.
Other players on the 1975 Tennessee team who eventually went on to play in the NFL included wide receiver Stanley Morgan, linebacker Andy Spiva, offensive lineman Mickey Marvin and defensive lineman Ron McCartney.
This and other photos in the "Remember When, Chattanooga?" series are viewable at ChattanoogaHistory.com. Follow the "Remember When, Chattanooga?" public group on Facebook.
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