General Robert Neyland Papers
The collection consists of Neyland's personal files, photographs, correspondence, newspaper clippings, an autobiographical manuscript of his college days, service records, scrapbooks, and yearbooks. Newspaper clippings, and publications contain information about Neyland's UT career and U. S. Army career. There are service records and papers concerning his time in the U. S. Army. Possibly most interesting are 2 ledgers containing Neyland's handwritten notes on various teams, hand-diagrammed plays, notes on player progress and other fascinating insights into his coaching style. The photograph collection includes Neyland and his family, his coaching career, Army photographs, and other various UT sports. Of particular interest, there are photographs of the UT football team and coaches in Hollywood just before the 1940 Rose Bowl, showing the team with famous celebrities such as Lana Turner, Florence Rice, and Clarence Brown.
- 1802-1963 (Bulk 1909-1963)
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Collections are stored offsite, and a minimum of 2 business days are needed to retrieve these items for use. Researchers interested in consulting any of the collections are advised to contact Special Collections.
Conditions Governing Use
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7.5 Linear Feet
The collection consists of Neyland's personal files, photographs, correspondence, newspaper clippings, an autobiographical manuscript of his college days, service records, scrapbooks, and yearbooks. Possibly most interesting are 2 ledgers containing Neyland's handwritten notes on various teams, hand-diagrammed plays, notes on player progress and other fascinating insights into his coaching style.
Robert Neyland grew up in East Texas. His first brush with local fame came as a semi-pro baseball player while in High School. He attended Texas A&M for one year, playing football and baseball under Charles Moran, former University of Tennessee stand-out. In the fall of 1911, Neyland took an examination to be a nominee for West Point. Neyland entered West Point in the summer of 1912. His next four years were filled with sports accolades. Neyland won 20 consecutive games pitching for Army, was a starting end on the Cadets' 1914 National Championship team and was the academy's heavyweight boxing champ his final three years. Upon graduation, Neyland served with distinction in France in World War I, on the Mexican border against Pancho Villa and in Asia during World War II, rising to the rank of Brigadier General. He was highly decorated by several governments for his work coordinating supplies to war-ravaged, isolated China.
Neyland came to the University of Tennessee in September of 1925 as an Assistant Professor of Military Science and Tactics. He also served as the assistant football coach and became the team's head coach in 1926. Neyland coached until 1934 when he was called to active duty in the Panama Canal Zone. He returned to coach in 1936 and was recalled to active duty in World War II. Neyland came back to coach in 1946 until 1952, and he then had to retire due to poor health and became the athletic director until his death in 1962. During his career as football coach, the team won the national championship in 1952, and his complete record was 173-31-12.
Neyland's career as the football coach of the Volunteers covered 21 seasons, twice interrupted by military duty. He was a contemporary of legendary coach Paul Bear Bryant and long considered his biggest rival.
Collection consists of three boxes and twelve oversized scrapbooks divided into six series: Personal and Biographical, Correspondence, UT Sports Material, Articles, Clippings, and Essays, Photographs and Prints, Other Personal Publications, and Oversize Scrapbooks.
The Neyland family donated these papers to the Special Collections Library in 1992.
Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA