(WBIR) Bobby Denton, the former general manager of WIVK and longtime PA announcer for Vol football games at Neyland stadium has passed away.
WIVK announced the news Wednesday morning on its website. For more than four decades, Denton would rally up Vol nation as the PA announcer at Neyland Stadium with five simple words--"It's football time in Tennessee."
In a 2011 Homegrown, the Clinton-native said he got a call one day from Gus Manning saying he got the PA gig...even though he didn't apply. Manning told Denton a committee had picked him to take on the role.
Extended interview: Bobby Denton Homegrown
He also spoke in detail about his long resume which included work at Talledega Speedway, the Country Music Award Association, and even a courtship with Dolly Parton. At WIVK's 50th celebration, Dolly even wrote a song for him, including the lyrics "Bobby Denton, king of the slick back hair."
Remembering Bobby Denton: East TN shares their favorite Denton memories
The radio station said Denton passed away after a fight with cancer. Funeral arrangements have yet to be announced.
WIVK said its planning to air a one-hour tribute to Denton on Thursday morning starting at 9 a.m.
Dolly Parton statement:
"I was so sad to hear of the passing of my friend Bobby Denton. He was so good to me early in my career as a deejay in Knoxville and gave me a boost when I needed it. Bobby was like that for so many artists and friends. He had a huge heart and gave so much of himself. He was not only an icon in East Tennessee, but he was respected throughout the broadcast industry. I love him and will miss him."
Here's WIVK's official statement about Bobby Denton's death:
"Like so many thousands, we at WIVK and Cumulus Knoxville, are heartbroken at the news of the loss of one of the most respected and revered people in our industry. Not only was Bobby Denton the General Manager of WIVK and Vice President of Dick Broadcasting for many years, but he was our friend, mentor, and leader. His kind-hearted and sincere involvement and support in hundreds of charity events and fund-raisers have touched the lives of millions of East Tennesseans.
Bobby's role as the PA Announcer for 48 years in Neyland Stadium has endeared him to millions of Vol fans across the state and beyond. Like so many others, Bobby's iconic voice and the legendary phrase "It's Football Time in Tennessee" will forever be imbedded in our treasure of memories along with Neyland, Majors, Fulmer, John Ward, Pat Summitt, and others. Bobby Denton was truly a giant in the radio industry and a treasure for the state of Tennessee.
Ironically, on May 3rd, WIVK will be inducted into the Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame. We will accept this award on behalf of Bobby Denton, Jim Dick, and the many legendary figures that preceded us and made WIVK one of the most decorated and distinguished stations in America..
On behalf of Cumulus Media Knoxville and our radio family, we extend our condolences to Bobby's family and ask everyone to respect their loss during this time.
Our stations are planning a one hour tribute simulcast on all of our stations for Thursday morning at 9AM.
Sincerely and humbly,
Cumulus Media Knoxville"
Statement of Gov. Bill Haslam on the death of Bobby Denton
Bobby has been a friend of mine for a long time, and he will be missed.
Generations of Tennessee football fans grew up listening to Bobby urging them to: "Pay these prices and pay no more."
Bobby may have passed away, but nobody will hear, "It's football time in Tennessee," and not think of him.
VIDEO: Classic HomeGrown segment on Bobby Denton