Tennessee legend Gus Manning reflects on historic UT-Alabama rivalry

Oct. 13, 2016: UT Athletics legend Gus Manning takes a look back at the historic rivalry between UT and Alabama.

Gus Manning has been a part of the Tennessee football program since Gen. Robert Neyland roamed the sideline.

Here's a look at why he says this Saturday's game against No. 1-ranked Alabama means so much to Tennesseans - and what the Vols have to do to win.

"They've got a great quarterback,” Manning said of the Crimson Tide's Jalen Hurts.

Manning been around the Vols football program since 1951.

"I worked around for the general as a practice field guard, and then they gave me some duties to do in sports publicity and that's where I got started at Tennessee,” Manning said.

He doesn't miss much.

"I haven't missed a home game since 1946, that's a bit before you were born,” Manning said.

Especially not a meeting with the Crimson Tide.

"The Alabama game is the number one game on our schedule each year,” said Manning.

The way Manning explains it, this rivalry sticks to fans because it's rich in history - and it's based on relationships and respect between the two schools and legendary coaches like Bear Bryant and Gen. Robert Neyland.

"Bear Bryant never beat Neyland, but they were great friends,” Manning said.

He also shared memories like in 1995 when young quarterback Peyton Manning led the Vols to a victory over the Tide in Birmingham.

"Not only is he a great football player, but he's one of the finest gentlemen to matriculate here at the University of Tennessee,” Manning said of one of his favorite players, Peyton Manning.

Gus Manning says the current success the Vols are having is due to the hard work of Coach Butch Jones and his staff to bring the right kind of players to Knoxville. He says it's not impossible, but it will take a spectacular effort for the Vols to get a win on Saturday.

"I’m not a very good prognosticator so you don't want my predictions, but I would like a W,” Gus Manning said.

Alabama and Tennessee also share recent coaching history.

Current Alabama Offensive Coordinator Lane Kiffin served as Tennessee's head coach for the 2009 season.

Manning says he has no ill will towards Kiffin and that he was good to work with when he was with the Vols.

(© 2016 WBIR)


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment