(WBIR) On Monday night, friends and family will celebrate the life of Bobby Denton, whose voice has become synonymous with "Football Time in Tennessee."
A funeral service for the former general manager of WIVK and longtime Neyland Stadium PA announcer will be held in Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church at 7 p.m. Monday.
WIVK is asking people to fly their University of Tennessee flags throughout the day to honor the voice that ignited Neyland Stadium with pride for decades.
It's hard to think of UT football without thinking of the Clinton-native. For nearly five decades, Denton was the voice of Vol nation. With five simple words - "It's football time in Tennessee" - Denton was able ignite a roar powerful enough to make Neyland Stadium rumble.
"Bobby's role as the PA Announcer for 48 years in Neyland Stadium has endeared him to millions of Vols 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 embedded in our treasure of memories along with Neyland, Majors, Fulmer, John Ward, Pat Summitt, and others," WIVK said in a official statement on his death. "Bobby Denton was truly a giant in the radio industry and a treasure for the state of Tennessee."
His long resume also includes work at WIVK, Talladega Speedway and the Country Music Award Association.
WIVK announced Wednesday that Denton passed away after battling cancer. The radio station aired a hour-long tribute Thursday morning to the man who catapulted many country musicians into stardom, including Dolly Parton.
"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," said Parton in a statement. "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."
Already Denton's legacy is living on: WIVK will be inducted into the Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame on May 3. Ken Salyer, WIVK's vice president and market manger, said the radio station will accept the award on behalf of Denton, Jim Dick, and other legends who made WIVK one of the most honored stations in the U.S.
A scholarship fund has been set up in Denton's name at the UT College of Communications and Information. Donations will fund a scholarship endowment, which will go to a broadcast student in the School of Journalism every year.
If you would also like to honor Denton, you can donate to his scholarship fund. Anyone interested in contributing to the endowment can contact Patrick Powell, director of development for the college, at 865-974-3211 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mail donations to:
University of Tennessee College of Communications and Information
1345 Circle Park Drive
Knoxville, TN 37996
Attention: Dean Michael Wirth
WATCH BOBBY DENTON'S 2011 HOMEGROWN
A few years ago, Beth Haynes had the privilege of sitting down with Bobby Denton for a HomeGrown segment.