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Family and friends hold funeral to remember UT legend Gus Manning

Gus Manning died on Feb. 12 at the age of 99. On Monday, his family and friends held a funeral for him at the Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Family and friends said goodbye to University of Tennessee legend Gus Manning on Monday.

Manning died on Feb. 12 at the age of 99. On Monday, his family and friends held a funeral for him at the Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus in Knoxville.

"Gus... always faithful and close to the Lord, and shared love that the Lord gave him with you so generously," Fr. Eric Andrews said. "I have a funny feeling he might be very close at that gate if not through it already. If he doesn't need our prayers that we're praying for him today, I know he'll send them back with abundance."

The cathedral streamed the funeral for the public, which you can watch below.

Manning was a long-time fixture of the Tennessee Athletics Department and dedicated a legendary career that spanned nearly half a century with the Vols. Manning was the "last remaining administrative link with direct ties to Gen. Robert R. Neyland," according to UT. 

According to UT's "A True Volunteer Legend," Manning played a significant role in the athletics department. He was the sports information director, administrative assistant to senior associate athletics director, ticket manager and travel booker, among other titles. 

Manning worked closely with Gen. Robert R. Neyland. He was hired by Neyland as UT’s sports information director a year after graduating from the university. 

He continued his career at UT until his retirement in 2000. He worked with 11 coaches and eight athletics directors throughout his time at UT.

"This is a tremendous loss," longtime friend and former Tennessee football coach and administrator Phillip Fulmer said. "We've lost a major piece of Tennessee history. Gus Manning is an icon. His personality and humor made him a pleasure to be around. And his historical knowledge about all that makes Tennessee Athletics special was second-to-none. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family."

UT Athletics said Manning's legacy extended to the Southeastern Conference as he was a "longtime fixture at SEC functions and championship events and provided trusted counsel to several league commissioners."

Manning was born in Knoxville and started going to UT games at Shields-Watkins Stadium in the 1930s, according to the athletics department. He enlisted in the Marine Corps after graduating from Rule High School and served three years in the Pacific during World War II.

UT Athletics said Manning served as president of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame from 1987-89 and was inducted in 1994. He is also a member of the TSSAA Football Officials Hall of Fame and received the organization's 50-Year Award in 2002. Manning also was a member of the inaugural class of the Tennessee Sports Writers Association Hall of Fame in 2006.

He joined the selection committee of the Greater Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame in 1985 and was honored twice—earning special recognition in 1998 and receiving the Pat Summitt Ignite Greatness Award in 2018. He also received a service award from the UT Letterman's T-Club in 2015.

In 2019, he was inducted into the University of Tennessee Athletics Hall of Fame.

On June 22, 2015, Gate 16 at Neyland Stadium was officially named "The Gus Manning Gate" thanks to a gift in his honor by Peyton and Ashley Manning.

"My thoughts and prayers are with Gus's son, Sammy, and the entire family," Peyton Manning said. "I was honored to call Gus Manning my friend. No one has served the University of Tennessee better than Gus. He was the ultimate Volunteer, and he will be missed dearly. What a life! May he rest in peace."

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