KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Chattanooga Mocs and Tennessee Vols have one of the oldest and one-sided football rivalries in the history of each program.

The generally-friendly series goes back to 1899, although the official record book begins in 1907 when the school changed its name to the University of Chattanooga.

By any measure, there is no game or post-game in history quite like the matchup on Nov. 8, 1958.

Bowden Wyatt's young Vols squad limped into the game with a 2-4 record trying to avoid a third consecutive loss.  An experienced Chattanooga team rolled into Knoxville, led by future pro quarterback Johnny Green.

Johnny Green Chattanooga Quarterback Moccasins Upset Vols 1958
Photo of Chattanooga quarterback Johnny Green with headline from the Knoxville Journal forecasting a Mocs victory over the Vols in 1958.

The talented Mocs dominated the Vols by a larger margin than the score shows. Tennessee's only points came from a consolation touchdown with a few seconds left in the game. Then the Mocs blocked the extra point for a victorious final score of 14-6.

Chattanooga fans set their sights on splitting the Tennessee uprights for a sports souvenir. 

As Mocs supporters dismantled the north goal post, a couple of fans got into a fight. Knoxville police intervened with what many considered undue force against all fans on the field.

KPD brought a paddy wagon on the field and began wrestling fans inside, hitting some with clubs.

Fired Up Mocs Humiliate Vols 14-6 1958 Tennessee Chattanooga
Collage of photos of Chattanooga players and coaches celebrating the 1958 victory over Tennessee in Knoxville.

The crowd of around 1,000 people was mostly made up of Chattanooga supporters, but included fans and students from both schools. The strong-arm tactics only riled the crowd as it chanted for police to turn the arrested fans loose.

Some tried to calm the crowd down, including Chattanooga's mayor. The paddy wagon was unable to make its way through the mob and more shoving ensued between fans and police.

People started throwing rocks and other objects, including a bottle that hit an officer in the head. The tires of the paddy wagon were slashed. The crowd refused to disperse. 

Knoxville Journal Skirmish Riot Knoxville Vols Chattanooga 1958
Knoxville police wrestle a fan into a paddy wagon after the Chattanooga victory over Tennessee in 1958. Photo from The Knoxville Journal's Al Roberts.

Knoxville police chief Joe Kimsey ordered officers to fire tear gas canisters into the dense crowd, which included women and children.

The mass of fans grew angrier, with one fan picking up a tear gas canister and throwing it back at the police.

The fire department arrived and soaked the crowd with water hoses. At one point the hoses were pointed at the windows of UT dorms because Tennessee students were shouting angrily at the police below.

When the riot was finished, 10 people were arrested and eight officers reported various injuries.  Knoxville safety director David Garrison said the wagon "looked as if it had been dynamited."

1958 Chattanooga Tennessee Vols Riot Arrests Police Hurt headlines
Newspaper clippings about arrests and police injuries after the Chattanooga football victory over Tennessee in 1958.

The melee between fans and police was over. The wild political war of words was just beginning.

University of Chattanooga president David Lockmiller told the Associated Press, "the whole thing was handled poorly [by Knoxville police]."

Hamilton County Sheriff James "Bookie" Turner was even stronger in his criticism.  He called Knoxville police officers a "poorly-trained goon squad" and accused them of inciting the riot.

"The police provoked it when they inserted with the boys taking the goal posts. It was the most unnecessary thing I've ever seen," said Sheriff Turner to the Associated Press.

Hamilton County Sheriff Turner Knoxville Goons 1958 Chattanooga Vols
Photo of 1958 Hamilton County Sheriff James Turner with newspaper headline calling Knoxville police officer goons for mishandling Mocs fan celebration after beating the Vols.

Knoxville's director of safety David Garrison fired back in the press by saying the only mistake by the police was they did not arrest Sheriff Turner.  Without offering any proof, the mudslinging took a legal turn when Garrison and Kimsey accused Sheriff Turner of egging rioters on.

Sheriff Turner told his attorney to file a $100,000 lawsuit against Garrison and Kimsey for libel and/or slander. 

At the University of Chattanooga, a group of around 100 students hanged Knoxville police chief Kimsey in effigy. The crowd did so while holding the goal post taken from Shields-Watkins Field and a large "Chattanooga 14, Tennessee 6" flag.  The students were given the Monday after the big victory off from classes.

Police Chief Hanged in Effigy 1958 Chattanooga Tennessee Vols
Newspaper photo of Chattanooga students hanging the Knoxville police chief in effigy in 1958. Photo superimposed over WBIR film of Shields-Watkins Field.

No football players were ever involved in any of the conflict.  From all accounts, both squads showed good sportsmanship.  

Things eventually died down and life went on for both squads. Incredibly, Tennessee immediately followed up its most embarrassing loss by defeating No. 7 Ole Miss. The Vols then lost to Kentucky and defeated No. 15 Vanderbilt to finish the season 4-6.

A couple of months after the game, the legislature reconvened in January 1959.  A lawmaker smiled as he introduced a resolution that would prevent any future conflict between the Mocs and Vols.  It said whenever Chattanooga beats Tennessee in the next 50 years, the Mocs are allowed to take UT's goal posts.

Tennessee Resolution Chattanooga Mocs Vols Goal Posts
Newspaper headlines from Jan. 1959 when a Tennessee lawmaker introduced a resolution to allow Mocs fans to tear down UT's goal posts.

Before the 1959 season began, crews at UT installed thicker goal posts embedded deep in concrete.

By the time the Vols hosted the rematch in October 1959, tempers cooled and most spoke about the 1958 game with a sense of humor.

Knox County's sheriff offered to jokingly place Sheriff Turner in protective custody during the 1959 game.

Sheriff Turner was quoted as saying he appreciated the offer, but he did not need protection. He then said part of the goal post taken from Knoxville in 1958 was  installed as a foot rail at a snack bar beneath Chattanooga's stadium, where any fan is invited "to put your foot on the Vols."

Sheriff Turner foot-rail snack bar Mocs Chattanooga Tennessee Vols football
Photo of 1958 Hamilton County Sheriff James Turner with newspaper quote saying the goal posts torn down at UT became a foot-rail at Chattanooga.

The Mocs and Vols continued their series through 1969 and Tennessee won every game. The next time the teams played was 2014, around five years after the comical resolution would have allowed Mocs fans to take UT's goal posts.

The University of Chattanooga joined the UT system in 1969 and changed its name to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.  This weekend's game will be only the third time Vols have played the UTC Mocs.

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