The greatest game ever played in Stokely?

  By Tom Mattingly There was a time in college basketball even the biggest games weren’t on television. That stands in stark contrast to today, when nearly every game is on somebody’s network, oftentimes at all hours of the day or night. That was not the case,...

Getting names on the arena

By Tom Mattingly In the days and weeks following Knoxville’s 1982 World’s Fair, there was local political wrangling about an arena that finally had Gov. Lamar Alexander hand the UT administration a decree. They had better get their act together —and soon—if they...

‘A heck of a story’

By Tom Mattingly Sometimes the greatest moments in sports commentary come when you least expect them. You can often experience some amazing nuggets of eternal truths that will stick with you forever. “You can hear a lot by listening,” Yogi Berra once said. Lindsey...

Answers to a significant question

By Tom Mattingly The phone rang, and the caller posed the question succinctly. Who might be among the most fascinating persons you dealt with in all of Tennessee athletics? It only took a few minutes to come up with the answer. Lindsey Nelson was always a delight,...

SEC hoops on television

  By Tom Mattingly Does anybody remember the basketball games produced by TVS, the early SEC syndicated television package, a highlight of Saturday afternoons in January and February in the 1960s and 1970s, sometimes into March? If you wanted to see SEC hoops on...

The Wizard of Orange

By Tom Mattingly Ray Mears not only made orange a household color in Knoxville, but wherever else Vol fans might have gathered. Orange became a respectable color to wear to the games. He coined the phrase “Big Orange Country,” despite assertions to the contrary....