Wednesday, April 19, 2017

R.I.P.: Former Vols Radio Voice Bill Anderson

Bill Anderson
Bill Anderson, co-captain of Tennessee’s 1957 football team, who later played for the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl I and was the longtime football color analyst with John Ward on Vol Radio Network broadcasts for three decades, passed away Tuesday.

Anderson, who lived in Knoxville, was 80-years-old.

“It is indeed a sad day for the University of Tennessee and the Vol Network with the passing of Bill Anderson,” UTAD Director of Broadcasting Bob Kesling said. “For three decades, Bill and John Ward painted the picture on the radio for many of the greatest moments in Tennessee football history. Bill’s great knowledge and understanding of the game and his passion for Tennessee football added so much to each broadcast.

Anderson was born in Hendersonville, North Carolina, and came to UT from Manatee High School in Bradenton, Florida. He played wingback/end at Tennessee under coach Bowden Wyatt from 1955-57 and was a member of Tennessee’s 1956 SEC Championship team that finished the season ranked No. 2 in the country. Tennessee amassed a record of 24-7-1 during his playing career and played in the Sugar and Gator bowls. As a standout end for the Vols, Anderson was selected to play in the 1958 Senior Bowl. He was selected in the third round of the 1958 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins and played in the nation's capital from 1958-63, earning All-Pro honors in 1959 and 1960. Anderson was the team’s Rookie of the Year in 1958 and its Player of the Year in 1959.

Anderson retired briefly from the NFL to become Tennessee's offensive ends coach in 1964 under first-year head coach Doug Dickey. He was coaxed back to the NFL, however, by legendary Green Bay Packers head coach Vince Lombardi the following that 1964 season. Anderson then played at Green Bay in 1965 and 1966. Both teams were NFL champions, and the 1966 squad became world champions by winning Super Bowl I.

In 1968, at Dickey’s and UT athletic director Bob Woodruff’s recommendation, Anderson was teamed with John Ward as the football analyst on the Vol Network. During 31 years together, the duo endeared themselves to Tennessee alumni and fans around the globe and earned a massive following.

“The Vol Network and University of Tennessee fans have lost a family member and a giant of a man today in the passing of Bill Anderson,” IMG/Vol Network General Manager Steve Early said. “Bill was a Hall of Famer in every sense of the word. So many of us grew up hanging on his breakdown of what happened, and many times what was about to happen. He will be forever missed, and our thoughts and prayers are with his wonderful family.”

An avid golfer, Anderson was a member of both the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame and the Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame. In 2013, he was recognized along with his former Green Bay teammates at Lambeau Field in a reunion of the 1965-67 NFL championship teams.

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