NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Five Tennessee football VFLs will be among the 11 inductees to be enshrined at the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame’s 51st Annual Induction Banquet on June 3, 2017, at the Omni-Nashville Hotel.
The 2017 hall of fame induction class features former Tennessee football stars Haskel Stanback, Chad Clifton, Al Wilson, Willie Gault and Graham Vowell (posthumous). Other members of the class include professional tennis player Candy Reynolds, former Vanderbilt men’s basketball star Will Perdue, former Vanderbilt women’s basketball star Chantelle Anderson, Major League Baseball umpire Julius Chuck Meriwether, former Vanderbilt women’s basketball star Ashley McElhiney Ayers and Negro League All-Star and Mexican Baseball Hall of Fame member Burnis “Wild Bill” Wright (posthumous).
Stanback was a running back for the Vols from 1971 to 1973, earning AP Second Team All-SEC honors in 1972 and 1973. He played in 33 games and had 391 career carries for 1,730 yards and 20 touchdowns. He enjoyed his best season in 1972 when he ran for 890 yards and 13 touchdowns (tied for sixth-most in a single season in UT history) on 183 carries, averaging 4.9 yards per carry. Stanbeck was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the fifth round (114th overall pick) of the 1974 NFL Draft and played for the Atlanta Falcons from 1974 to 1979, totaling 2,662 rushing yards and 25 touchdowns on 728 carries and 786 receiving yards and one score on 98 receptions.
Clifton, who is from Martin, Tennessee, enjoyed an All-SEC career at Tennessee from 1995-2000. After using his redshirt in 1995, he emerged as a fixture on the Vols’ offensive line, earning All-SEC honors in 1997 and 1998 and Sporting News All-American honors as a senior in 1999. UT went 43-7 with two SEC titles (1997, 1998) and one national title (1998) during Clifton’s four-year playing career at Rocky Top. This past summer, Clifton was inducted into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame in honor of his outstanding 12-year, 165-game NFL career with the Packers, who selected him the second round of the 2000 NFL Draft with the 44th overall pick. He was a two-time Pro Bowl selection (2007, 2010) and a member of the Packers’ Super Bowl XLV champion team.
Wilson played for the Vols from 1996 to 1998 and was an All-America selection from Tennessee’s 1998 undefeated national championship team and a two-time All-SEC honoree (1997, 1998). He finished his collegiate career with 272 tackles (188 solo), 11.0 sacks, eight fumbles forced, two fumbles recovered and two interceptions. Wilson was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the first round of the 1999 NFL Draft (31st overall selection) and played his entire eight-year career (1999 to 2006) for the Broncos. He was a five-time Pro Bowl selection (2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006) and finished his NFL career with 712 combined tackles (554 solo), 21.5 sacks, eight forced fumbles and seven fumbles recovered.
Gault was a two-sport standout for the Vols, starring both on the football team and the track and field team. He earned All-America honors as a senior in 1982, hauling in 50 receptions for 668 yards and four touchdowns. In 1980, he led the NCAA with three kickoff returns for touchdowns. Gault finished his UT career with 89 receptions for 1,482 yards and 10 touchdowns, 78 kick returns for 1,854 yards (23.8-yard average) and four touchdowns and 78 punt returns for 659 yards (8.4-yard average) and one touchdown. He was a prolific hurdler as well, setting 12 school track records, and was an 11-time All-American and a six-time SEC Champion from 1981 to 1983. Gault was the 1983 NCAA indoor champion in both the 60-yard dash (6.18) and 60-yard hurdles (6.98) and ran on Tennessee’s 1983 NCAA outdoor champion 4×100.
Vowell owns the distinction of being Tennessee’s first football All-American. He earned Walter Camp, Collier’s Magazine Third Team All-American honors and All-Southern honors in 1916. Vowell played mostly at end, was a member of Tennessee’s 1914 SIAA champion team and was the team captain for UT’s 8-0-1 team in 1916. Vowell died on Nov. 17, 1963, at the age of 68.
Tickets for the induction banquet can be purchased by calling Lynn Powell Toy at 615-202-3996 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Sports Hall of Fame, which held its first induction banquet in 1966, has as its goal to enshrine successful teams and individuals who display sportsmanship, good character and success, creating a legacy for others to follow. The Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame Museum is housed the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.
The Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, a 501-C3, pays tribute to all those who have made an impact through sports in Tennessee. The Hall subscribes to the principle that sports serve society’s highest ideals by educating youth through sports. It promotes the virtues of competition, fair play, friendship, solidarity, mutual understanding and respect for human dignity. The best way to honor our sports legends is to pass this legacy down to future generations.