Oct. 15, 2003
OAK RIDGE - Former Vol wide receiver Emmon Love was honored in ceremonies Oct. 3 on Blankenship Field in Oak Ridge as part of the 2003 Oak Ridge Sports Hall of Fame festivities.
Amid the homecoming festivities the Oak Ridge Sports Hall of Fame inducted six of its own members, and Love was never more pleased and honored by a community and a school that prepared him for the life he now leads.
"I grew up here," said Love. "My brothers, my sons, my wife and family are here. I grew up in this community, so this is a big honor. I wasn't that familiar with the Hall of Fame until the last year or two and when I started looking at who all was in the Hall of Fame, I am very honored to be honored by a bunch of people that I knew and looked up to that are in the Oak Ridge Sports Hall of Fame."
Love played wide receiver fro Oak Ridge High School from 1966-69. It has been 34 years since he donned the cardinal and gray for the Wildcats, but his records still stand. He currently ranks second in career receptions (73), yardage (1,076) and touchdowns (14). For his accomplishments he garnered all-state and All-America honors.
"I think the biggest thing is the rules have changed in blocking," said Love. "When you allow the offensive lineman to put his hands on the defensive guy, it changed all of the rules. Back when the records were set under the old rules, where you had to keep your hands in, most of the catches I made were down the field, they weren't screens. I would love to have done the stuff they do today. I think the biggest thing is the yardage and the catches were from the when the rules from 35 years ago, and yet the records still stand and I am probably most proud of that."
While at Oak Ridge he was also a three-year letterman in basketball. He led the Wildcats in scoring in two of those seasons. After his prep career was done, Love chose the Vols from over 90 other schools offering scholarships. He even had offers from basketball powers North Carolina, North Carolina State and Florida.
In his three years on The Hill, Love showcased his talents in a run-oriented offensive style leading the Vols in receptions in 1972 with 20 catches for 280 yards. In his three seasons as a varsity player, the Vols were 28-8 with three bowl appearances, going 2-1. Love was also a part of Tennessee history when Penn State came calling in 1972 at Neyland Stadium. The Vols rang up a 28-21 win in the first ever night game played at the hallowed ground.
Love said the experience at Oak Ridge prepared him for playing college ball at Tennessee, as did his education.
"When I left Oak Ridge I was prepared both academically and athletically," commented Love. "My first year at UT was not a hard year for me because most of the stuff I had already had hear at Oak Ridge. Athletically, I was prepared from both the middle school and the high school. From the people I was involved with, both the players and the coaches, from that perspective I was probably prepared better than most kids that came into the University of Tennessee."
Love still comes back to Oak Ridge when time permits and he is still an avid supporter of the programs at Oak Ridge High School. He not only gives of his time but also he gives back financially to support a program that he believes in. Love currently sits on the University of Tennessee Athletics Board while running his own business, American Benefits Corporation. He and his wife Sandy have two sons, Todd and Mark.