Nathan Dougherty's impact on the playing field and the classroom was one of huge recognition.
The Tennessee guard never had thoughts of playing football until his second year on The Hill, and then he made the squad on his first tryout in 1906. That was the year the forward pass was made legal.
After a 1-6-2 season, Dougherty helped boost the Vols' record the next two years, earning All-Southern selections. Tennessee put together records of 7-2-1 and 7-2 before falling back to 1-6-2 in 1909. But it was the 1909 season that Dougherty showed a glimpse of his leadership abilities by captaining the football, basketball and track teams all at the same time. In fact, Dougherty helped form the first ever Tennessee basketball squad that very year and for his efforts on the gridiron, Dougherty was named to the FWAA Southeast Area All-Time Team (1869-1919).
Upon graduating, Dougherty earned his master's degree and taught classes at Cornell before returning to Knoxville in 1916 as an associate engineering professor. He later became Dean of the College of Engineering (1940-56) and Chairman of the UT Athletics Board, a position he held for 40 years. Dougherty was influential in the design of Shields-Watkins Field and also was one of the primary engineers in building Tennessee football into a national program with his hiring of Gen. Robert R. Neyland in 1925 as an assistant coach. The following year, Neyland was promoted to head coach and history was made.
His mark in engineering can be seen daily at one of the University's engineering buildings, appropriately named Nathan W. Dougherty Hall.