Sept. 7, 2006

Tennessee's Retired Numbers

With future servicemen at Neyland Stadium on Saturday, Tennessee will honor four former Vols who gave their lives serving the country. Family members of Bill Nowling, Willis Tucker, Rudy Klarer and Clyde "Ig" Fuson will be on the field as UT permanently recognizes all four numbers for the Legends of Tennessee by unveiling a sign inside the stadium and a banner in the north concourse prior to kickoff against Air Force at 7 p.m.

No. 32 Bill Nowling, FB (1940-42)
    Nowling started for three years for the Vols at fullback, and played in the backfield for the 1940 national championship team coached by Gen. Robert Neyland.

    The Vols lost just four games during Nowling's three-year career at Rocky Top, and the '40 team also added an SEC title to the trophy case.

    Nowling, from St. Petersburg, Fla., died Aug. 9, 1944 while serving in World War II at the age of 23. Nowling's son, Bill Siviter, will represent him on Saturday.

No. 49 Rudy Klarer, G (1941-42)
    After backing up on the offensive line in 1941, Klarer became a starter in his second season at UT at guard.

    The Louisville native was a key member of the 1943 Sugar Bowl champions, but he left the team immediately after the win over Tulsa for Officer's Training in the Army at Fort Benning, Ga.

    Klarer was a 2nd Lieutenant and platoon leader in Germany during World War II. He was killed in action on Feb. 6, 1945, and Klarer received the Silver Star citation posthumously.

    Don Klarer, his brother, will be at Neyland Stadium to honor No. 49.

No. 61 Willis Tucker, C (1939-40)
    Tucker, a Knoxville High School graduate, played two years on the offensive line for a pair of dominant UT squads.

    After serving as a back-up at both guard and center for the 1939 team that ran through the regular season unbeaten, Tucker earned a letter on the national championship team the next year while also standing out as a sprinter for the track team. Tucker, who was named the top track athlete in Tennessee from 1900-50, lost just two games during his career at Rocky Top - and never lost a regular season game.

    Tucker was killed in action in Germany just prior to the Battle of the Bulge on Nov. 28, 1944 at the age of 26. Tucker's son, Mike Sanders, will be in attendance for the ceremony.

No. 62 Clyde "Ig" Fuson, FB (1942)
    Fuson played just one season for the Vols, sharing time with Nowling at fullback on the 1942 team that finished 9-1-1. The '42 team's only loss came at No. 4 Alabama, but the Vols responded by winning their last seven games - including a 14-7 win over favored Tulsa in the Sugar Bowl.

    Fuson, a native of Middlesboro, Ky., enlisted in the Army in 1943. He was killed in action in Germany on Dec. 4, 1944, while serving with the 84th Infantry Division.

    His niece Sandra Turner Connor and great nephew Jon Michael Nordquist will help honor Fuson's memory on Saturday.





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