Oct. 14, 2011
Longtime broadcaster and radio president George Mooney passed away in Knoxville on Thursday night. He was 91.
Mooney, who served as the Vols play-by-play announcer from 1952-67, was also president and operator of seven radio stations, including Knoxville's WKGN, and stations in Nashville, Birmingham, Ala., Pensacola, Fla., and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Along with sidekick Bob Foxx, Mooney was at the mic as Tennessee's Vol Network grew to be one of the largest collegiate radio networks in the country.
"George's passion and enthusiasm for Tennessee football and the university never wavered," said Bob Kesling, current Voice of the Vols. "He called some of the greatest wins in Tennessee football history on the Vol Network in the 1950's and 60's.
"In the pre-television days, George was the direct link to Tennessee football for thousands upon thousands of Vol fans on a fall Saturday afternoon. Until his final day, he was a great ambassador for Tennessee football."
One of Mooney's greatest claims to fame is his place as the founder of the Vol Navy in 1962. He first started piloting his runabout up the Tennessee River from his home in order to beat Knoxville game day traffic.
Little did he know he would become the inspiration for one of college football's most unique traditions.
Mooney was selected as Tennessee's Most Outstanding Broadcaster by the National Sportscasters and Sports Writers Association three times during his 16-year broadcasting career, in 1959, 1961 and 1962.
In 1968, Mooney received the Amateur Football Award presented by the East Tennessee Chapter of the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame. He won the prestigious Lindsey Nelson Broadcasting Award in 2010. The award is presented by the Knoxville Quarterback Club for contributions to the broadcasting profession.
Mooney retired from broadcasting in 1967 and sold his radio interests and spent considerable time in Anguilla, a Caribbean Island in the British West Indies.
Mooney has four children -- Kevin, Patrick, Comrie and Deirdre -- as well as six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
The family will receive friends on Tuesday (Oct. 18) from 1:30 until 2:30 p.m. at All Saints Catholic Church on Cedar Bluff Road. A funeral mass will follow at 2:30 p.m. at Rose Mortuary. Mann's Heritage Chapel is in charge.