Bob Woodruff was athletic director at Tennessee from 1963-85 as the Vol all-sports program became one of the nation's finest.
Nov. 2, 2001
KNOXVILLE -- Bob Woodruff, Athletics Director at the University of Tennessee (1963-85) and head coach at Baylor (1947-49) and Florida (1950-59), died early Thursday evening (Nov. 1, 2001) at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center in Knoxville. He was 85, born March 14, 1916.
"I am saddened by the loss of a great man from the University of Tennessee," UT Athletics Director Doug Dickey said. "Bob Woodruff lived a long and wonderful life and was deeply regarded by those in intercollegiate athletics. He was a wonderful friend and mentor to me, beyond any measure I could ever repay to him. He was a true friend who was one of the tremendous minds in intercollegiate athletics for many years.
"He loved Tennessee and did everything he could to enhance its presence in intercollegiate athletics. I had a wonderful teacher, who was like a father. Our thoughts are with the family."
A native of Athens, Ga., Woodruff played tackle at Tennessee under Major Robert R. Neyland from 1936-38 on teams that won 23 and lost 5, and began a career in coaching that included stops as an assistant at Tennessee (1939 and 1941), Army (1944-45), and Georgia Tech (1946), before the Baylor job opened up. His record as head coach at Baylor was 19-10-2 and was 54-42-6 at Florida.
Woodruff became AD at Tennessee after being an assistant coach under former teammate Bowden Wyatt in 1961 and 1962. During his tenure at UT, the Vol all-sports program became one of the SEC's and nation's best as Woodruff emphasized a basic philosophy: "Any sport worth having is worth supporting."
"The University's success in athletics the past four decades owes largely to Coach Woodruff's foresight in gauging the public's willingness to support a diversified all-sports program," said Haywood Harris, longtime Sports Information Director. "He built the necessary facilities and then hired good people as coaches. His pioneering efforts will continue to pay dividends to the University for years to come. On the personal level, Coach Woodruff was a genial, hearty man who was steadfast in living by his principles."
Woodruff's first wife, the former Margaret Artley, died in 1977. Woodruff is survived by his wife of 21 years, Gertrude Handley (Trudy) Woodruff. There are three sons, Bill, Mark and Joe, a daughter, Meg, stepson, Mark Hughes, and four grandchildren.