Dec. 5, 2006
As a packed house of more than 1,500 in the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City looked on, Chip Kell, former Tennessee All-America offensive lineman, was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame Tuesday.
Joining Kell were fellow Tennessee Hall of Famers Doug Dickey, Frank Emanuel and Steve Kiner. Dick Williams, 1968 Tennessee captain and president of the East Tennessee Chapter of the Hall of Fame, along with head coach Phillip Fulmer were also on hand.
Tennessee athletic directors Mike Hamilton and Joan Cronan were accompanied by staffers Tyler Johnson, Greg Hulen and David Blackburn. Johnson serves as the coordinator of Hall of Fames for the department. In addition, University trustee Jim Murphy, and his wife Marie, along with former All-Southeastern Conference fullback Andy Kozar joined the group for a dinner hosted by Hamilton on Monday evening.
"I was fortunate to be adopted by a family where my father was a football coach for 38 years," Kell said. "Football obviously runs deep in my family. The two words in reflecting on my football career are trust and dependability. You develop a great respect for those who bleed and sweat out there every day with you in football. It also brings people together. I hadn't seen Mike Phipps in 37 years, though I'm probably dating both of us when I say that. I am flattered and honored and proud to be accepting this honor on behalf of my teammates and the University of Tennessee."
Kell was a two-time All-America and an All-SEC selection in each of his three seasons at UT. He helped lead the Vols to 28 wins during his career, which he capped with a 34-13 blowout win over Air Force in the 1971 Sugar Bowl.
He anchored a crew that opened holes allowing running back Curt Watson to pace the Vols attack for three seasons - including an 807-yard campaign in 1969. The following season the Vols rushed for 2,365 yards, the highest output in 19 years for UT. The offensive line also was integral in turning the Vols offense into a dynamic group that also set a school record for passing yards (1,996).
Others in the Class of 2006 were coach Bobby Bowden (Howard, West Virginia, Florida State) and players Bobby Anderson (Colorado), Bennie Blades (Miami, Fla.), Carl Eller (Minnesota), Steve Emtman (Washington), Thomas Everett (Baylor), Chad Hennings (Air Force), Mike Phipps (Purdue), Mike Rozier (Nebraska), Jeff Siemon (Stanford), Bruce Smith (Virginia Tech), Emmitt Smith (Florida) & Charlie Ward (Florida State).
Kell led the Vols to an SEC championship in 1969 and helped them finish No. 4 in the nation the following year. UT lost just five games during Kell's three years - none of which came on Shields-Watkins Field.
He was drafted in the 17th round by the San Diego Chargers in the 1971 NFL Draft, and Kell played for two seasons with the Edmonton Eskimos in the CFL before starting his coaching career.
The Vols now have 21 members in the College Hall, 19 players and coaches Robert R. Neyland and Doug Dickey. Two Vols have also been honored for their careers as both Tennessee players and as head coaches at UT and elsewhere, Bobby Dodd (Georgia Tech) and Bowden Wyatt (Wyoming, Arkansas and Tennessee).
Vols in the College Football Hall of Fame are Gene McEver (1928-29, 1930, inducted 1954), Beattie Feathers (1931-33, inducted 1955), Gen. Robert R. Neyland (inducted 1956 as head coach, 1926-34, 1936-40, 1946-52), Herman Hickman (1929-31, inducted 1959), Bobby Dodd (1928-30, inducted 1959 as player, inducted 1993 as coach), Bob Suffridge (1938-40, inducted 1961), Nathan W. Dougherty (1906-09, inducted 1967), George Cafego (1937-39, inducted 1969), Bowden Wyatt (1936-38, inducted 1972 as player, inducted 1997 as coach at Wyoming, Arkansas and Tennessee), Hank Lauricella (1949-51, inducted 1981), Doug Atkins (1950-52, inducted 1985), John Majors (1954-56, inducted 1987), Bob Johnson (1965-67, inducted 1989), Ed Molinski (1938-40, inducted 1990), Steve DeLong (1962-64, inducted 1993), John Michels (1950-52, inducted 1996), Steve Kiner (1967-69, inducted 1999), Reggie White (1980-83, inducted 2002), Doug Dickey (1964-69, inducted 2003) and Frank Emanuel (1963-65, inducted 2004).