Former Vol Tight End Austin Denney Passes Away

Thursday, January 22, 2009 - by special report to The Chattanoogan

KNOXVILLE -- Austin Denney, who set the modern standard for Tennesse's tight end position with a combination of versatility, speed and fight, died Tuesday in his hometown of Knoxville after a brief illness. He was 65.

Denney earned All-America honors for the 1966 Vols, hauling in a school-record seven touchdowns among his 21 overall catches that season for 264 yards. He finished his career with 35 catches for 470 yards and nine touchdowns before embarking on a four-year NFL career.

"When I arrived at UT in the spring of 1966 as receivers coach, Austin was the first player to introduce himself to me and welcome me to the team,'' former UT head coach Bill Battle said Thursday.

Battle was in his first season under head coach Doug Dickey that year, coaching the receivers and tight ends.

"He was a great player at UT and combined excellent size, speed and physical ability with positive attitude and leadership. He was truly a pleasure to coach. My heart goes out to Austin's family and friends in his passing,'' Battle said.”

Denney wasn't always a tight end.

Denney moved from fullback to the line his junior year partly because of his 6-foot-2, 227-pound body, establishing the position as another offensive threat for the Vols. By the end of his senior year in 1966, the co-captain was All-SEC and All-America. His seven touchdowns were even more impressive, setting a school receiving record that stood until 1990 and helping the big man lead the team in scoring. Denney caught nine TDs in his career to set another UT receiving mark at the time and one that still stands for the tight end position.

The Nashville native then played three season for the Chicago Bears (1967-69) and one for the Buffalo Bills (1970), finishing his NFL playing days with 71 catches, 764 receiving yards and three touchdowns in 49 career games. His best season statistically was 1968, when he caught 23 passes for 247 yards and a pair of scores.

Denney was born Jan. 2, 1944, and attended Donelson High School. He is survived by his wife of 44 years, the former Margaret Petty, a Nashville beauty who was Miss Tennessee in 1962. He also is survived by his daughter, Meg Sinclair of Indianapolis; son, Austin Denney III, and wife, Tina; sister and brother-in-law, Marine and Hernando Ortega; sister, Naomi Finley; and several grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Austin Denney Sr. and Mamie Carney Denney; and a son, Austin Patrick.

The family is receiving friends Saturday from 1-3 p.m. at Mountain View United Methodist Church, followed by a memorial service. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Mountain View United Methodist Church, 3200 Maryville Pike, Knoxville, TN, 37920. Arrangements are by Knoxville’s Berry Funeral Home on Chapman Highway.

Austin Denny, TE - Nashville (Lettered 1965, 66 [Capt.])
All-America - 1966; All-SEC - 1966.

Receiving Statistics
Year G No. Yds. Avg. TD
1965 - 14 206 14.7 2
1966 10 21 264 12.6 7
+-----------------------------------------+
Totals - 35 470 13.4 9

(E-mail Stan Crawley at wscrawley@earthlink.net)


PREP SCHEDULES

PREP FOOTBALL PLAYOFF SCHEDULE - Quarterfinals

Georgia Northwestern Defeats Covenant's J.V. Team 105-94


PREP BASKETBALL THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 15 Sequoyah at Red Bank William Blount at Bradley Sale Creek at Sunbright CSAS at Notre Dame McCallie at Riverdale Rhea Co. at Ooltewah ... (click for more)

Round 3 - Quarterfinals Friday, November 16th (All times 7:00 p.m. Local) Class 1A South Pittsburg (11-1) at Whitwell (12-0) Class 2A South Greene (8-4) at Meigs ... (click for more)

On what was statistically one of the best, if not the best, shooting night in Georgia Northwestern Bobcat basketball history, the Navy-and-Silver cracked the century mark in a 105-94 win over ... (click for more)


Sports

PREP SCHEDULES

PREP BASKETBALL THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 15 Sequoyah at Red Bank William Blount at Bradley Sale Creek at Sunbright CSAS at Notre Dame McCallie at Riverdale Rhea Co. at Ooltewah Sequatchie Co. at Signal Mountain FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 16 Soddy Daisy at Boyd-Buchanan Grace Academy at Copper Basin Silverdale at Knoxville Grace SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 17 ... (click for more)

PREP FOOTBALL PLAYOFF SCHEDULE - Quarterfinals

Round 3 - Quarterfinals Friday, November 16th (All times 7:00 p.m. Local) Class 1A South Pittsburg (11-1) at Whitwell (12-0) Class 2A South Greene (8-4) at Meigs Co. (12-0) Class 3A Red Bank (11-0) at Upperman (12-0) Division II-AAA McCallie (10-1) at MUS (10-0) (click for more)

Breaking News

City Council Considering Interim Ordinance Curbing Development Of Steep Slopes, Floodplains

The City Council is considering action soon on an interim ordinance curbing development of steep slopes and floodplains. The measure would limit development of slopes of 33 percent grade or more to 20 percent of those steep grades. It would allow no more than 51 percent of a floodplain to be developed. A large number of developers in the audience indicated they are strongly ... (click for more)

Chicago Drug Dealer Who Supplied Large Amount Of Heroin To Chattanooga Contacts Found Guilty By Federal Jury

A Chicago drug dealer who prosecutors said supplied a large amount of heroin to sources in Chattanooga was found guilty by a federal jury in Chattanooga on Tuesday. James Silas, 50, was convicted of conspiring to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin. Sentencing is set for April 24 at 2 p.m. by Judge Curtis Collier, who presided over the trial. Based on a prior drug ... (click for more)

Opinion

Thanks To First Volunteer Bank

Thank you to the Highway 58 branch of First Volunteer Bank. On behalf of the Ernie Pyle Chapter of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, I would like to express our appreciation to the manager and staff of the HIghway 58 Branch of First Volunteer Bank for putting on a Veterans Day lunch in the lobby of your bank on Friday, Nov. 9. It was a cold and rainy day and Army, Marines ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: It’s A Racist Thing

Being a child of the South, I’ve marveled at our funny sayings for all of my life. I’ve been at a football game and heard a disgruntled fan in the stands say of his team’s quarterback, “That boy couldn’t play dead in a cowboy movie.” I’ve been at the Sunday supper table and heard, “I’m of a mind each one of his sermons is better than the next.” And I’ve sat in a Saturday morning ... (click for more)