William "BB" Branton, a longtime sportswriter with an encyclopedic knowledge of wrestling and other sports topics, died Sunday morning after a lengthy illness.
A Lookout Mountain native and McCallie School graduate, he was a sports writer for the Chattanooga News Free Press, the Lookout Mountain Mirror and The Chattanoogan.com.
He served as the sports information director at the University of the South for several years.
Branton had an avid interest and knowledge of tennis as well as wrestling.
The Ole Miss graduate was in the class of 1962 at Lookout Mountain Elementary School.
Mr. Branton was named to the Lookout Mountain Hall of Fame in 2018.
Last year, he was inducted into the Tennessee Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame for his "Lifetime Service to Wrestling" and contribution to amateur wrestling as a sportswriter and historian. He and five other honorees were officially inducted at the Stones River Country Club, Murfreesboro.
McCallie's Luther Killian said at the time, "Serving as a sports reporter spanning five decades and as Sports Information Director for Athletes in Action and several World Cup events, no one in Tennessee has written so eloquently about high school, college, and international wrestling with such depth and breadth as Mr. Branton.
"Because of his knowledge, 'BB' is jokingly referred to as the 'Rainman' of Tennessee wrestling. Whether he is recounting a semifinals match of a recent state tournament or a high school dual meet he watched as a fifth grader, Branton will share the event with the details, and the stories behind the details. His writing reflects the critical eye of a referee, the knowledge of a coach, the enthusiasm of a parent, and the passion of a champion."
Mr. Branton was a member of First Presbyterian Church, but his routine was to also attend Lookout Mountain Presbyterian, where his parents were longtime members, on a typical Sunday.
Each year, he spearheaded a get-together that included many of his early chums on Lookout Mountain as well as school mates.
His parents, Peter Royal Branton III and Jane Crews Branton, were longtime Lookout Mountain residents.
Survivors include his brother, Peter Royal Branton IV, of Knoxville.
In recent years, Mr. Branton had lived at Alexian on Signal Mountain.
Arrangements are by Wann Funeral Home.