The first words I heard this morning came from a Knoxville radio station that reported the sad news of the death of former University of Tennessee sports information director Haywood Harris.

Harris, 80, died yesterday afternoon at his Knoxville home. He had battled health issues since suffering a stroke last November.

Harris served as SID of the Vols from 1961-2000, but remained very active with the university in his retirement. (Read the full article about his career on

For the past nine years, Harris and Don Ferguson moderated the Big Orange Football Warmup and More course through UT Professional & Personal Development.

The course has been immensely popular, in part because of the passion East Tennesseans share for Vols football, but also in part to the knowledge and wit that Harris brought to the course. He also had a knack for securing several surprise guest speakers from Vols lore.

I was always awed by Harris’ 50-year memory of Vols sports and enjoyed the historical reports that he gave at Knoxville Quarterback Club meetings, which I sometimes attended  as a guest of Assistant Provost Norvel Burkett.

The staff at UT Professional & Personal Development extends its sympathies to Harris’ wife Carolyn Jo and family.

Darrin Devault, UT Professional & Personal Development

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