1971 Volunteers
(Game worn)








After being in the college football doldrums for quite some time, the University Of Tennessee emerged as an SEC power in the mid-1960's. The last of the major southern schools to adopt a modern offense, the insistence on maintaining the Single-Wing Offense into the Sixties hurt recruiting and recruiting was hurt by not finding athletes familiar with the antiquated offense. When Doug Dickey took the reins of the proud program in 1964 there was an immediate change and Tennessee became a happy place to play and watch football. With the Vols traveling to five bowl games in Dickey's six seasons and posting three consecutive 9-2 records which included three straight wins over hated Alabama, the renaissance was complete. A bit of panic crept into the fan base when Dickey jumped ship after the '69 outing to return to his alma mater at Florida and thirty-two year old Bill Battle, an Alabama grad and former Bear Bryant player became the head coach. There was little to be worried about as Battle's first three seasons in 1970, '71 and '72 resulted in 11-1, 10-2, and 10-2 records.
This beautiful Riddell TK2 suspension helmet is augmented with a  DG110 Dungard mask, reflective of the various styles of Dungard masks that Tennessee favored in the Battle years. With Phillip Fulmer, the future Vols head coach at offensive guard leading the way for fullback Curt Watson and tailback Haskel Stanback and a defense that featured linebackers Jackie Walker, Ray Nettles, and Jamie Rotella  who gave UT their vaunted reputation as the place to be if one wished to be a pro linebacker, this distinctive helmet and mask combination was immediately recognized as a sign of excellence. The "Win" sticker placed on the front and back of the helmet was the type of minor augmentation frequently seen in the 1969 to 1972 period as players and/or equipment managers "dressed up" their headgear with atypical or unapproved individual adornment that included "Smiley Face" decals or in this case, the admonition to continue the Vols winning tradition.