BREAKING: “Voice of the Vols” John Ward Passes Away

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    (Photo via Michael Patrick)

    Legendary Tennessee radio announcer and “The Voice of the Vols” John Ward has passed away according to an announcement from the Vol Network on Wednesday night.

    Ward began play-by-play duties for the University of Tennessee in 1958 when he was hired to be the radio play-by-play voice for UT basketball. He would take over play-by-play duties for football in 1968 as well, and he would become “The Voice of the Vols” over the next 40 years.

    Ward called countless games for Tennessee as their main radio announcer. He became famous for his catch phrases such as “Give him six!” and “It’s football time in Tennessee!” throughout his decades of service. He announced prior to the 1998 football season that he would be stepping down after the season. And he got to go out on top, as the football Vols went undefeated and won the 1998 national championship in Ward’s final season as the Voice of the Vols.

    Ward’s wife, Barbara, passed away last year on July 24th.

    Ward graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1953 with a College of Law degree. His voice became synonymous with Tennessee football over his decades on radio, and to this day Vol fans around the country remember growing up hearing Ward’s legendary voice on the air.

    Here is a compilation of some of his best calls as the Voice of the Vols:



    Nathanael Rutherford
    Nathanael Rutherford is the managing editor and social media manager for Rocky Top Insider. Nathanael graduated from the University of Tennessee and cultivated a passion for the Vols while growing up in Knoxville a mere 10 minutes from Neyland Stadium. He's been a part of the RTI team since November of 2015 and has been the editor of RTI since June of 2017. If he's not talking or writing about Tennessee athletics, he's probably talking about Star Wars.