If you’ve sat in your living room with the radio up or listened to the Vols while traveling down the road, you’ve grown accustomed to the voice of Tim Priest. Whether it be his lovable loud voice that celebrates a touchdown or his frustration that comes through the microphone after a bad play, it’s safe to say you’ve listened to Priest for the past 22 years.
On Tuesday, Priest announced he would be putting down the headset and spending more time with his family. After 22 years alongside Bob Kesling, Priest felt it was time to spend his weekends with the grandkids. In such a storied path, Priest began his career with the Vol Network in 1993 filling in a game for his predecessor – long time Tennessee color analyst Bill Anderson. It was during the time in which John Ward decided to retire, that Priest made his way into the booth, alongside Bob Kesling.
“For the last 22 years, I have had the privilege and honor of being a part of the team bringing the radio broadcast of Tennessee football to the Vol Nation,” Priest said. “I have had the privilege of working alongside the SEC’s best play by play broadcaster, Bob Kesling and the folks at the Vol Network who are the very best in the college sports network business.”
Priest was also a defensive back for Tennessee, from 1968-70, Priest was named All-SEC in 1970 and is still the Vols’ career interceptions leader with 18. He had a school-record (tie) three interceptions versus Alabama in 1970. He was an SEC Championship winner, as part of the 1969 team. Tim is also a member of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, and Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame.
His longtime partner and friend, Bob Kesling, had this to say about the legendary analyst.
“Tim brought a great perspective to the game with the passion of a player and the insight of a coach. Nobody ever wanted Tennessee to win more than Tim, yet he was able to break down the game and explain why the Vols won or lost as well as anybody in broadcasting. He taught me a lot about the game over the years.”
After a 22-year career that includes 274 University of Tennessee football games, 14 bowl games and three SEC Championship games, it was time to pass the torch.
“While my fall weekends’ attention has been Tennessee football going back to 1967, Betsy and I have four grandchildren who are plus athletes participating in various sports year around, including fall weekends. I wish to support Kate, Annie, Tommy, and Laura Leigh in their athletic endeavors, including on some fall weekends.”
Taking his place in the booth will be former Tennessee and NFL QB, Pat Ryan. For the past 11 years, Ryan has been part of the weekly “Big Orange Hotline” and participated in the kickoff show before football games, with Priest.
“I’m excited and honored to be following in the footsteps of former Vols Bob Foxx, Bill Anderson and Tim Priest in the color analyst role on the Vol Network,” Ryan said. “We look forward to having a lot of fun in the radio booth calling Tennessee football games.”
Who will ever forget some of the great moments that Priest and Kesling shared over the years, even the hot-mic moments that sent Tennessee fans into laughter. In my opinion, none better than Priest screaming over Bob Kesling, “Caught, Tennessee Wins”, when Jauan Jennings hauled in the Hail Mary in Athens. It’s the small things that will be missed from Priest. The quiet mumbling under his breath of a bad defensive play or the fantastic commentary his provided for the listeners all over the country.
Tim Priest was one of a kind and will definitely be remembered for his fantastic moments that some color analysis could only dream of.