Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I happened to come across this while shirking my duty to pack up. Kenny Chesney, from Luttrell (metro Knoxville), and a big football fan, has made a documentary on Condredge Holloway, to be aired on ESPN on Sunday, February 20, at 8:00 pm ET. Here's an ESPN print story on the documentary. Here's the trailer:

This movie has special significance for me. I started watching Tennessee football in 1970. I first saw Condredge play in the 1972 spring "Orange and White" game. He was so good that the coaches had to put him on the other team after halftime, because whatever side he was on was unstoppable. My parents and I looked at each other and said, "this guy is special."

And, boy, was he. Although diminutive -- he stood 5' 9" on his tippy toes -- Condredge played like a giant during his three years with the varsity (Freshmen were not allowed to play with the varsity in those days). He could run, he could pass, and he could scramble. A lot of the time, Condredge didn't have a lot of help, and ended up making things happen by himself.

We loved his talent, but most of all we loved his heart. An episode much remembered in Holloway lore is the 1974 UCLA game. The Bruins had knocked Condredge out of the game -- I mean, they took him to the locker room. It was 10-10, when he not only returned to the sideline, but immediately -- and without consulting the head coach -- re-entered the game. His courageous play allowed Tennessee to turn a sound defeat into a tie, on the order of "Tennessee Beats UCLA, 17-17." Here's the video:

I figure the documentary is going to make a big deal of the fact that Condredge was the first Black QB in the Southeastern Conference. I can tell you that, from my 12 year old perception, as well as the perception of anyone I talked to about football at the time, his color was of no consequence whatsoever. He was just a great player, and that was all that counted. I'm proud of Vols fans from that era for having such a color blind attitude.


Anonymous said...

I was a 10 or 11 year-old Penn State fan back then, and Holloway just wore out our defense. He aggravated and electrified me at the same time.

He was the best scrambler I've ever seen in terms of pure elusiveness. And he completed a much higher percentage of his passes than his peers (remember that was a run-first era when the rules let you knock receivers all over the place and offensive linemen weren't supposed to use their hands in pass blocking).

Anonymous said...

Ironically, because the NFL discriminated against Holloway, it gave him a great career up here in Canada (where quarterbacks were ALWAYS supposed to scramble...)

Anonymous said...

DADvocate said...

I attended UT at the same time Holloway played. Met him briefly once. I was surprised how small he was.

I was also at that UCLA game. To this day the most exciting game I've attended. I've told my kids about Holloway.

his color was of no consequence whatsoever.

Never thought about it. Didn't know he was the first black QB in the SEC until I saw a trailer for this documentary. He's the most exciting QB Tennesse ever had, bar none.

Geoff Matthews said...

I grew up in Canada, and Holloway was recognized as one of the great QBs in the league at that time.
Tremendous talent, and overwhelming numbers when he had the run-n-gun.