KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (SUBMITTED) -- Andy Kozar is being remembered Thursday as a prime example of a man who achieved success in other fields after an outstanding career in athletics.
One of the most dominant fullbacks in Tennessee football history and member of the Vols’ 1951 national championship team, Kozar died Thursday at his Knoxville home. He was 79.
A native of St. Michael, Pa., Kozar was born May 11, 1930. He came to Tennessee and enjoyed a stellar football career. He was a three year starter at fullback for the 1950-52 Vols, averaging more than five yards per carry for a career that included 27 touchdowns and 1,837 rushing yards on 350 carries.
Kozar led the team in scoring two years and was named the Most Outstanding Back of the 1951 Cotton Bowl. He then opened the season in 1952 with a career high of 155 yards against Mississippi State and seemed a sure bet for All-America honors that senior year until an injury felled him in mid-season. Kozar was named All-SEC in 1952 and, despite the injury that caused him to miss the season’s final two games, made the Associated Press second team All-America listing.
After his UT playing days, Kozar served in the U.S. Army from 1953-55. He returned to the gridiron with the Chicago Bears in 1955 but after a brief stint decided to turn his energy and intelligence toward academic endeavors.
Kozar re-entered school and earned his master’s (1957) and Ph.D. (1961) at the University of Michigan, where he also served on the faculty in physical education. In 1966, Kozar returned to UT to become head of the Men’s Physical Education Program. He served in that role until 1974, when he decided his true passion was teaching.
He was designated the prestigious title of University Professor and remained part of UT’s Exercise Science Department for the past 25 years.
A man of wide interests, Kozar was considered one of the nation’s leading authorities on the games of paddleball and racquetball. He published a number of works and textbooks regarding the sports and competed as well. Kozar was the national master’s paddleball champion in 1972, and placed third in 1976.
In 1973, Kozar was instrumental in obtaining for UT the valuable collection of the works of R. Tait McKenzie, one of the world’s foremost sculptors of athletes. He established the Joseph B. Wolffe Collection of McKenzie’s sculptures and published a book in 1975 on the university’s collection.
In 1978, Kozar was honored as an NCAA Silver Anniversary Award winner, presented to former athletes who have distinguished careers in other fields.
Honors continued to come his way as he was named to the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame in 1979, the Greater Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame in 1989 and the Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame in 2005.
In 2002 after six years of diligent research, Kozar’s dream of passing the knowledge of his legendary college football head coach to future generations became a reality. He authored the book” Football as a War Game--The Annotated Journals of General R.R. Neyland.”
Kozar is survived by his wife, the former Marian V. Higgs of Toano, Va. She was a graduate student at UT when they met. They have three children: Mary Anne, Andrew Joseph Jr., and Amy Elizabeth.
Visitation will take place Monday evening from 5:00pm.-7:00pm. at Rose Mortuary, Mann heritage Chapel on Kingston Pike. Funeral Mass will be held Tuesday at Noon at Sacred Heart cathedral.
Hometown: St. Michael, Pa. (Lettered 1950, 1951, 1952)
Football Honors: All-SEC 1952, AP All-America (2nd team) 1952, Cotton Bowl Most Outstanding Back 1951
Career Game Rushing High: 155 yards vs. Mississippi State 1952
Recorded seven 100-yard rushing games