BLUFF CITY (school release)-- Gene Felty, a backup center on Tennessee's 1950 national championship team coached by Gen. Robert Neyland, died Wednesday evening at his home in Bluff City. Felty was 84.
Originally from Bristol, Felty was a star footballer at Tennessee High School and World War II veteran before coming to UT. He played three seasons for the Vols, lettering in 1949 and 1950. Listed at 6-foot-2 and 196 pounds, Felty was an able performer on both sides of the ball. He served mostly as a backup center behind the late Bob Davis, but also played linebacker during his senior season.
The 1950 Tennessee squad finished 11-1 and was named the No. 1 team in the nation by the Dunkel Index. UT's only loss that season was 7-0 at Mississippi State in September, and the Vols went on to defeat Texas 20-14 in the Cotton Bowl.
Felty later coached briefly at Tennessee High (1955-56) before starting an insurance business in Bristol. Throughout his business career, Felty remained an avid UT sports fan and golfer.
His daughter, Traci, lettered as a UT Lady Vols diver during the 1980-81 season.
Funeral arrangements are being handled by Oakley-Cook Funeral Home and Crematory in Bristol. The family is receiving friends there Friday from 6-7:45 p.m., with a memorial service to follow at 8. Internment is Saturday at noon at Glenwood Cemetery, also in Bristol.
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