Former Vols fullback dies in Sparta

Jan. 24, 2012

Stan Mitchell, Tennessee's leading rusher in 1964 and a member of UT's career top 10 in rushing yards when he graduated one year later, died Tuesday in his hometown of Sparta after an extended illness. He was 67.
Mitchell was a three-year starter at fullback for the Vols and always known for his size, strength and powerful running style. Born Aug. 17, 1944, he had arrived in Knoxville as an All-MidState quarterback and was a consistent performer at UT, first for head coach Jim McDonald in 1963 and then for Doug Dickey over his final two seasons.

It was in 1965 that Dickey coached Mitchell and the Vols to an 8-1-2 record and No. 10 ranking in the final Associated Press poll. The AP ranking and third-place conference finish were Tennessee's best in both categories since the 1956 SEC championship squad.

Mitchell capped his senior season by scoring the final touchdown in UT's 27-6 win over Tulsa at the Bluebonnet Bowl in Houston. For his career, Mitchell finished with 1,266 rushing yards and wasn't dislodged from Tennessee's all-time top 10 ranking until the early 1970s.

Mitchell was drafted by and played five seasons for the Miami Dolphins during both their AFL and NFL days. His best seasons were in 1967 when he played in 14 games and gained 269 rushing yards, and his final season of 1970 when he again appeared in all 14 games. Video of Mitchell scoring a 1970 touchdown against the Buffalo Bills can be found here.

Upon retirement, Mitchell returned to his home state and became a successful businessman. His younger brother, Steve, also lettered three years at defensive end for the Vols from 1971-73.

Funeral arrangements have been finalized for Mr.Mitchell.

Services are Thursday at 6 p.m. Central time at First Baptist Church in Sparta. The family is hosting a visitation afterward in the Fellowship Hall. Sparta’s Hunter Funeral Home (931-836-3211) is handling the arrangements.


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