Monday , Jun , 11 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Legendary Vols coach Ray Mears passes away

Knoxville, TN (Sports Network) – The winningest coach in University of
Tennessee history, Ray Mears, died Monday at NHC Health Care Center in
Knoxville. He was 80 years old.

The Dover, Ohio native led the Vols to a 278-112 record from 1963-77,
averaging approximately 18.5 wins per season with the team.

“Coach Mears was a true Tennessee legend,” UT director of athletics Mike
Hamilton said. “He created a tradition of basketball success, pageantry, and
fan support by which all future basketball teams and coaches will be measured.
When speaking with fans of Coach Mears or one of his former players, everyone
has a Stokely story or a memory of his great showmanship. He made a
difference, he made an impression and he had great vision. He will be missed.”

Mears’ win total is tied for eighth in the SEC, while his winning percentage
of .713 ranks seventh in the conference. His teams won SEC championships in
1967, a share of it in 1972, and again in his final season in 1977.

The Mears-led Vols made the NCAA tournament three times, the NIT tournament
twice and once appeared in the discontinued Collegiate Commissioners
Association meet.

In 21 seasons as a head coach Mears complied a 399-135 record and a 74.7
winning percentage that currently ranks 17th among the winningest coaches in
NCAA history.