Former Tennessee players, neighbors support idea of turning General Neyland's campus home into museum
There’s a growing movement in Knoxville to save the former home of General Robert Neyland, located on Tennessee’s campus. The only question is, will it be enough to save the house?
Tennessee has already approved plans to demolish the home, located at 2111 Terrace Avenue, but that hasn’t stopped some from doing what they can to stop that from happening. SDS’s Dan Harralson chronicled the subject recently and even caught up with Neyland’s relatives to get their thoughts on what should be done.
One interesting thought has emerged, turn the house into a museum.
“I am sure to a lot of people – our family, too – that the house has meaning to it,” Neyland, Jr. said to Harralson. “If they decide to turn it into a museum, it would be a nice idea. That house he lived in was just barely before I was born in 1930, four years after he became the head coach. It would be nice to do something to the house to honor him.”
It isn’t just the General’s family speaking out. James Mason, a neighbor of the home at 2111 Terrace Avenue, shared his thoughts on the subject with Harralson in a column posted at BlankNews.com.
“Of course, the Neyland/Briscoe house has history for both the city and UT,” Mason said. “UT tends to ignore groups like Knox Heritage that are trying to preserve the history of the city. UT has torn down many of the houses in this neighborhood, some of which were really fine houses.”
Former Tennessee and NFL receiver Jayson Swain, now a local sports talk personality for his Swain Event radio show, offered up his support for the idea of turning the home into a museum.
“Every single game of my career at UT, we recited the game maxims,” Swain said. “The stadium is named Neyland, and there is a beautiful statue of Neyland in front of [it]. It is just weird not to try to preserve the house where our legendary coach lived. I think a museum would be so great. Before some of the changes to the football complex, there was a space that allowed fans to see the deep history of Tennessee football, but that is not here anymore. It would be good to have that around again.”
Swain wasn’t alone, as former UT players Philip Jones and Will Ofenheusle offered up their support of the idea, too.
It will be interesting to see how Tennessee reacts to those speaking out against the thought of demolishing the home. While plans have been made to destroy it, no definitive plans have been made to start that process. One would think if Tennessee fans can kill a potential coaching hire, they can certainly save a campus-area house with this much historical importance to the football program.