Sad news to pass along tonight. John Ward, the legendary voice of the Tennessee Volunteers, has passed away. He was 87.

The news was announced by the Vol Network in a statement Wednesday evening.

It is with a heavy heart that we announce a great voice has gone silent. Mr. John Ward, legendary advertising executive, and one of the most beloved broadcasters and ambassadors for the University of Tennessee, passed away this evening in Knoxville.

Mr. Ward brought Tennessee football and basketball to life for millions of Tennesseans and listeners worldwide for over three decades. He propelled Tennessee to the forefront of marketing and broadcasting and remains the standard by which all others are measured. While it is a sad day for all Vol Fans, we take great pride in the fact that John belonged to us. Only the Tennessee Volunteers could call John their own, and he was proud to be ‘Voice of the Vols.’ He loved his alma mater, the fans, the state of Tennessee. He remains the very heartbeat of the Vol Network.

Known for his trademark “It’s football time in Tennessee!” and “Give him six!” calls, Ward served as the voice of the Vols from 1965 (first with basketball, then also football in 1968) until 1999. Ward called the 1998 national championship football season and retired the following basketball season.

Ward was preceded in death by his wife, Barbara, in 2017.

Image via YouTube screen capture.

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