“Gus Manning, cigar firmly clenched and cash-filled briefcase snugly in hand, celebrates Larry Seivers’ game-winning two-point conversion catch [in 1974],” via Chris Low (@CLowESPN) on Twitter.Gus Manning, a beloved and treasured figure in the world of Tennessee Athletics, passed away on Sunday night, according to Monica Warren on Twitter.
Manning, born in 1923, was 99 years old at the time of his passing.
“Wanted to update #VolNation..our patriarch went home to be with our Lord and Savior last night,” Warren wrote on Twitter. “He was ready. During my last visit w him, he wanted to recite the Lord’s Prayer. We have lost the biggest treasure, but at peace knowing he is celebrating in heaven! #Legend #VFL“
Wanted to update #VolNation..our patriarch went home to be with our Lord and Savior last night. He was ready. During my last visit w him, he wanted to recite the Lord’s Prayer. We have lost the biggest treasure, but at peace knowing he is celebrating in heaven! 🧡🍊 #Legend #VFL pic.twitter.com/e1REMkhiUq
— Monica Warren (@monicawarren16) February 13, 2023
Manning’s impact at Tennessee stretches far and wide in terms of both importance and longevity. The longtime Volunteer and Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame inductee attended more than 450 consecutive home games throughout his career as the streak began all the way back in 1945.
Starting as a student assistant hired by General Robert R. Neyland in 1946, Gus Manning then positioned himself as Tennessee’s Director of Sports Information from 1951 to 1960. Manning would go on to become Tennessee’s Business Manager from 1960 to 1989 and also served as the Senior Associate Athletic Director of Tennessee sports starting in 1990.
Manning worked hand-in-hand with Tennessee legends over the years including General Robert Neyland, Johnny Majors, and Phillip Fulmer.
In March of 2022, Tennessee congressman Tim Burchett recognized Manning, a World War II veteran, in front of the United States House of Representatives.
“Gus is a lifelong Knoxvillian,” Burchett said. “He graduated from Rule High School and then served in the United States Marine Corps during World War II. It was after that he completed serving his country in the Marine Corps, he decided to become a Tennessee Volunteer, and that journey began. A tremendously athletic individual, Gus walked into UT’s football team in 1947 and played baseball for the Volunteers.”
“He graduated from Tennessee in 1950 but returned to U.T. in 1951 when Athletic Director General Robert Neyland hired him to be the sports information director for Volunteer athletics. This was the beginning of Gus’s nearly half-century-long professional career with U.T.’s athletic department.”
“Outside of the athletic department, Gus co-hosted the Vol Sports Report on WIVK. He also served as the president of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, the Southeastern Conference Sports Information Directors, and the Southeastern Conference Business Managers.”
“From 1951 to 2003, Gus attended 608 consecutive Tennessee Volunteers football games. His dedication to the University of Tennessee athletic program earned him inductions into Hall of Fames and awards from various organizations. His greatest recognition, though, came in 2015, when Gate 16 at Neyland Stadium was renamed Gus Manning Gate. It is fitting that an individual who dedicated so much of his life to the football teams that play in the stadium is now part of it forever.”
“Thank you, Gus, for continuing to be such a great representative of the University of Tennessee and its athletic programs.”
Gus wanted me to tell #VolNation Happy New Year! I reminded him that this is the year he turns 100, he just looked at me and grinned 😊 We are soo blessed to have our Patriarch with us! #legend #VFL 🧡🍊 pic.twitter.com/gSPfO7T3QH
— Monica Warren (@monicawarren16) January 7, 2023
Just a feel good for #VolNation… I had just asked Gus if he had been good for Santa this year. This was the face I got before he said, “Damn right!!” 😊 99 years young, and funny as ever!! 🧡🍊 pic.twitter.com/r7Aqjwa0yk
— Monica Warren (@monicawarren16) December 18, 2022
The 1974 @ClemsonFB-@Vol_Football game produced an iconic photo featuring a UT icon. Gus Manning, cigar firmly clenched and cash-filled briefcase snugly in hand, celebrates Larry Seivers’ game-winning two-point conversion catch. Gus is now 99 years young. pic.twitter.com/YNYYVaXRdp
— Chris Low (@ClowESPN) December 4, 2022