The Voice of the Vols

There have been a lot of Tennessee upsets over the years, but this loss will hurt the most. John Ward, the voice of the Tennessee Volunteer’s, has passed away in Knoxville at the age of 87. He is preceded in death by his beloved wife of 55 years, Barbara.



One of the best voices in all of sports. A true Tennessee legend. A very sad day for VolNation.

There are few broadcasters like Vin Scully and John Ward. That generation of broadcasting simply doesn’t exist today. As much as my twin brother and I make fun of my dad for being so old school, there is one old school thing that we could never say thank you enough to him for. He taught us how special a radio broadcast is. Even now in world of HD/4D and excess social media, I still prefer a good radio broadcast over television broadcast.

When you prefer the radio over the television, that’s when you know the broadcaster is special. The ability to visualize the game through a broadcaster’s words and the moments of silence to take in the sounds of the crowd that make you feel as if you are in the stands. Those are the moments make you feel emotions for sports deeper than if you just watched it.

Ward’s final football game was the 1998 National Championship game. The Vols went 13-0 and the program has never been the same since he left. His impact on the team, the game and the University will live on in the history books forever.

Thank you, Tony and Nathaniel for going on air when the sad news broke. Especially with Tony on family vacation, it really meant a lot the fans. The callers who shared their John Ward stories were so moving and they gave the listeners a reason to crack a smile as we wiped our tears. VolNation is hurting and we lost a piece of what has made the University of Tennessee so special.

When John Ward announced his retirement in 1998, he simply said “It’s Time. I’ll miss the game, but I’ll miss the fans more.” VolNation would simply disagree because we never wanted his voice to end and we will miss him more. John Ward was in the broadcast booth from 1965 until 1999, but John Ward will forever be the Voice the of the Vols.

June 11, 2018  ·  795 Views