Bowden Wyatt: 4-6 (2-6)
No postseason accomplishments
In terms of record, the 1977 Vols were the worst in modern history before 2017. But 1962 is a rival for the second worst to that point with lots of other programs. The reason this one is the worst is because of the state of Tennessee football under Bowden Wyatt at this point.
Wyatt had flashes of greatness in the mid-1950s and early 1960s. In fact, 1960 was a top 20 finish. But the Vols still missed a bowl that year, and then they slid to 6-4 the next year. Heading into this year, they had already gone four straight seasons without a bowl appearance.
Well, this year wouldn’t get any better. Wyatt’s Vols got off to a horrendous 0-4 start, losing to the Auburn Tigers and Mississippi State Bulldogs by a point each before getting blown out by the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and Alabama Crimson Tide. Three straight wins over Chattanooga, the Wake Forest Demon Deacons and Tulane Green Wave did give them new life.
But UT then lost to the eventual SEC Champion Ole Miss Rebels, who went 10-0 that year, and the Kentucky Wildcats in consecutive weeks. UK was another heartbreaker. The Vols were four points away from 7-3 instead of 4-6.
But they were 4-6 and would miss a bowl game for a fifth straight season. It also represented the end of an era, as Wyatt, a Robert Neyland disciple and UT All-American, would have to be replaced as head coach.