Tennessee-Florida rivalry: Ray Graves’ ties to both schools

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Tennessee and Florida will renew acquaintances on the football field Saturday when the Volunteers travel to Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. EDT and the game will be televised by ESPN.

Since 1990, the Gators have arguably become Tennessee’s most heated rival. Both schools were charter members of the Southeastern Conference and have even played a postseason game, the 1969 Gator Bowl, won by Florida, 14-13.

Tennessee head coach Doug Dickey left for Florida following the 1969 campaign and a College Football Hall of Famer with ties to both schools.

In Gainesville, Dickey, who played for Florida, replaced another Hall of Fame head coach with ties to the Vols and the Volunteer State, Ray Graves.

Graves was the Gators’ head coach between 1960-69 and compiled a career record of 70-31-4. He was also Florida’s athletics director from 1960-79.

Graves played for the Vols between 1939-41. He was a center and linebacker under head coaches Robert Neyland (1939-40) and John Barnhill (1941).

He was Florida’s head coach in 1966 when quarterback Steve Spurrier, a graduate of Science Hill High School in Johnson City, Tennessee, won the Heisman Trophy.

Florida head coach Ray Graves, left, and Tennessee head coach Doug Dickey exchange pleasantries before the start of the 25th annual Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla. Dec. 27, 1969. Syndication: Nashville

Graves, a Knoxville native, played professional football for the Philadelphia Eagles in 1942 and 1946 and was a member of the Philadelphia/Pittsburgh Steagles.

He was a line coach for the Vols in 1944-45 and served as a line coach and scout in Philadelphia (1946-50).

Graves was an assistant coach at Georgia Tech from 1951-59 before becoming head coach and athletics director for the Gators. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1990.

Graves was the SEC Coach of the Year in 1960 and is a member of the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame and the Florida-Georgia Hall of Fame.