In April of 1954, the phone rang at the home of legendary Vol Football Coach Gen. Robert Neyland and a family friend overheard the conversation—with President Dwight Eisenhower.
“You do me great honor Ike, but I’d do you irreparable harm because I believe half those sons-of-bitches over there are Communists,” Neyland said.
When he hung up the phone, Neyland told his friend that the president had just offered him the chairmanship of the Tennessee Valley Authority, but he had turned it down. The account is contained in Neyland’s papers and was recently discovered by a researcher preparing a documentary film of Neyland’s life.
In his personal journal Neyland explains his political views: “If you must say I have political leanings place me as follows: Well to the Right of the Far Right!”