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Kesling keynotes FWKCC breakfast

In his infancy with The Vol Network in the late 1970s, Bob Kesling will never forget “the Golden Arches” and “fairway golf balls” in regard to network broadcasting legend and colleague John Ward.

Superstitious about not upsetting routines during Tennessee Volunteers winning streaks, Ward required all Vol Network personnel to eat at McDonald’s on road trips, according to Kesling, director of broadcasting at The University of Tennessee and “Voice of the Vols” since 1999.

“He said, ‘Ernie, next Golden Arches, pull in,’” recalled Kesling, featured speaker during Farragut West Knox Chamber of Commerce’s Speaker Series Breakfast Tuesday morning, Oct. 18, at Fox Den Country Club.

“We knew we couldn’t get out. … He took down our orders.”

When travel partner Gloria Ray, former Lady Vols athletic director, refused to eat a fish sandwich Ward insisted she must eat — due to superstition according to Kesling —

“Ward claims to this day if she had taken one for the team we wouldn’t have lost to Maryland,” Kesling said to huge laughs.

Kesling said Ward, “who lives across the first fairway” in Fox Den, fought a proposal “about 13 years ago” where FDCC “would flip-flop the sides of the golf course … they were going to make No. 1, make that No. 10.”

Although saying Ward “is not a very public person,” Kesling added, “He starts having little meetings here at Fox Den, goes door-to-door on a petition drive trying to get this stopped.”

“He is a lawyer, and he gets this done.”

Later asking Ward why he was so adamant about stopping the switch, Kesling quoted Ward as saying, “‘It’s a big deal; if you’re on first fairway they’re hitting new golf balls into the yard. If you’re on No. 10, they’re all scuffed up. I don’t want those junk balls.’”

The audience roared with laughter.

Steve Lipsey, managing partner with Stone & Hinds, P.C., law firm and Chamber member, said Kesling “obviously has a wealth of information and knowledge about the Vols. He’s an ambassador for the university and does a great job.”

Mike Such, owner of Junk Bee Gone and Chamber chairman from 2009 to 2011, said about the address, “Bob’s great … his stories and his enthusiasm about the football program and where it’s going is great.”

Bettye Sisco, Chamber president/CEO, presented Such with a “chairman appreciation award,” a glass-encased gold clock, prior to Kesling’s address.


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