Last Living Volunteer from 1939 Team Dies

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Leonard Coffman, the last surviving starter on Tennessee's 1939 football team coached by Robert Neyland, died Thursday, the school announced. He was 92.

Coffman, a fullback who was born in Middlesboro, Ky., died in his adopted hometown of Greeneville.

He played on the undefeated 1938 team that won a national championship and on the 1939 team that didn't allow a single point until losing to USC 14-0 in the Rose Bowl.

The university credited Coffman with being a pioneer of the now-standard dive play for short yardage, leaping headfirst over a low-hitting defensive line. He successfully used it twice for a pair of touchdowns in a 13-0 win over Alabama in 1938. Coffman became a high school coach and administrator in Greeneville, about 65 miles east of Knoxville. Funeral services were set for Wednesday at 8 p.m. in Greeneville's Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

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