Sam Venable Sr.

Hall of Fame • Class of 2014

Sam A. Venable Sr., officiated sports events and worked at hundreds of track meets even before there was a Knoxville Track Club to share the job.

Venable was one of the eight founding members of the Knoxville Track Club. He was a past president of the KTC and the Knoxville YMCA.

Sam Venable, educator, member of the Knox County Board of Education and one of Tennessee’s most widely known sports figures, died in June of 1972 at the age of 57. Venable was an associate professor of physical education at UT, where he graduated in 1935 and received his Masters degree in 1946.

Venable taught seven years in the Knoxville School System before World War II, in which he served as an infantry major. He moved to UT after the war.

In addition to his teaching duties at UT, Venable was a long time track and field official with the KTC official’s organization. He officiated at all of the UT and local high school track meets throughout the 1960s. Venable was also official scorer at UT basketball games and annually served as tournament director of TSSAA basketball.

"We carried the downs-markers and chain together at Tennessee football games for 22 years," said Maynard Glenn, City Recreation Bureau Director. "I suppose Sam was the greatest all-around man I’ve ever known. He did more things for others than he ever did for himself. He was thoughtful and kind and religious and completely honest."

"Sam Venable was my teacher," said Dr. Andy Kosar, former head of the men’s physical education department at UT. "He had many jobs and many skills and yet a wit and warmth you seldom see. I recall him asking the blessing at our first T-Club alumni dinner. He said 'Lord, forgive us for the sports stories we are about to exaggerate.'"

Venable was, for perhaps 20 years, the driving force in UT’s intramural program.

"No person in my memory has done more to encourage wholesome sports than Sam Venable," said Andy Holt, UT’s president emeritus.

One purpose of the KTC Hall of Fame is to remember and honor members like Sam who have contributed greatly to the success of the Club.