CHC- Fred Russell Was A Vanderbilt Man8/23/2006
by Bill Traughber
Legendary Nashville sports writer Fred Russell would have turned 100 years old this week. Russell was one of the most devoted and fair sports writers to cover Vanderbilt athletics. His death at age 96, in 2003, closed a chapter of Vanderbilt athletics assigned to someone who was not a player or coach. Russell worked at the Nashville Banner from 1929 until it ceased publication in 1998.
In September 1929, Russell was happily transferred to the sports department as the editor. One of his first duties was covering Vanderbilt football. Three years later, he married the former Katherine Early. The couple would have four daughters together, Kay, Ellen, Lee and Carolyn.
Russell traveled the country coast-to-coast attending the biggest sporting events such as a Dempsey fight in New York. He knew the greats as Babe Ruth, Bobby Jones, Bear Bryant, Adolph Rupp, Red Grange, Otto Graham and Casey Stengel. He knew them all. Russell said one of his greatest moments was in 1953 when a dinner was held in his honor commemorating his 25 years of service at the Banner. In attendance to celebrate were Grange, Jones and Dempsey.
If you have any comments or suggestions you can contact Bill Traughber via e-mail at WLTraughber@aol.com.