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A commemorative drawing presented to contestants by Knoxville News-Sentinel cartoonist Bill Dyer. Used courtesy of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives.

The Saturday evening in 1962 before the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, team was to take on Manhattan College in the GE College Bowl, they went to Broadway’s Majestic Theatre and saw Camelot with William Squire as Arthur and Patricia Breden as Guenevere.

The team’s coach, Professor of Physics Isabel Tipton, had spent two months drilling her team of four—Anne Dempster, Joseph Gorman, David Rubin, and Harold Wimberly—along with eight alternates. After their upset of Manhattan College and three succeeding weeks of victories, they impressed a nationwide TV audience with their strong intellectual performance, earned a tickertape parade down Gay Street and Cumberland Avenue, and inspired 114 UT fans in three hired buses to journey to New York City to view the team’s fifth and final match, against the University of Rochester.

Wimberly recalled in later years, “We got a bigger response nationally than any other school, because no one expected that a team from UT could win. We were looked upon as a backwoods school. At that time, UT didn’t even have a Phi Beta Kappa chapter.” Three years later, a chapter of the prestigious academic society was established at UT, influenced in part by the team’s accomplishments. (Two of the team members, Gorman and Rubin, were inducted retroactively.)

Read more about the 1962 team.

UT’s 2021 College Bowl team of Paige Clark (’21), Alexa Davidson (’22), and Corbin Hines (’22) competed on June 29 and have been advancing ever since. Their next episode will air Tuesday, July 20, at 10 p.m. Eastern.


Brooks Clark (, 865-310-1277)