Grantland Rice | Tennessee Vacation

Grantland Rice

Tennesseans love of sports, so it is fitting that the “dean of American sports writers” is from the Volunteer State. Grantland Rice, born in Murfreesboro in 1880, became the most famous sportswriter in history – and even coined the phrase that it’s “not that you won or lost – but how you played the game.” Rice attended Montgomery Bell Academy and then played football at Vanderbilt. After graduation, he worked at several papers including The Atlanta Constitution before joining Nashville’s Tennessean and then several newspapers in the northeast. In 1924, he dubbed Notre Dame’s great backfield as the Four Horsemen of Notre Dame. A year later, he succeeded Walter Camp in choosing the College Football All-America teams. Known for his elegant prose, Rice was nationally syndicated in 1930 and is believed to have written more than 20,000 columns during his career. The recipient of countless awards and accolades, the press box at Vanderbilt is named after him and his protégé, Fred Russell. A portion of the Columbia University School of Journalism is named for Rice as well. After his death in the summer of 1954, The Grantland Rice Trophy was created in his honor and presented to the national championship college football team as selected by the Football Writers Association of America. The trophy is still awarded today.

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