Soon after being named coach of the Tennessee Volunteers, Derek Dooley created the multi-faceted “Vol for Life” program, led by former UT defensive back Andre Lott, that focuses on four areas of personal growth for players: character education, life skills, career development and spiritual growth.

“When we put in that tag-phrase ‘Vol for Life,’ it’s something that’s not a creation, it’s real,” Dooley told The Daily Beacon. “These guys, when they leave here, they consider themselves Vols. It’s the whole ‘Once a Vol, always a Vol.’”

So what does the term “Vol for Life” truly mean?

“I think it’s one: recognizing and appreciating the three-to-four year experience (players) had at Tennessee, and all that Tennessee gave to them,” Dooley said. “Then, when they leave, there’s a continual bond that the player has with the program and that the program has with the player. It’s so important not to ever feel a disconnect between program and former players because they are the ones that made this program the special program that it is and I’ll always remember that.”


He was part of the famed “Cobb-Webb” rushing duo in 1989 along with Chuck Webb.

Now, Reggie Cobb is still in football, working as a scout for the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers.

“I wanted to be around football, but I didn’t want to coach. I didn’t really know if I’d be able to make that happen either,” Cobb said. “I kind of got into scouting and I liked it. It’s still a way to be around the game without having to put all the coaching in ’cause we grind as scouts, but coaching is a lot different. It’s a lot of travel, a lot of paperwork, but it’s a lot of fun too.”

Despite a seven-year career in the NFL, which saw him play for three different teams, the Knoxville native is still fond of UT.

“It’s special to be able to go play football at the University of Tennessee and being able to go to school there,” he said. “To be in Knoxville on Saturdays in the fall, there’s not a better place to be.”

And in 1987, Cobb was the talk of the town. He burst onto the college football scene rushing for 1,197 yards and scoring 20 touchdowns as a freshman, helping the Vols win 10 games. His 1,721 all-purpose yards that year is still a UT single-season record.

“It’s hard to get on top, but it’s harder to stay on top,” Cobb said. “I think that’s the thing people don’t realize. Probably for me, I kind of snuck up on a lot of people as a freshman. Then, as a sophomore, I became a marked man. It’s a different role. You have to be able to accept that role and be able to accept that challenge when people are gunning for you as opposed to you sneaking up on people.”

After an injury-plauged 1988 year, Cobb and Webb were nearly impossible to stop through the first five games of the ’89 season.

But Cobb was dismissed from the team after a failed drug test the week of the Alabama game, the Vols’ only loss of the season.

Cobb’s UT career ended with 2,360 rushing yards, currently the 10th-most in school history.

He was a second-round draft pick (30th overall) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 1990 NFL Draft.

Cobb played four seasons with the Bucs. His best year was in 1992 when he ran for 1,171 yards and scored nine touchdowns. He also spent a season each with the Green Bay Packers, Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Jets before retiring following the 1996 season.

“It was O.K.,” Cobb said of his pro career. “I don’t want to sound like I wasn’t happy and all that, but I only played on one winning team in seven years and losing kind of takes its toll on you. I enjoyed it. I was very fortunate to get seven years in, which is a long time for a running back. To be able to play and be able to gain 1,000 yards in the NFL was one of my dreams growing up. It was truly an honor.”

Before joining the 49ers, Cobb was a scout for the Washington Redskins and Tampa Bay. It was as a scout he met now UT football coach Derek Dooley.

“I’ve know Reggie since my LSU days,” Dooley said. “Another great player on the field, representing the right way off the field. Stayed in the game for his love of football and is making an impact.”

But one of the biggest impacts for Cobb was his time as a Vol.

“Some of my fondest memories of my life have probably been from my years at Tennessee,” he said.