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George Cafego


George Cafego

Inducted 1969

Date of Birth



Whipple, WV


University of Tennessee (1937-1939)


George Cafego came out of the coal mining district of West Virginia to become one of Tennessee's backfield stars. Hall of Fame coach Bob Neyland called Cafego a "practice bum". On the practice field he couldn't do anything right, but for two hours on a Saturday afternoon he did everything an All-America is supposed to do." After a 6-3-1 sophomore season, Cafego led the Volunteers to two consecutive unbeaten regular seasons. In 1938, the Vols topped their regular season with a 17-0 victory over Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl. The following year, 1939, the Vols did not allow a point to be scored against them in the regular season. Late in the season, Cafego was injured and played only a minute of the Rose Bowl loss to Southern California. Despite missing four games, Cafego became a repeat All-America. In his three years at Tennessee, Cafego had a spectacular nickname, "Bad News," and gained 2,139 yards in total offense. He averaged 6.1 yards every time he carried the ball. He ran, passed, did all the punting, and returned kicks. In 1937, he had a 60-yard punt return against Virginia Tech; in 1939 he had a 70-yard punt against Louisiana State. After college, Cafego played pro with the Washington, Boston and Brooklyn teams in 1940 and 1943-45. He served as assistant coach at Wyoming, Furman, Arkansas and Tennessee. His tenure as Tennessee assistant covered 30 years.


Height 5'11

Weight 168

Career Highlights

  • 1939 All-Conference
  • 1939 Consensus All-America
  • 1939 Heisman - Fourth
  • 1938 All-Conference
  • 1938 Conference MVP
  • 1938 First Team All-America
  • 1938 Heisman - Seventh
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