Lon Varnell
Inducted in 1985
Baseball, Basketball, and Football
As a Lion
Lon Varnell played baseball, basketball and football at Freed-Hardeman College while majoring in English and religious education.
After Graduation
After graduation, he began his teaching and coaching career at Shiloh and Saltilo high schools. An innovative coach, he was first to use the hook shot and the 2-3 zone defense.

In 1940, he went to Bethel College to coach and finish his last two years of college work. His first Bethel team posted a 27-4 record. When Bethel dropped athletics because of the war, Varnell coached at McKenzie High School.

In 1944, Adolph Rupp invited Varnell to work with him at the University of Kentucky. There he helped to recruit the "Fabulous Five."

Bethel re-instated athletics when the war ended and Varnell returned to coach the basketball and baseball teams. His basketball team lost only one game and his baseball team was undefeated.

Varnell became head basketball coach and assistant football coach at the University of the South in Sewanee, TN. In 1948. Rupp recommended him for the job saying, "Next to me Lon Varnell is the best coach in America." He coached at Sewanee, TN., in the best coach in America." He coached at Sewanee for 22 years, winning 58% of his games while playing Division I and II schools as well as conference foes.

Varnell also began working with the Harlem Globetrotters in 1948. As a promoter and later as an advance man, he traveled worldwide with them, and helped to open the South for their performances.

In 1951, Varnell's University of the South team won 53 of the 57 games they played on a tour of Europe and North Africa. They also won the World Tournament in Geneva, Switzerland. Five Rhodes Scholars played on his teams as well as several outstanding coaches, including ex-Kentucky coach Joe B. Hall.

Sports Illustrated described Varnell in February, 1969, as "a legend in his own time-a coach, a Methodist minister, coal mine operator, car dealer, political campaign manager, hardware store owner and promoter of entertainment."

Varnell was inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame in 1973 and served as its president in 1977.

Lion Hall of Fame
1985Kerby FarrellBaseball
1985Willie HudsonBasketball/Coaching after FHU
1985Laurent JohnsonCoaching
1985Dew Drop RowlettCoaching
1985R.W. (Dick) StewartBasketball
1985Lon VarnellBaseball, Basketball, and Football
1986Mary Nelle Brum ChalkWomen's Basketball
1986John Luke WebbFootball, Basketball, and Baseball
1986Sue McBride WilliamsWomen's Basketball
1986James WilliamsBaseball and Basketball
1987Mac H. FeltsMultiple
1987Kate Pennington RochelleWomen's Basketball
1987Robert L. WittBasketball
1988Ulyss BrockMen's Basketball
1988Mayme Higginbottam LaneWomen's Basketball
1988Jim MurdaughMen's Basketball
1989Jerry MooreMen's Basketball
1989John L. WeeksBaseball, Basketball, Football
1989Marvin WilliamsCoaching after FHU
1990Vanassa Chism BranchWomen's Basketball
1990Dolly LambertBaseball
1990John PipkinBaseball and Basketball
1990David SmithBasketball
1991Sammy FisherCoaching
1991Dick GrayTrack and Field
1991Hoyt KirkCoaching
1991Robert Stanley LittleMen's Basketball
1992Ancil JohnsonMen's Basketball
1992Clyde WoodsTennis
1993Aaron HerronMen's Basketball
1993Gerald MichaelMen's Basketball
1994Arthur BonnerMen's Basketball
1994Larry MackinMen's Basketball/Baseball
1995Ruben BrownMen's Basketball
1995Charlie SmithMen's Basketball, Coaching
1996Cindy AndersonWomen's Basketball
1996Janice Wood GriggsWomen's Basketball
1996Renee Hensley PaughTennis and Basketball
1996Owen MitchellMen's Tennis
1997Randall AveryMen's Basketball
1997Sergio CastelloMen's Tennis
1998Garrett GrillsMen's Basketball
1999Fabiana CuggionniWomen's Tennis
1999Joe HardinDistinguished Service
1999Johanna MittenhammerWomen's Tennis
1999Ernesto RamosMen's Basketball
2000Claudia SanchezTennis
2002Jennifer Burkeen ShowersBasketball
2002David ByrdCoaching
2002Clay MurleyBaseball
2005Kara Sanders AtkinsWomen's Basketball
2005Qiana ElamWomen's Basketball
2006Chike StevensonMen's Basketball
2007Federico ContrerasTennis
2007Ricardo FerreiraTennis
2007Micheal GainesMen's Basketball
2008Nancy BennettDistinguished Service
2008Lee BurklowMen's Basketball
2008Mikki Dowell VinsonVolleyball/Softball
2009Anelise BattaglionWomen's Tennis
2009Jamie NorsworthyMen's Basketball
2009Terry WeeksCoaching
2009Jessica WoodardWomen's Basketball
2010Chuck BoxBaseball
2010Patrick O'SullivanBaseball
2011Van KalinisanBaseball
2011Eddie MartinCoaching after FHU
2011Ashlee RobertsonWomen's Basketball
2012Jonathan EstesBaseball
2012Pernell KnoxBaseball
2012Tony LambertMen's Basketball
2012Wes MillerMen's Basketball
2012Stacy Myers PalmerWomen's Basketball
2013Renata PedreiraVolleyball
2013Payton ReddenBaseball
2013Karina Souza SimonVolleyball
2014Tomas OresanskyMen's Basketball
2014Tarrah TuckerSoftball
2015Jana Cross GobbleWomen's Basketball
2015Zack FreyMen's Basketball
2015Donald MartinBaseball
2016Meribeth Boehler CarpenterWomen's Basketball
2016Brittany BradfordSoftball
2016Tiffany Harris ForbisWomen's Soccer
2016Josh HesterBaseball