Barbara Mandrell

Tennessean of the Year
Year Honored:


Country music and television star Barbara Mandrell has the distinction of being the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame’s first recipient of the Tennessean of the Year Award in 1982. At that time, Mandrell not only sponsored and played on her own amateur softball team in Nashville, but she found time to become Female Vocalist of the Year in 1979 and Entertainer of the Year in 1980 and 1981! Barbara started her musical career at an early age. Her mother, Mary, taught her to play the accordion before she could read and by the time she reached her teens, Barbara could play the steel guitar, saxophone, banjo, and bass guitar. Her first go as an entertainer was with the musical group “The Mandrells,” started by her father, Irby. Years later, after a hiatus from performing, she felt the tug of the footlights once again. Barbara began performing in Nashville, caught the ear of producer Billy Sherrill, and was signed to CBS records. In 1975 she signed with MCA records and from then on, her career has been meteoric. “Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters” series for NBC was voted the Best Country Music TV program of 1981 by the Music City News’ readers poll, and the three Mandrell sisters – Barbara, Louise and Irlene – were awarded Best Comedy Act of the Year. Barbara Mandrell has continued to be a force in the entertainment industry, and the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame is proud to have her as an honorary member.

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