Vanderbilt graduate Fred Russell gave up a career in law to be a sportswriter. And Tennessee sports fans will forever be grateful that he did. Russell joined the sports staff of the “Nashville Banner” in 1929 and became sports editor in 1930. Remarkably, he was the newspaper’s vice president and sports editor emeritus, writing a weekly column, in the mid-1990s! Nationally respected for his humanity and his fairness, he was known to his friends as a gentle practical joker. His style was light, humorous if called for, and insightful. Sparky Anderson, manager of the Detroit Tigers said, “[Fred] was never looking for trash to write – that stuff that happens on the sidelines. Fred was interested in the game.” In 1956 Russell helped to initiate the Grantland Rice Scholarship, later renamed the Fred Russell-Grantland Rice Scholarship, an award for an entering freshman who plans a career in sportswriting. The author of six books, Russell also wrote the “Pigskin Preview” for the “Saturday Evening Post” from 1949-1962. In 1955 he was the first recipient of the Grantland Rice Memorial Award from the Sportsmanship Brotherhood as an “outstanding example of sports reporting in the Rice tradition.” Among other distinguished honors, he received the Red Smith Award from the Associated Press Editors in 1984 for “extended meritorious labor in the art of sportswriting.” In 1988 he was elected to the National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame, and the Fred Russell Press Box at Vanderbilt Stadium was named by his friends and admirers.