By Ralphine Major
He was the point guard from Kentucky that the late Coach Ray Mears seemed determined to sign to the Tennessee roster. When I learned that Tennessee’s coaches went to watch him play in 17 consecutive games, I wondered if they wore those popular Tennessee orange blazers on all of those recruiting trips!
When Rodney Woods finished his outstanding basketball career at The University of Tennessee (UT), he entered the field of coaching. Woods has had an amazing career spanning 45 years, and he has coached his teams to over 900 wins! “My coaching style was influenced the most by Coach Mears,” Woods shared. At Wayne County High School, the Rodney C. Woods Gymnasium and Coach Woods Court have been named in his honor. As a coach, Woods has been inducted into the Kentucky High School Hall of Fame and the National Coaches Association Hall of Fame and was a Kentucky Inaugural Recipient of the 2021 John Wooden Legacy Award. Woods was also inducted into the Kentucky High School Hall of Fame as a player.
I remember the exciting days of UT basketball during the time Woods played, but I did not remember his statistics on the hardwood. Woods provided a look back at those awesome statistics during his sterling career at Tennessee. He led the Southeastern Conference (SEC) in assists three times—1973, 1974, and 1975. He still holds the single season assists record at UT—227 in 1975. He still holds the single game record for assists in Stegman Coliseum (Georgia) with 16 assists (February 1, 1975). He still holds the UT record for double-double games (points-assists). No wonder Mears was determined to sign the point guard!
Rodney Woods—Kentucky native, Tennessee player, high school coach, Vol for Life. It is fascinating that Coach Woods has a room in his basement full of orange and white! That alone should qualify the Tennessee player who wore No. 10 as a Vol for Life!
Thanks, Rodney, for some great memories in Tennessee basketball!