ohnny “Red” Floyd is the century-old tie that binds Middle Tennessee State and Vanderbilt football, yet neither side knows much about that connection.
Floyd played at both schools from 1914 to 1920, transferring three times and playing a combined six seasons over seven years. He originally was pulled away from MTSU by a crafty recruiting move by legendary Vanderbilt coach Dan McGugin.
Floyd coached an undefeated team at MTSU between playing seasons at Vanderbilt while both schools sent their finest off to World War I. And, in the 1930s, Floyd returned to MTSU to become the first great football coach in the university’s history.
On Saturday, Vanderbilt will play MTSU for the first time at Johnny “Red” Floyd Stadium, the facility that bears the name of their shared gridiron great.
Johnny "Red" Floyd Stadium is named after MTSU's first great football coach, who also played and coached at Vanderbilt.(Photo: J. Intintoli / MTSU)
It’s actually the first time since 1920 that Vanderbilt will play in Murfreesboro. That year, the Commodores won 34-0, thanks in part to Floyd, their red-headed halfback and team captain.
“Most people are just not aware of the many athletic connections between Middle Tennessee and Vanderbilt, particularly in football,” MTSU varsity club director Jim Simpson said. “Our ...