KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Leonard Coffman, the last surviving starter on Tennessee's 1939 football team, coached by Robert Neyland, died Thursday, the school announced. He was 92.
Mr. Coffman, a fullback who was born in Middlesboro, Ky., died in his adopted hometown of Greeneville.
He played on the undefeated 1938 team that won a national championship and on the 1939 team that didn't allow a single point until losing to USC 14-0 in the Rose Bowl.
The university credited Mr. Coffman with being a pioneer of the now-standard dive play for short yardage, leaping headfirst over a low-hitting defensive line. He successfully used it twice for a pair of touchdowns in a 13-0 win over Alabama in 1938. Mr. Coffman became a high school coach and administrator in Greenville, about 65 miles east of Knoxville.