Reveiz follows dream to Hall of Fame

When Fuad Reveiz left high school, he became an All-American kicker at Tennessee, leading the Vols in scoring four straight years. He was drafted by his favorite team, the Miami Dolphins. He later kicked for the Minnesota Vikings, where he set an NFL record for consecutive field goals made.

Not even Reveiz figured things could turn out the way they did.

``No, absolutely not,'' Reveiz said. ``Obviously, you hope for the best and you're not negative about it.''

Reveiz finished his college career as Tennessee's all-time leading scorer (314 points). He still holds the mark for longest field goal (60 yards). Then came the pros.

``You realize you're one of almost one million college players trying to get a job, and there were 28 teams I could possibly get a job with. I knew the chances were very slim, yet it was always a dream and one I was grateful to be able to pursue. I felt confident about my abilities, but at the same time, the odds are pretty much stacked against you. You do the best you can and let it be at that.''

Reveiz's best led him to a stellar 11-year pro career and a spot in the Greater Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame. Induction ceremonies are set for July 12.

``It's a big honor and it's very humbling,'' Reveiz said.

Reveiz first made a name at Tennessee. He kicked a school-record 27 field goals as a sophomore, a mark that still stands. He kicked at least 20 field goals in two seasons. Only his younger brother, Carlos, has kicked 20 field goals in a season at UT.

It's ironic that Fuad's 60-yarder came against Georgia Tech. Carlos' long was 55 against Georgia Tech to force a 6-6 tie in 1985.

Fuad Reveiz said he once kicked a 74-yarder, but that was with the wind and without a rush.

``The neat thing about being retired is, I can sit in the stands at Neyland Stadium and think to myself, `Golly, that is so easy, 55 yards against the wind. Big deal. Anybody can do that.'

``Now, when I help Coach (Phillip) Fulmer at his kicking camp, I look at a 35-yard field goal and I'm thinking, `Oh my gosh, that's a long way.''

A 35-yarder used to be like an extra point for Reveiz. Not only does he have a 60-yarder at UT, he made nine other kicks of at least 50 yards.

He not only had a powerful leg. He was accurate. In 1982, he made 27 of 31 field-goal attempts. In the NFL, he hit 30 in a row. He also learned early that when you missed, you took responsibility. You didn't blame it on the holder, the snapper, the wind or the grass.

As a seventh-round pick of the Dolphins in 1985, Reveiz battled veteran Eddie Garcia for the job.

``The guy I was competing against at Miami, that (making excuses) is what he did,'' Reveiz said. ``Every time he missed a kick, it was the holder's fault, the snapper's fault or somebody else's fault. Coach (Don) Shula absolutely despised that.''

Reveiz said his no-excuse mentality was instilled by former UT kicking coach George Cafego.

``If you missed a kick, he didn't want to hear any excuses,'' Reveiz said.

Reveiz relished the chance to kick for Miami. Growing up in Miami, he was a huge Dolphins fan. He loved Jim Kiick, Larry Czonka and Bob Griese. But all good things come to an end. And in his fifth year with the Dolphins, Reveiz suffered a serious hamstring injury. The Dolphins cut him. He spent half a season with San Diego, then signed with Minnesota.

``I thought it was the worst thing in the world,'' Reveiz said of being cut by Miami. ``But it was really the best thing that could have happened to me. It forced me to grow up. You realize it helps you become a better man, a better person.''

Reveiz said he was grateful to have kicked in Miami's warm weather and in Minnesota's domed stadium.

``It's better than kicking in New England or Green Bay,'' Reveiz said.

Reviez owns Blue Ridge Construction Company in Knoxville. After his eighth year in the NFL, he returned to Knoxville seeking his UT degree. He wasn't sure where he would live after his playing days ended. He was convinced that year.

``I bought a used boat to see if we'd like the water and boating,'' Reveiz said. ``Oh man, after the first month, I said, `I'm done. I'm here. The lakes and everything that surround Knoxville is unbelievable.''

Reveiz doesn't spend all his spare time on the lakes. He has spent much of it watching two of his sons, Nick and Shane, play football and wrestle at Farragut High School. Nick is a walk-on linebacker at Tennessee. Shane will follow suit this fall.

That's a great source of pride for Fuad Reveiz.

Recently, Don Shula asked Reveiz how he was enjoying retirement.

``Coach, I've never enjoyed retirement more than watching my boys on that field,'' Reveiz said. ``It's an indescribable feeling that goes through your whole body when you see your sons down their playing.''

When Nick Reveiz decided to walk on at UT, he was told by many that he wasn't good enough, that he wouldn't get a chance, that he should play at the Division II level.

Father and son met with Fulmer.

``I told Phil, `All I want you to do is give him a fair shot,'' Fuad said. ``If you don't think he can play here, tell him. That's fine. That way, he can go to a place where they feel he can play.''

Nick doesn't have to worry about that. He was one of the leading tacklers in a spring scrimmage and caught the eye of defensive coordinator John Chavis, who said Reveiz will help at linebacker at some point in his career.

``One of the things Nick told Coach Fulmer, he said, `Coach, you can recruit anybody from any part of the country to Tennessee, but nobody will wear that jersey with more pride than I will,'' Fuad said. ``That really meant a lot to me.''

Nick Reveiz came within 17 pounds of breaking Al Wilson's school record in the power lift. He is driven.

``He feels like he's the underdog,'' Reveiz said. ``He looks at himself as someone that everyone told he couldn't play.

``I reminded him before the first day of practice, `Nick, just remember one thing – everybody who's wearing a scholarship jersey, they took your scholarship. So every practice, you'll have to prove to yourself and the coaches you belong on the field.''

And, just like his dad, Nick has proven that.

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