Mears compiled an incredible record of 114-22 at Wittenburg, which is located in Springfield, Ohio. He won the Small School national title in 1961, one year before taking the Tennessee reins.
Assuming a Vol program that had gone 4-19 the previous season, Mears posted records of 13-11, 16-8, 20-5 in his first three years on The Hill. In 15 seasons at UT he compiled a 278-112 record and won three Southeastern Conference titles.
Forced by health problems to retire while still in his prime, Mears stepped down with a 21-year record of 399-135 and a .747 winning percentage that ranked second nationally among active coaches.
Mears actually made the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006 as a member of Wittenberg's 1961 national championship team, which was inducted en masse. Other members of that initial induction class were Ohio State graduates Bob Knight, Jerry Lucas and John Havlecek.
Semeka Randall, the other member of the 2008 indution class with UT ties, came to the Lady Vols after a standout prep career in Cleveland, Ohio. Combining with Chamique Holdsclaw and Tamika Catchings to form "The Three Meeks," Randall helped lead the 1997-98 Lady Vols to a 39-0 record and a national title.
A four-year starter, the 5-10 Randall ultimately recorded 1,915 career points and 286 steals, ranking among the Lady Vols' top 10 all-time in each category. She was a two-time Kodak All-American and a two-time member of the USA Junior National Team.