Vol Network reveals letter from Dolly Parton to ‘Voice of the Vols’ John Ward

Local News

The Vol Network revealed a special connection between two East Tennessee legends when they released a letter dating back nearly 20 years. 

The Vol Network tweeted this letter over the weekend, a letter from Dolly Parton congratulating Ward on his retirement. 

The famous recording music artist, businesswoman and philanthropist from Sevier County shared her own personal experience with the longtime radio announcer for Tennessee football and basketball games.

“I know my road manager, Don Warden, always listens to you while we’re traveling around the country in my bus. It’s like you are the ‘voice of the family'”. 

Ward spent over 30 years as the Vols’ radio play-by-play voice for both basketball and football before retiring after Tennessee won the football National Championship in 1999.

Parton couldn’t help but poke fun at the retiree, offering to put in a good word for him for a landscaping job at Dollywood, her signature theme park. 

“If you get bored with retirement, give me a call. I hear you’re a pretty fair gardener and sometimes we have openings on the landscaping team at Dollywood. I have a lot of influence with the folks there and I could put in a good word for you!”

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