Col. Nathan B. "Red" Eubank

Copyright (2002) * All rights reserved
J.C. (Jim) Tumblin, OD, DOS
3604 Kesterwood Drive, East
Knoxville, Tennessee 37918-2557
(865) 687-1948

Fountain Citians Who Made A Difference

Col. Nathan B. "Red" Eubank

(1903-1986)

Courtesy Knoxville News-Sentinel Archives

"There is no country comparable to the United States. I went to war twice because I believed that." 

Those are the heartfelt words of Colonel Nathan B. "Red" Eubank who served in both World War II and the Korean War.  He imbued literally thousands of his students and team members with a spirit of patriotism.

Nathan B. Eubank was born near Pulaski in Giles County, Tennessee, on May 1, 1903, one of three children of Nathan A. and Martha (Harris) Eubank. 

His grandfather, Azariah J. Eubank (1842-____), fought in the Civil War as a Private in Co. A, 53rd Tennessee Infantry (CSA). He enlisted on  December 6, 1861. The unit, along with the 30th, 49th, 50th, Colm's 1st Battalion and Capt. Frank Maney's Artillery Battery, was stationed at Fort Donelson prior to the build-up of forces there.  

When Brig. Gen. Gideon Pillow arrived, he wrote in one of his first reports that "(the 53rd) was almost disbanded by measles and did not exceed 200 men fit for duty."  The mostly farm boys, many of whom had never traveled beyond the borders of their county, had never been exposed to contagious diseases and succumbed easily to them.  During the Civil War, disability and death from disease were about as frequent as casualties in battle. 

Under Col. Thomas F. Winston, the 53rd was brigaded with Johnson's Division, Col. A. Heiman's Brigade. The brigade was composed of the 10th, 53rd, 48th Tennessee Infantry Regiments, the 27th Alabama and Maney's Battery. This brigade took part in some of the heavy fighting at Fort Donelson (February 13-16, 1862) when Brig. Gen. U.S. Grant's Union forces blocked the fort while Adm. A.H. Foote's gunboats shelled it into submission.  

The brigade surrendered on February 16 and, with members of his unit, Pvt. Eubank was imprisoned at Camp Morton, Indiana. 

(As of July 6, 2006 we are seeking Azariah Eubank's service records to complete this Civil War history. Some members of the 53rd were paroled at Vicksburg in November 1862. Some were later reported at Holly Springs, Mississippi; Port Hudson, Louisiana; Mobile, Alabama; Dalton, Georgia; Franklin, Tennessee. Some original members of the 53rd were with Gen. Joseph E. Johnson's army at the final surrender on April 9, 1865 at Greensboro, North Carolina.)  

(As his grandfather would have been 61 at the time of Nathan's birth, he may well have known him and heard accounts of the Civil War period from him. If so, his avid interest in U.S. History may have begun in his childhood or teen years.)

Nathan attended grade school in Pulaski and high school at Hume-Fogg High School in Nashville.  Later, he graduated from the University of Georgia, where he was an All-Southern guard on the football team in 1925, playing at about 140 pounds. After coaching at the University of Chattanooga and the University of Georgia, he came to Knoxville Central High School in 1935.  In addition to his coaching duties, Eubank taught history and commercial law (1).

Head coach Harvey Robinson and line coach N.B. Eubank are legendary in the history of Central High sports. They coached together during a seven-year stint (1935-1941) with Robinson as head coach and coach of the offense and Eubank coaching the defense. The coaching combination was responsible for a fantastic 56-5-5 record, winning six state titles and one Southern championship.  A Robinson-Eubank coached team never lost to arch rival Knoxville High School during those years, although the teams did not play in 1937 (5).*

Courtesy Knoxville News-Sentinel Archives

In 1941, Coach Robinson joined the Army. Some seniors had gone into the service and the coaching situation might have been a distraction. However, led by team captain Ford Owen, Central won the 1941 State Championship, cinching it with a 7-0 victory over arch rival, Knoxville High School, in the final game of the season (2). Eubank also left for the service in 1942.  

When he returned from the war, Eubank coached for a year at the Citadel under head coach Quinn Decker. Then he returned to coaching at Central in 1947 along with Buist Warren, head coach, and O.C. Lloyd, line coach. He also coached in 1948 and 1949 and then retired from coaching to continue on the Central High School faculty as a teacher of history and sociology until 1972 when he retired completely.

During the 1950s Lt. Col. Eubank served as commanding officer of the National Guard's Third Battalion, 278th Infantry Regiment.

Vivian Crowe (1902-1986) was a native of Kansas, the daughter of Jason and Alice (Schultice) Crowe, who had taught at Carnegie Tech. She came to Knoxville to teach in the home economics department at the University of Tennessee in the 1940s.  In 1961, she became cafeteria supervisor for the Knox County Board of Education.  She and N.B. Eubank married in 1960 and established their home at 6016 Grove Avenue (Grove Park) where the couple lived out their lives (3).

"Red" Eubank was a "man's man." One of his former players recalled a scene that demonstrated his persona.  On a trip to South Carolina (probably to play the power house Gaffney team), Eubank and several of his players were dining in a local restaurant the evening before the game. A group of Gaffney players taunted the Central players and described how they would badly defeat them the next day. Coach Eubank had enough of the banter and walked across the room, bent over and whispered briefly in the obvious ring leader's ear. The Gaffney players stood and silently departed. His players always wondered what he had said as it was very effective. 

N.B. Eubank showing his Dresden China Doll collection to little Susan Ann Wallace 

and her mother, Mrs. William L. (Ann) Wallace. (Ruth Ford Wallace Collection)

Many of his former students and former football team members knew only the "True Grit" side of Colonel Eubank. They were surprised by a story and photograph in the December 20, 1957, Knoxville Journal detailing his unusual hobby. During tours of duty in Germany and Africa, he discovered Dresden China. He owned over 100 Dresden China dolls, including many in their traditional clothing--one a "vagabond" in short leather pants, bright plaid shirt, leather shoes and "calf warmers;" another a tiny ballerina and yet another named "Carmen" in her bright red bodice and bouffant black and white skirt. He designed and had built a huge glass-enclosed display case for his collection that also included a set of ebony elephants, Egyptian shoes of velvet and brocade and a German serving set with beautifully carved Lindenwood handles (4).

Colonel Eubank was knowledgeable in many subjects from art and music to football and military tactics and his library also was wide ranging. He was a student of the Bible and considered it "the greatest history book of all." Such books as Albrecht Durer (a biography of the greatest master of German art) and German Porcelain by William B. Honey graced his library shelves.

Late in life, in reflecting on his career as a coach, Eubank said, "There is no way I can mention all the many people who contributed to the success of our football organization at Central." Giving major credit to his fellow coach and longtime friend, Harvey Robinson, he named some of their elite players: Kenneth "Red" Bales, Charley Selby, Barney Searcy, Bob Suffridge (UT All-Time All-American guard), Ray Graves (future Florida coach), Ray Cannon, Hodges "Burr" West, Dan Y. Boring (later head coach and principal at Central High School), David  Cawrse, Jim Cawrse, Chan Caldwell, Mack Hansard, Charles Moffett, Horace "Bud" Sherrod (UT All-American end), Bill Fogarty and many more (5).

Col. Eubank was a charter member of the Fountain City Lions Club and assisted in its community projects, particularly in the upkeep of Fountain City Park and Fountain City Lake. To recognize his deeds as a humanitarian the East Tennessee chapter of the Football Foundation presented Coach Eubank a service award during the annual Orange and White Game at the UT’s Neyland Stadium on May 14, 1977 (6).

Mrs. Vivian (Crowe) Eubank passed away on February 2, 1986. Only nine months later, on November 20,1986, Coach Nathan B. Eubank, a long-time member of Fountain City Methodist Church, died at East Tennessee Baptist Hospital. After services conducted by Gentry-Griffey Funeral Chapel, he was interred in Greenwood Cemetery.

Only a brief acquaintance with Col. Eubank revealed that you had been in the presence of a true patriot. As a member of the U.S. military, as a high school teacher and as a football coach Nathan B. Eubank made a difference in many lives.

*(See the biography of Harvey L. Robinson for the record of the CHS Football Team during the years when Robinson and Eubank coached the team.)

Appendix: Coach Eubank was always loyal to the University of Georgia Bulldog Athletic Program.  There is a little known factoid about the Central High School colors that illustrates his loyalty. When the matter was discussed very early in his coaching career at Central, Coach Eubank immediately said, "Let's make the Central High Bobcat colors the same as my alma mater, the University of Georgia, red and black."

References:

1. Knox County Communities, N.L. Hicks, Vol. I (page 193); Personal Communication with Dan Y. Boring (CHS 1939), September 5, 2002 and September 28, 1902; Personal Communication and Notes from David Cawrse, September 28, 2002.  Mr. Cawrse recalls hearing someone call Nathan Eubank "Nathan Eubanks."  Coach Eubank said, "There is only one of me."  Mr. Cawrse agrees that there was one and only one Red Eubank.

2. Ed Harris, Golden Memories of Ed Harris (50 Years in Big Orange Country) (Knoxville, circa 1972);   Centralite (CHS Yearbook)  (1940-41-42); "Death Claims Harvey Robinson, a ‘Very Special Volunteer,’" Knoxville News-Sentinel, April 26, 1979.

3. Personal Communication with David Cawrse, September 3 and September 28, 2002.

4. Ada Wilson Sterchi, "Doll Collection Makes Unusual Hobby For History Teacher," Knoxville Journal, December 20, 1957; Personal Communication with Charles Sanders, 4/30/02.

5. Roland Julian, "Red Eubank: Coach, Teacher, Historian, Officer (Recalls His Players, City-Central Rivalry)," Knoxville News-Sentinel, April 24, 1977; Harold Harris, "Bobcats' best may have been 1939 squad," Knoxville News-Sentinel, November 18, 1992.  Dan Y. Boring, Chan Caldwell, David Cawrse and Mack Hansard  were all members of the 1939 team.

6. ibid. (Julian, 1977).

d-eubank.doc (4/30/02, 6/18/02, 8/9/02, 8/24/02, 9/4/02, 6/28/06)

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