Hall of Fame - Inductee Detail

George "Bad News" Cafego

George "Bad News" Cafego


  • Position: Halfback
  • School: Tennessee
  • High School: Scarboro, WV (Oak Hill HS)
  • Years: 1937-1939
  • Inducted: 1969
  • Place of Birth: Whipple, WV
  • Date of Birth: Aug 30, 1915
  • Place of Death: Knoxville, TN
  • Date of Death: Feb 09, 1998
  • Jersey Number: 72
  • Height: 5-11
  • Weight: 168

Member Biography

George Cafego came out of the coal mining district of West Virginia to become one of Tennessee's backfield stars. Hall of Fame coach Bob Neyland called Cafego a "practice bum. On the practice field he couldn't do anything right, but for two hours on a Saturday afternoon he did everything an All- American is supposed to do." After a 6-3-1 sophomore season, Cafego led the Volunteers to two consecutive unbeaten regular seasons. In 1938, the Vols topped their regular season with a 17-0 victory over Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl. The following year, 1939, the Vols did not allow a point to be scored against them in the regular season. Late in the season, Cafego was injured and played only a minute of the Rose Bowl loss to Southern California. Despite missing four games, Cafego became a repeat All-America. Cafego returned to Tennessee as an assistant for 30 years before retiring in 1984. In his three years at Tennessee, Cafego had a spectacular nickname, "Bad News," and gained 2,139 yards in total offense. He averaged 6.1 yards every time he carried the ball. He ran, passed, did all the punting, and returned kicks. In 1937, he had a 60-yard punt return against Virginia Tech; in 1939 he had a 70-yard punt against Louisiana State. After colege, Cafego played pro with the Washington, Boston and Brooklyn teams in 1940 ans 1943-45. He served as assistant coach at Wyoming, Furman, Arkansas and Tennessee. His tenure as a Tennessee assistant covered 30 years (1955-1984). Cafego was born August 30, 1915, in Whipple, West Virginia. He died February 9, 1998, at Knoxville, Tennessee.