Battle would replace Mal Moore, who is stepping down because of health reasons.
Battle was a three-year starter at Alabama for Bear Bryant before going into coaching. He was head coach in Knoxville from 1970-76, going 59-22-2 and winning four bowl games.
Kentucky played into Battle’s departure from coaching, however. Under Fran Curci, Kentucky traveled to Knoxville to play UT in the 1976 regular-season finale with a Peach Bowl bid on the line. The Cats won 7-0 earning the program’s first bowl bid since the 1950s.
The next day, Battle was forced to resign as Tennessee’s coach.