Paul Anagnostis
Paul Anagnostis
Sport(s): Football
Year of Graduation: 1981-1985
Year Inducted: 2005

*Induction Speech by Randy Lambert*




1981 – 85


Coach Art Ogden and his staff were looking for young men to resurrect the football program at Maryville College.  They wanted student-athletes who could standout in the classroom and on the playing field.  A commitment to play from Paul Anagnostis, a 6’1”, 185-pound defensive standout from Hialeah, Florida with a 4.1 Grade point average was just what the coaches needed.  From the hot sunny beaches of South Florida to the cold, snow covered Honaker field, Paul hit the MC campus on the run and never looked back.

In 1981, Paul’s influence on campus was immediately felt.  As a Presidential Scholar, he was one of our best students.  Throughout his tenure on campus, Paul was involved in various leadership roles in student government and in the dorm.  On the football field, he stood out as one of the best defensive players in Maryville College history.

It did not take Paul is very long to establish himself as a steady performer for the defensive unit of the Fighting Scots.  Midway through his freshman season, Paul was inserted as a starting defensive back.  He finished the season with 4 interceptions and was a co-leader on the team in fumble- recoveries.  The 1981 team finished with a record of 5 - 4 - 1 and a second place finish in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference.

This team established itself as an ODAC contender with victories over Hampden Sydney and Emory and Henry.   Paul established himself as an outstanding player for the Fighting Scots.  He roamed the field with a ball hawking tenacity.

Even though his team had a dismal 2-8 record in 1982, Paul had a great sophomore season.  He finished the year with 51 unassisted tackles, 32 assisted tackles, and 1 fumble recovery.  Coach Ogden named him Defensive Player of the Game after two of the games.  For his outstanding season, he was named 2nd team All- ODAC defensive back.

During the spring of 1983, Bobby Saylor was hired as head coach and he was delighted to have Paul as his team leader for the next two years.  Along with fellow captains, Shannon O’Brien and Matt Otto, Paul tried to bring back the winning tradition of MC football.  Once again, Paul led the team in numerous categories.  In 8 games, he had 86 unassisted tackles and one fumble recovery.  His opposing coaches in the conference honored him as a first team All - ODAC Defensive Back.  He also was ranked 8th in NCAA Division III as a punt return specialist.   He averaged over 12 yards per return.  Coach Bobby Saylor had this to say about # 41, “Paul is a super defensive back.  He just seems to have a head for the ball.  Everywhere you see the ball, you see Paul. 

I’ve been coaching now for 20 years and Paul Anagnostis comes up and delivers as tough a blow as anybody as I’ve ever seen.”
His junior year was one for the records books, but Paul’s senior season was even better.  Time after time, game after game, the Fighting Scots depended on their strong safety for the big play.  In the first game of 1984 season, a 13-12 victory over Hampden Sydney, Paul had 18 tackles of which 9 were unassisted.  He also knocked down 4 passes and caused a fumble with one of his back breaking blows on a tiger ball carrier – all in a day’s work for the silent assassin.  He set a standard for himself in the first game of the ’84 season and he continued to wreak havoc on the opposing teams for the rest of the season.  Credited with over 100 tackles in 9 games, Paul was chosen All-ODAC as a defensive back for the third consecutive year.  The local sports writers honored the leader of the Scots’ defense with these comments upon the conclusion of his stellar season.    Red Bailes of the Knoxville News Sentinel called “Paul an aggressive, intelligent, hard-working football player with a nose for the ball and a strong will to compete.”  Bob Gilbert of the Maryville-Alcoa Daily Times had this to say:  “The big schools let one get away.  Paul tackles with the authority of a sledgehammer.  When he hits ball carriers, they fall backwards.
Upon graduation, Paul coached the defensive backs on the 1985 and 86 teams at Maryville.  He continued coaching and playing overseas as he accepted a position with the Lugano Sea Gulls of the European Football League.  He lived in Italy and played in Switzerland for three seasons. 

He returned to the states and decided to enroll in Law School at University of Florida.  While at Florida, he met his wife, Elisha.  Upon receiving their degree, they both began practicing law in Miami.  On December 22nd, 1998  their son, Kyle, was born.  Paul was diagnosed with aplastic anemia, a rare blood disorder.  He died on April 8, 1999 at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Florida.


Paul Anagnostis will always be remembered on our campus.  He was the perfect scholar-athlete, a born leader, a fierce competitor, a congenial, kind and compassionate person with a great smile, a true fighting Scot – Paul Anagnostis.