Tyree was born in Carthage, Tennessee, in 1940. He received a bachelor's degree from Middle Tennessee State University, where his major was political science. Subsequently he earned a law degree from the University of Tennessee. Tyree, now divorced, was married to the former Mary Pat Dukas. The couple has four children.
For a ten-year period early in his career, he worked in law enforcement, including a four-year stint with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as well as a period as a police officer in Knoxville. He also served as a police commissioner in the City of Knoxville.
He was elected mayor of Knoxville at age 34 in 1975, the city's youngest candidate ever to hold that office, defeating Republican incumbent Kyle Testerman. He took office the following year. In 1979 he won re-election to a second four-year term, and presided over the city during the 1982 World's Fair.
In 1982 Tyree ran for Governor with support from Jake Butcher. He won the Democratic nomination by defeating Anna Belle Clement O'Brien in the primary election, but lost to Republican incumbent governor Lamar Alexander in the November general election.
Tyree was a candidate for sheriff of Knox County in 2006 and 2008. In the May 2006 primary he ran as a write-in candidate, winning over 5% of the vote and thus earning a place in the August general election, which he lost to Republican incumbent Tim Hutchison. In 2008 he won the Democratic primary held in February, but lost to J.J. Jones in the August general election.
- The Political Graveyard
- Randy Tyree (D) - Sheriff, Knoxville News Sentinel, July 20, 2008
- Randy Tyree (D) - Sheriff, Knoxville News Sentinel, January 13, 2008
- Tyree will be on August ballot for Knox County sheriff, WATE-TV website, June 8, 2006
- Chronology for World's Fair issues, Knoxville News Sentinel, April 28, 2002
- Sarah McCally Morehouse, The Governor as Party Leader, page 86, University of Michigan Press, 1998, ISBN 978-0-472-10848-0
- Catharyn Campbell, Hutchison wins fifth term as Knox County sheriff, WATE-TV website, August 3, 2006
- Tyree to run again for Knox Co. sheriff, WATE-TV website, December 12, 2007, updated January 11, 2008.
- Primary & General Election Results, August 7, 2008, WATE-TV website, accessed April 5, 2011
|Mayor of Knoxville, Tennessee