Wednesday, August 20, 2003
NASHVILLE --- Tennessee State University will honor the TSU Original Boosters during activities at the Fifth Annual John Merritt Classic. The John Merritt Classic Weekend will be held August 28-31. The TSU Original Boosters was founded in 1962 and members of the club have been long-time followers of Tiger football. Earle Clanton came to TSU in 1962 as sports information director, beginning a 19-year tenure. Aware of the absence of TSU fans at most of the out-of-town football games, Clanton attempted to encourage some of the campus family members to create an active group of travel fans. His wife, Thelma, volunteered to get the effort off the ground. With the support of fellow volunteer Dot Vaughn, the first charter group of TSU Original Boosters was organized. The group made its maiden trip to St. Louis, Missouri. Those who sponsored the trip were Theodore Acklen, Sr., Phillip ?Snag? Johnson, Donald Jackson, and Robert Abernathy. The game, known as the Gateway Classic, was in Busch Stadium. TSU was victorious with a 31-13 win against Lincoln University. After the first trip, the TSU Original Boosters chartered buses for reservations to all of TSU's out-of-town games. Only one trip has been cancelled since 1965. If all the miles of travel were added together, the Original Boosters could have traveled around the world more than six times. Tickets for the Merritt Classic football game and others events are on sale. For more information, contact the TSU Ticket Office at (615) 963-5841.