Thursday, July 21, 2005
NASHVILLE ---The Seventh Annual John Merritt Classic football game will match the host Tennessee State University Tigers against the visiting Alabama A&M University Bulldogs. The game will be held Saturday, Sept. 3. Kickoff is 6 p.m. in the Coliseum. Athletics officials, players, and head coaches from each of the schools along with other guests and members of the media gathered at the Coliseum Thursday afternoon for a press conference announcing this year's event. The John Merritt Classic is a growing event on the Nashville sports scene. The Classic is named in honor of the former TSU head coach and College Football Hall of Fame member, John Merritt. Merritt guided the Tigers from 1963-83 and led the team to a 172-33-7 record. This season, TSU will be led by first-year head coach James Webster, who will be making his debut as the Tigers' head coach with the John Merritt Classic. Webster was appointed to his position in January. Alabama A&M enters the contest led by Anthony Jones, who begins his fourth season leading the Bulldogs. The Bulldogs were 7-4 in 2004, ending the season with three consecutive victories. The 1970 Tennessee State football team will be the special honorees at this year's event. The '70 Tigers were 11-0 and won the Black College National Championship. Also, family members of long-time Alabama A&M head coach Louis Crews will be special guests. The former Bulldogs' mentor passed away earlier this year. The teams will be meeting in the contest for the second straight year. TSU won last year's game 42-7. The Tigers will be putting their unbeaten 6-0 record in the Classic on the line. Other events will be held in conjunction with the football game. For tickets and other information on the John Merritt Classic, contact the TSU Ticket Office at (615) 963-5841. The TSU Ticket Office is located in the Gentry Center. (Go to Football Scrapbook for more photos on the JMC Press Conference. Click on photos to enlarge)