TSU quarterback legend inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame
Monday, February 23, 2009

 

Nashville, Tenn. - Former Tennessee State University star quarterback Joe Gilliam, Jr. was inducted posthumously into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame on Friday (2/20/09).

Gilliam becomes the 24th honoree affiliated with TSU athletics and the second father-son duo to be inducted. Gilliam joins his father, Joe Gilliam, Sr., who was inducted in 2007 accepting the honor on his behalf.

 

Known has "Jefferson Street" Joe Gilliam, the Nashville native played for the Tigers after graduating from Pearl High School. In his collegiate career, Gilliam played for the legendary "Big" John Merritt from 1969-'71 passing for a career 5, 213 yard  (320-of-677) and 50 touchdowns leading TSU to back-to-back Black College National Championships in '70 and '71.  

In 1972, the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted him in the 11th round. Gilliam made history in 1974 becoming the first African-American to open the season as the starting quarterback in the Steelers' opener against the Baltimore Colts. 

In his four-year NFL career (1972-'76), he completed 44 percent (147-of-331) of his passes for a total 2, 103 yds (6.4 avg) and nine touchdowns.

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TSU Athletes, Coaches and Administrators Inducted in the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame

2009 - *"Jefferson Street" Joe Gilliam, Jr.

2008 - Madeline Manning Mims

2007 - Joe Gilliam, Sr.

2006 - Richard Dent

2005 - Dick "Skull" Barnett

2004 - Lloyd Neal

2002 - Chandra Cheesborough

2001 - Lucinda Williams Adams

1999 - *Mae Faggs Starr

1998 - Leonard "Truck" Robinson (img1) (img2) (img3) (img4)

1998 - Margaret Matthews Wilburn

1997 - Theodore McClain  - (img)

1994 - *Ed Martin (img)

1993 - *John B. McClendon - (img)

1992 - *Dr. Walter Davis   - (athletic bio)

1989 - *"Big" John Merritt - (img)

1988 - *Howard Gentry Sr. (img)

1988 - Claude Humphrey (img)

1975 - Edith McGuire Duvall

1973 - Wyomia Tyus Simburg

1972 - Edward Temple

1970 - Ralph Boston - (bio2)

1968 - *John (Rabbit) Barnhill - (img)

1967 - *Wilma Rudolph

*Deceased