NASHVILLE --- It was a night to remember as Tennessee State University honored its former football players that competed in the professional leagues Friday at the Renaissance Hotel.
The event began with a reception that rivaled a homecoming class reunion. Full of laughs, hugs and the sound of the Aristocrat of Bands, the one-hour experience was a preview of the festivities to come.
The cheerleaders were on hand to get the crowd in the school spirit before the program dinner officially began.
Former sports anchor Hope Hines served as master of ceremonies and led two entertaining panels with Pro Football Hall of Famer Richard Dent, Ed “TooTall” Jones, Dominique-Rodgers-Cromartie, Anthony Pleasant, Randy Fuller, Oliver Davis, Al Davis and TSU’s First NFL Draft pick George Balthazar.
The gentlemen reflected on their careers, time at TSU and lessons they’ve learned along the way.
Following a tribute to the former coaches and supporters, a portion of the program, “Gone But Never Forgotten” gave everyone a chance to call out names of those who are no longer with us.
Keynote speaker and former Tennessee Titan Chris Hope delivered an encouraging message during the program. He revered a few of his TSU connections, including his former Steelers teammate and Tiger alum Brent Alexander.
Emphasizing the importance of supporting the Big Blue program, head football coach Rod Reed talked about the Tiger Paw Booster Club before Director of Athletics Teresa Phillips had closing remarks.
TSU has a rich tradition in football. More than 150 former Tigers have gone on to play professionally while 21 have made super bowl appearances.