Tuesday, June 15, 2004
NASHVILLE - Five Tennessee State University athletes will be honored as part of the best "Black College Athletes of All Time" by Family Digest magazine; Ralph Boston, Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Wilma Rudolph, Willye White and Wyomia Tyus. Family Digest, a family and relationship magazine, will honor the "Best Black Athletes of All Time" at a luncheon held in Las Vegas, Nev., on July 3, during Family Digest's Bid Whist World Championship and Family Fun Weekend. "It is great to know that Tennessee State legends will be among the 26 being honored," said Teresa Phillips, athletic director at Tennessee State University. "I hope that we will continue to produce great athletes that can be recognized with such great honors, and be in the same category as TSU's best athletes of all time." The five athletes from TSU are: Ralph Boston, class of 1962, earned a gold medal in 1960 at the Rome Olympics, a silver in 1964 at the Melbourne Olympics and a bronze in 1968 in the Mexico City Olympics, all in the high jump. He served as a consultant to the U. S. Olympic team and a sportscaster for ESPN. He has been inducted into the U.S. Track and Field Hall of Fame, the Olympic Hall of Fame and the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame. Ed "Too Tall" Jones came to Tennessee State University as a 6'8" basketball player. He played basketball and football for two seasons, later he turned his focus on playing football. Playing under the coaching direction of coach Joe Gilliam Sr. He holds the TSU record for most quarterback sacks with 41. Jones, a consensus All-American, was the number one draft pick for the Dallas Cowboys in 1974. Wilma Rudolph, class of 1963, was the first woman to win three gold medals in a single Olympiad in 1960. Overcoming double pneumonia, scarlet fever, and polio, Rudolph also won a bronze medal at the age of 16 at the Melbourne Olympics in 1956. She was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame, the Greatest Sports Legends and National Track and Field Hall of Fame. In 1995, a year after her death, TSU dedicated the Wilma Rudolph Residence Center in her honor. Wyomia Tyus, class of 1968, was the first Olympic athlete to defend her sprint title in an Olympiad, winning gold in both 1964 and 1968. In 1964, she was a member of the 4x100-meter relay team that took a silver medal. In 1968 she set a new world record in the 100-meter dash. Tyus also worked with the U.S Olympic Committee and the Black Studies Center at UCLA. Willye B. White, established a 16-year record in the 1972 Munich games as the only female track and field athlete to represent the United States in five Olympiads. She won a silver medal in the long jump in the 1956 Olympics and another silver at the 1964 games in Tokyo in the 4x100-meter relay. White is a member of the Black Sports Hall of Fame and has been a consultant for the U.S. Olympics Job Opportunity Program and a member of the President's Commission on Olympics Sports. "These honorees are not great because of their athletic accomplishments; they are great because of their accomplishments off the field or court," Tyus said. "This is why it's important to celebrate their accomplishments, so that others may aspire to their heights." "Some suggest that society focuses too much on athletes as role models for our children," said Sheldon Dennis, vice president and co-founder of Family Digest magazine. "But I challenge anyone to read the biography of Wilma Rudolph who overcame a debilitating disease, or Alice Coachmen who ran barefoot. Their stories give inspiration to all to overcome obstacles and be what they want to be." The 26 "Best Black College Athletes of All Time" being honored are: Mel Blount (Southern University) Football; Ralph "Harold" Boston (Tennessee State University) Track and Field; Willie Brown (Grambling State University) Football; Junious "Buck" Buchanan (Grambling State University) Football; Alice Coachman (Tuskegee University, Albany State University) Track and Field; Willie Davis (Grambling State University) Football; Jim Dent (Paine College) Golf; Althea Gibson (Florida A&M University) Tennis and Golf; "Bullet" Bob Haynes (Florida A&M University) Track and Field and Football; Marques Haynes( Langston University) Basketball); Jim Hines (Texas Southern University) Track and Field; David "Deacon" Jones (South Carolina State University and Mississippi Valley State University) Football; Ed "Too Tall" Jones (Tennessee State University) Football; Larry Little (Bethume-Cookman College) Football; Earl Lloyd (West Virginia State University) Basketball; Earl "The Pearl" Monroe (Winston-Salem State University) Basketball; Edwin Moses (Morehouse College) Track and Field); Marion Motley (South Carolina State University) Football; Walter Payton (Jackson State University) Football; Jerry Rice (Mississippi Valley State University) Football; Wilma Rudolph (Tennessee State University) Track and Field; Art Shell (University Maryland Eastern Shores) Football; John Stallworth (Alabama A&M University) Football; Wyomia Tyus (Tennessee State University) Track and Field; Willye White (Tennessee State University) Track and Field; Doug Williams (Grambling State University) Football. 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