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Friday, September 6, 2002
NASHVILLE --- The Fourth Annual John Merritt Classic weekend got underway Friday with a luncheon recognizing representatives from visiting Prairie View A&M University, host Tennessee State. In addition this year’s classic honoree, Samuel Whitmon, and Nashville mayor Bill Purcell also made remarks. Howard Gentry, Jr., who was elected as Nashville’s vice-mayor on Thursday, was the master of ceremonies for the event. Prairie View University from Texas is the third university to be represented in the Merritt Classic which began in the 1999 season. Samuel Whitmon spent more than 30 years at TSU as a student-athlete, coach, and administrator. He was an All-American football player and helped the Tigers to their first two National Black College championships in 1947 and ’47. The Tigers and Panthers will meet for the first time on the football field since 1971 when they tangle in the Merritt Classic. Pre-game activities begin at 6 p.m. with the game set to start one hour later. ###