1982 Football Team Honored at JMC
Sunday, June 7, 2009


The John Merritt Classic Committee is proud announce that  the 1982 Tennessee State University football squad will be honored at the eleventh annual John Merritt Classic in Nashville on September 5, 2009. The team finished the regular season with an unbeaten 9-0-1 record, and advanced to the semi-final round of the NCAA I-AA play-offs.

The 2009 JMC will pit the Tennessee State University “Tigers” against the Alabama A&M University “Bulldogs” at LP Field, home of the Tennessee Titans. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:00p.

Seven of the 1982 “Big Blue” Tigers garnered All-American honors. Notable players from that team include defensive end Richard Dent (Super Bowl XX MVP), wide receivers Mike Jones and Golden Tate, running back Larry Kinnebrew and quarterbacks Kenneth Biggles and Brian Ransom.

The John Merritt Classic, first played in 1999, honors the legendary TSU football coach who led the Tigers from 1963 - 1983. During those twenty-one seasons, “Big John” won four undisputed national championships among historically black colleges ranked by the Sheridan Poll, compiled a lifetime record of 172-33-1, and built a powerful program that produced NFL stars like Richard Dent (Chicago Bears), “Jefferson Street:” Joe Gilliam (Pittsburgh Steelers), Ed “Too Tall” Jones (Dallas Cowboys), Claude Humphrey (Philadelphia Eagles) and many others.

The JMC, the only football “Classic” solely hosted by an NCAA institution, is intended to allow Tennessee State to raise funds for scholarships and other related needs for TSU student-athletes. The Classic also provides an opportunity for community outreach with its weekend of activities.