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Press conference ignites 13th Annual JMC
Friday, July 29, 2011
Press conference ignites 13th Annual JMC

Nashville, Tenn. - The Tennessee State University Department of Athletics jump started the 2011 football season this morning with a press conference at LP Field.

The meeting gathered representatives from both teams to promote the 13th Annual John Merritt Classic (JMC).

WSMV Channel 4's sports director Rudy Kalis hosted the press conference joining TSU's Director of Athletics, Teresa Phillips, and head football coach Rod Reed. Representatives from Southern University, assistant athletic director, Earl Hill, and head coach Stump Mitchell, were also on hand to answer questions from the media.

Other dignitaries in attendance included: Tennessee State University interim president, Dr. Portia Shields and Duer Sharp (SWAC Commissioner).

The John Merritt Classic will be held on September 3, at LP Field with a 6 p.m. kick-off.

This will be the second meeting between the two schools in the Classic. In 2008, the Tigers defeated the Jaguars, 34-32. RECAP...

TSU holds an 8-4 record in the JMC winning last year's contest, 27-14, over Alabama A&M. RECAP...

The Tigers and Jaguars last met on the gridiron in the return game during the 2009 season. TSU dropped a 24-17 decision at SU in Baton Rouge, La. RECAP...

However, the Tigers own the all-time series record, 26-12-2, dating back to their first meeting in 1945.

The John Merritt Classic, first played in 1999, honors John A. Merritt, the legendary TSU football coach who led the Tigers from 1963 - 1983.

During 21 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 (Atlanta Falcons) and many others.

The JMC, one of four HBCU football Classics solely hosted by a single NCAA FCS institution, is intended to allow Tennessee State University to raise funds for scholarships and other related needs for TSU students. The Classic also provides an opportunity for community outreach with its weekend of activities.