100 Moments: Tigers Take Home Sgt. York Trophy
Friday, October 26, 2012
100 Moments: Tigers Take Home Sgt. York Trophy

With the game against Tennessee Tech coming this weekend, The 100 Moments of TSU Athletics presented by Taco Bell® series continues by remembering what could be on the line in the game.

In July 2007, the Nashville Sports Council and the Ohio Valley Conference announced the creation of the Sergeant York Trophy which goes to the winner of the quadrangular season football series between the four Ohio Valley Conference schools located in the state of Tennessee - Austin Peay State University, University of Tennessee at Martin, Tennessee State University and Tennessee Technological University.

After the completion of the football season, the Sergeant York Trophy is awarded to the institution with the best head-to-head record in the match-ups with their fellow Tennessee schools. In the event of a tie, the award is shared; however, the previous winner will retain the trophy if they are part of the tie. If the tie is between two other institutions, the trophy will go to the institution that has gone the most seasons without winning the trophy.

The award is only the second traveling trophy that involves more than two teams in college sports; the other is the Commander in Chief's Trophy which has been contested between Air Force, Army and Navy annually since 1972.

Last season, the Tigers won the trophy for a record third time by beating Tennessee Tech, 42-40 and UT Martin, 35-30.

In a close race, Tennessee State and Austin Peay shared the inaugural award, finishing with identical 2-1 records in 2007. Tennessee State took the trophy home thanks to a one-point victory in overtime over the Governors; that game was decided by a block extra point by NFL First Round Draft Pick Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. The Tigers repeated as champions in 2008, winning all three of its Sgt. York games.

The award is named in honor of Alvin C. York, the most noted Soldier of World War I. As a corporal in the 2nd battalion, 328th Infantry, in the Battle of the Meuse River-Argonne (Oct. 8, 1918), York and seven other soldiers captured 132 prisoners, was promoted to sergeant and received the Distinguished Service Cross, the French Croix de Guerre, the French Legion of Honor, the Croce di Guerra of Italy and the War Medal of Montenegro. Upon his return to the United States in 1919, he was bestowed the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Following the war, York returned his home in Pall Mall, Tenn. (located in north central Tennessee, 55 miles northeast of Cookeville) where he dedicated his life to improving education and facilitating educational opportunities for children in the state of Tennessee. In 1927, he established the Alvin C. York Institute after spending several years raising money for the school which opened as a private institution. That school was established, in part, to provide educational opportunities denied to the boys and girls of Fentress Country. In 1937, the Institute became a state special school after an appeal to the Tennessee State Legislature. The school, located in Jamestown, Tenn., is still in operation today.

York died on Sept. 2, 1964 and the foundation which he helped establish in 1920 - The Sergeant York Patriotic Foundation - was dormant for many years. The Foundation was re-established by Lipscomb Davis, Jr. in 1992 and is currently run by Sgt. York's grandson Gerald (U.S. Army Colonel, Retired). York's papers are archived by Michael E. Birdwell, Ph.D., who is an associate professor of history at Tennessee Technological University, one of the four institutions that will compete for the yearly honor.

The award is presented to the winning institution annually at the Pepsi Celebration of Champions which is hosted each spring by the Nashville Sports Council. The event was created in 1999 and salutes amateur and professional sports in Tennessee.

The 100 Moments of TSU Athletics presented by Taco Bell® highlights some of the greatest moments in honor of Tennessee State's centennial celebration. A new moment will be released each weekday for a total of 100. These moments were chosen by the TSU 100 Moments committee, which consists of alums from various departments. TSU has so many great moments, not all can be represented in these 100.

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