City Approves Statue for TSU Coaching Legend Ed Temple

Courtesy of The Tennessean
Mike Organ,

TemplestatueNASHVILLE, Tenn. The decision to place a statue of Ed Temple at the Nashville Sounds’ new ballpark was intended to provide the most exposure for the legendary Tennessee State women’s track coach, Mayor Karl Dean said.

The mayor officially announced Tuesday that the statue, which will stand approximately 7 feet tall, will be erected in the entry plaza area on a greenway near First Tennessee Park that will run from the stadium to the state capitol.

“It’s on the greenway so it will be in an area where people will be running, and it’s a prominent area,” Dean said. “We’re proud of Ed Temple and we want people to know we’re proud of him, and I think that’s a good place for it.”

The statue is expected to be finished in time for the opening of the ballpark in April.

Temple, who celebrated his 87th birthday Monday, coached at TSU from 1953-1994 and the U.S. women’s Olympic track team in 1960 and 1964.

A total of 23 of his Tigerbelles won Olympic medals (13 gold), including Wyomia Tyus and Edith McGuire, who finished first and second in the 100-meter dash at the Tokyo Games and attended Tuesday’s ceremony.

The idea to build a statue came from Nashville businessman Bo Roberts.

“They told me about two years ago that they wanted to do this, and I thought they were just talking; I didn’t pay no attention to what they were saying,” Temple said. “Then about a year ago they brought it up again, and I still thought they were just talking until we had lunch with the sculptor at Swett’s (Restaurant) later on in the year. Then they got to talking and I said, ‘I think they mean business.’”

Temple said he likes that the statue will be in an area where people will run and exercise.

Roberts said several locations were considered before he and a group of city leaders settled on the ballpark.

“We were looking around at different locations and wanted to get one that was appropriate and fresh and had exposure to a lot of people,” Roberts said.

“In communicating with (Nashville Sports Authority executive director) Toby Compton and the mayor we looked at it and thought this was the perfect place at this new, exciting ballpark. It will be in the entry plaza area on the greenway, which is open 365 days a year.”

The sculptor, Brian Hanlon, unveiled a model of the statue.

“The reason this sculptor is important is that we have to create historical markers of people that made a difference,“ Hanlon said. “This statue is not for Ed Temple, it’s about coach Ed Temple and Tennessee State. There’s a very important difference. And in that way there is humility in it. Then you can inspire and educate.”



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