Category Archives: Athletics

TSU President Glenda Glover says university focused on student success, no longer a ‘school of last resort’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – TSU President Glenda Glover says the university is focused on student success, and is no longer a “school of last resort.”

logoThe president was part of a panel of educators, community and business leaders that spoke at a Black History Month luncheon on Feb. 8 organized by Cable Nashville, a leadership organization for women’s professional advancement.

The theme of the event was “Leadership Vision in Challenging Times.” Besides Glover, the panel featured the presidents of Nashville’s other historically black higher education institutions: Fisk University, Meharry Medical College, and American Baptist College.

Glover said, as an HBCU, Tennessee State has always opened its doors to all students, even those rejected by other institutions. But she said the university has shifted its focus “exclusively” to student success.

“Excellence remains our top priority, but we can’t be the school of last resort,” Glover said.

In October, Glover announced that TSU is raising its admission standards and enhancing student success initiatives to increase retention and graduation rates. Beginning this fall, all students must have a 2.5 GPA and a 19 on the ACT for admission to TSU. The previous admission scores were 2.25 or a 19 on the ACT for in-state students, and a 2.5 or 19 ACT for out-of-state students.

“The day is over when you can call and say, ‘I have a good student with a 1.9 GPA and has promise,’” Glover said. “Well, this may not be the time you want to apply to TSU. We are raising standards because I believe that quality attracts quality.”

Janet Rachel, a member of Cable and a 1977 graduate of TSU, attended the luncheon. She said she fully supports Dr. Glover’s “bold” decision on student success and the spike in admission standards.

“I believe that at the core of helping blacks succeed is not just education but quality education,” said Rachel, who is the talent acquisition manager for diversity relocation and career navigation at Vanderbilt University. “I am really glad about what I am hearing from Dr. Glover. I hope the alumni will step up and become more engaged and more involved.”

The other HBCU presidents on the panel were Dr. James E.K. Hildreth, Meharry Medical College; Dr. Forrest E. Harris, Sr., American Baptist College; and Frank Sims, Fisk University.

Susan Allen Huggins, president and CEO of Cable, said it was important to bring the HBCU presidents together because of the partnership and the important role their institutions play in the community in terms of diversity and molding minds.

“We (Cable) were founded because of our strong understanding of and belief in the importance of diversity and inclusion,” Huggins said. “The Nashville community wouldn’t be what it is without these historically black institutions and the tremendous contributions they are making.”

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU Graduate is New Mr. Clean

Courtesy: The Tennessean

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State graduate Mike Jackson cleans up pretty well.

So well in fact, that he was selected to replace the iconic cartoon character Mr. Clean.

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Mike Jackson is also featured in a limited edition  Mr. Clean Calendar. (Courtesy photo)

The folks at Procter & Gamble decided that after 59 years on the job the powerful-looking Mr. Clean, with his white pants, skin-tight T-shirt and single golden earring needed some time off.

So they held a contest to find a fill-in, and Jackson, who graduated from TSU in 2003, was selected from hundreds who submitted audition videos to fill Mr. Clean’s white shoes.

Jackson made his debut during the activities surrounding Super Bowl LI in Houston.

“I’m a big football fan so being at the Super Bowl is pretty incredible,” said Jackson, who spent the week on radio row in his Mr. Clean garb doing interviews for the product. “I was really excited when I heard that would be my first duty as Mr. Clean. I can’t wait to see what else they have in store for me the rest of the year.”

A 30-second Mr. Clean commercial aired during the Super Bowl. It was the first time the product has had a Super Bowl spot.

Jackson played high school football in Atlanta and attended every TSU home game while he was there, which included an undefeated regular season his freshman year.

“It was great following TSU because we had really good teams,” said Jackson, who majored in marketing and now works in sports marketing.

Jackson was joined on radio row throughout the week by Denver Broncos linebacker DeMarcus Ware, who was tabbed the “black Mr. Clean” last year when he appeared on “The Tonight Show” because of his clean-cut appearance after the Super Bowl.

Ware has been associated with Procter & Gamble in the past.

Not only is Jackson muscle-bound with a slick bald head, much like the original Mr. Clean, but he also offers diversity to the brand.

Jackson also is featured in a limited edition Mr. Clean calendar.

TSU Hosts 90th Birthday Bash for Former Administrator Homer R. Wheaton

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University had a birthday bash for one of its noted sons: Homer R. Wheaton.

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TSU President Glenda Glover was among former colleagues, students, friends and family of Homer Wheaton, who packed Jane Elliott Hall Auditorium to honor the former TSU administrator. (Submitted photo by Grant Winrow)

Under the theme, “Everybody Loves Mr. Wheaton,” the university hosted a formal reception in a packed Jane Elliott Hall Auditorium on Dec. 9 with family, former colleagues, students and friends to honor the man many refer to as “an instrument of change.” Wheaton turns 90 on Dec. 19, which TSU has declared Homer Wheaton Day.

“The fact people feel this much about me to hold such a wonderful reception in my honor is just a great feeling; I am just grateful,” said Wheaton, surrounded by his wife, Vesta; son, Kevin; and daughter Rise Wheaton Pope, and their families.

“This institution has made such a tremendous contribution to the life that I ended up having. I never would assume that I would have had the life that I had, to be able to meet and help a lot of people to achieve success. This is something I feel good about. I have a very strong commitment to helping people.”

Over a span of nearly 50 years, Wheaton served TSU as director of Field Services and Extension, special assistant to former TSU President Walter Davis, director of Financial Aid, and vice president of University Relations and Development.

As part of the Dec. 9 celebration, the university launched the “$90 For Ninety Scholarship Fundraiser” in support of Wheaton’s continued philanthropic endeavors at the institution.

TSU President Glenda Glover, a TSU alum, touted Wheaton’s generosity, which she said made it possible for her to stay in school when her parents could not afford her semester tuition. She referred to Wheaton as a “servant leader and legend at TSU, who is caring, trustworthy and giving.”

“Wheaton’s name rings success among students,” Glover said. “His name is synonymous with student success. So, today is indeed a special moment in the history of our institution, as we pay tribute to a man who epitomizes love for TSU. He has touched the lives of so many.”

As director of financial aid, Wheaton did not only help thousands of students secure funding to attend TSU, he personally helped students to thrive and succeed, said Grant Winrow, special assistant to President Glover and director of special projects.

Winrow said Wheaton’s “tough love” helped him stay on track as a student at TSU.

“Mr. Homer Wheaton is the definition of a legend in higher education,” said Winrow, who spearheaded the effort to honor Wheaton. “He is legendary in the sense of how many people he’s impacted.”

Gospel legend Dr. Bobby Jones, a TSU alum and former professor, was among those who paid tribute to Wheaton.

“I have known Homer Wheaton for years because we worked at the same institution,” Jones said. “I had to come to show my support today.”

While Wheaton will always be known for supporting and encouraging students to stay in school, many credit him for his sense of persuasion that led to the recruitment of legendary football coach John Merritt, and subsequently placed TSU on the world map for its winning ways.

It is reported that when Merritt would not accept President Davis’ offer of the coaching position, Davis gave Wheaton the assignment of influencing the coach to accept. With Homer’s intervention, Merritt did not only accept the offer, but along came Joe Gilliam, Sr., and Alvin Coleman, Sr., as part of Merritt’s staff. Gilliam and Coleman would become legends themselves.

“Influencing John Merritt to accept the position of head football coach at the university is one of my favorites stories,” Wheaton said in a 2006 interview for TSU Alumni Life magazine. “During the next 20 years that Merritt was our football coach, we did not have a single losing season. He won many national championships and established records with respect to the number of players drafted by the NFL.”

To contribute to the Homer R. Wheaton Scholarship Fund, visit: http://www.tnstate.edu/alumni/wheaton.aspx.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

101-year-old former TSU cheerleader Burnece Brunson makes ABC World News Tonight’s ‘Person of the Week’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Burnece Walker Brunson’s popularity is almost as impressive as her age.

The 101-year-old Tennessee State University alumna, who was a member of the then-Tennessee A&I College cheerleading squad in 1934, was ABC World News Tonight’s “Person of the Week” on Oct. 21.

“She’s still cheering; proving to us all what it means to be forever young,” said David Muir, the anchor of ABC World News Tonight, and Person of the Week host.

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TSU President Glenda Glover introduces Ms. Burnece Walker Brunson at the Scholarship Gala during Homecoming. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

Brunson was co-grand marshal at the 2016 TSU Homecoming earlier this month. During the festivities, a film crew shot footage for a PBS special on HBCUs, and Brunson was included.

When asked in a recent interview about her longevity, Brunson quipped: “I just keep on breathing.”

A native of Mount Pleasant, Tenn., Brunson moved to Chicago for a better education. There, she got her first taste of cheerleading while in high school.

“It fulfilled my desire to stay physically active since there were not many sporting activities for girls during those days,” she said.

After high school, Brunson decided to attend TSU (A&I College) in 1933. The following year she joined the cheerleading team.

In 1936, Brunson received her teaching certificate and eventually went back to Chicago and earned a bachelor’s degree from the Chicago Teacher’s College, and a master’s degree from the National College of Education in Evansville, Ill.

While in Chicago, Brunson was the first female hired there to serve as a lifeguard.

Brunson would later return to Tennessee and make Nashville her home; the place where she developed unforgettable collegiate memories.

Brunson shared some of those memories at this year’s TSU Homecoming, where she was honored at several events, including a scholarship that was established in her name.

“She’s a very educated, and devoted person,” said Kevin T. Davis, president of the TSUNAA Alumni Cheerleaders. “We just felt that we needed to honor her in that way.”

Brunson’s son, Boyce, said he’s sure many people looked forward to seeing his mother; and gleaning her wisdom.

“After you have aconversation with her, you realize she’s not just 101 years old, but she has 101 years of experience that is valuable even in today’s world.”

Brunson has tried to spread that wisdom in one of about a dozen books she’s written, including Food for Thought: Nourishment for the Soul, which gives tips on how to navigate life’s challenges.

When asked what advice she would give people today, especially youngsters, she smiled, then replied:

“Do the right thing, in every way.”

To see the ABC News Person of the Week segment, visit goo.gl/tkUYm7.

Major Scholarship Donations, Big Football Victory Round out Successful 2016 Homecoming Celebration

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University rounded out its 2016 Homecoming with nearly $400,000 in donations for scholarships, and a resounding football victory before more than 20,000 fans at Nissan Stadium Oct. 15.

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Mr. TSU Jordan Gaither and Miss TSU Alicia Jones, and their Royal Court celebrate at the TSU Homecoming game against Eastern Kentucky at Nissan Stadium. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

At the university’s annual Scholarship Gala at Gaylord Opryland Resort the night before, the Tennessee Titans presented university officials with a check for $150,000 as a scholarship endowment.

TSU and the Titans have been partners since 1998, when the football team moved to Nashville. At the time, TSU offered its campus to the team as a training camp. The two have a lease agreement that allows TSU to play all or some of its home games at the Titans’ stadium.

“We sincerely appreciate this partnership with the wonderful Tennessee Titans,’’ said TSU President Glenda Glover. “It’s moments like this that make the banquet worthwhile. I want to thank Titans ownership and the foundation, as we continue to enhance this partnership that’s equally as beneficial to the Titans and TSU.”

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Thousands cheer the the Aristocrat of Bands as they entertain the crowd during the Homecoming parade Oct. 15. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

During the halftime show of the football game at Nissan Stadium, a number of alumni and supporters made financial donations to support students at their alma mater.

The Class of ’66, in celebrating their 50th year reunion, donated $121,401, the most in reunion giving. Audrey Strafford and Melissa Lewis made the presentation on behalf of their class.

Bud Reese, a longtime financial supporter, presented a check for $100,000 on behalf of his R. Reese and CMI Charitable Funds Scholarship in support of students from Memphis majoring in social work and those overcoming developmental disabilities.

Other contributions from the Scholarship Gala pushed the total to nearly $400,000.

TSU also recognized alums Alfred and Rosa Coleman for being inducted into the exclusive “1912 Club,” for surpassing half a million dollars in lifetime giving to the TSU Foundation. The Coleman’s are the first to be inducted into the club.

Also making a special appearance at the game to thunderous applause was 101-year-old alumna Bernece Walker Brunson, a member of the Alumni Cheerleading Squad. Brunson, a 1935 graduate and co-grand marshal of the Homecoming parade, was a member of the then-Tennessee A&I State College cheerleading team from 1934-1935.

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TSU quarterback Ronald Butler runs for a touchdown in the second quarter of the Homecoming game against Eastern Kentucky at Nissan Stadium. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman)

There was also a pause at the beginning of halftime to have a moment of silence for legendary track and field coach Ed Temple, who died Sept. 22 at age 89. Coach Temple’s life was highlighted with giant-sized images of him on the two massive jumbotron screens at the stadium.

Earlier that day, President Glover led thousands — including Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, U.S. Congressman Jim Cooper, other officials and TSU fans — along Jefferson Street in the annual parade that ended on the main campus.

Numerous floats, businesses, and visiting school bands led by the famed TSU Aristocrat of Bands and the Mr. TSU and Miss TSU Court, entertained parade goers along the route.

Jefferson Street businesswoman and TSU graduate Martha Lupai was elated by the turnout at this year’s Homecoming, whose theme was “celebrating a legacy of pride and progress.”

“It is just so heartwarming to see this king of outpouring for this university,” said Lupai, owner of S&E African Hair Braiding, which raises funds for scholarships. “This really is an indication of TSU’s overwhelming impact not only on the Nashville community, but the nation.”

At the football game, the TSU Tigers (5-1), defeated Ohio Valley Conference rival Eastern Kentucky 35-28. Next up for TSU is a road game at Southeastern Conference opponent Vanderbilt on Saturday, Oct. 22, in a game that will air on ESPNU.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Excitement Growing Over Tennessee State University 2016 Homecoming

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University senior Ariel Neely probably best sums up Homecoming at TSU: “It is just an exciting time of the year!”

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TSU¹s Aristocrat of Bands is one of the highlights of 2016 Homecoming. (photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

Hundreds of people are expected to attend the 2016 celebration, which started Oct. 9 and ends Oct. 15 with the game against Ohio Valley Conference rival Eastern Kentucky University.

This year’s Homecoming theme is “celebrating a legacy of pride and progress,” and marks TSU’s 104th anniversary.

Alums, both local and from across the country, will attend Homecoming events that include a scholarship gala, showcase of bands, parade, step show, coronation of Mr. and Miss TSU, and of course, the game.

“Homecoming is a way for family and alums to come back and see the changes on campus and what their kids or family members are really doing,” said William Johnson, a senior economics major at TSU.

He said this year’s celebration is extra special because his parents, both alums, will be attending.

“That’s just the icing on the cake for me to see them here,” Johnson said.

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A business along the Homecoming parade route showcases TSU spirit. (photo by Lucas Johnson, TSU Media Relations)

Organizers expect turnout for this year’s Homecoming to be one of the largest since the Centennial celebration four years ago.

They say reserved hotel spaces are filling up fast, and tickets to various activities are selling in record numbers.

“We are expecting a lot of people this year,” said Michelle Viera,

TSU’s assistant vice president for Events Management and chair of the Homecoming committee.

Many returning alumni say, more than anything, they’re looking forward to reuniting with old classmates and reminiscing about school days.

“First and foremost, just to fellowship,” said Nashville entrepreneur Kevin Robertson, a ’89 graduate of TSU. “It’s a family environment. I really look forward to seeing old faces and catching up.”

Burnice Winfrey (’85), and two of his three other brothers, attended TSU.

“I get to see a lot of people who come back in town,” said Winfrey, who runs a family business in Nashville. “I enjoy going to the pep rally, the game, and catching up with old professors and classmates. It’s a great atmosphere.”

To find out more about Homecoming 2016, visit www.tnstate.edu/homecoming.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Tennessee State University to Kick off 2016 Homecoming on Oct. 9

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – It’s time for Homecoming, and this year Tennessee State University is fittingly “celebrating a legacy of pride and progress.”

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A very enthusiastic TSU fan and potential future Tiger celebrates during last year’s Homecoming. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

That’s the theme for the 2016 celebration that kicks off Sunday, Oct. 9, and ends Saturday, Oct. 15, with the game between TSU and Ohio Valley Conference rival Eastern Kentucky University.

This year’s celebration marks TSU’s 104th anniversary. Organizers say the theme embodies the “true meaning” of TSU Homecoming.

“It is a time for TSU students, alumni and the community to celebrate the university’s 104-year impact on educational excellence,” said Cassandra Griggs, director of Alumni Affairs and co-chair of the Homecoming Committee. “Homecoming is a time when the ‘Big Blue’ spirit is celebrated through well-planned academic and social events.”

The planned festive activities include a scholarship gala, the coronation of Mr. TSU and Miss TSU, a parade, and Greek reunions and events, among others.

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Parade goers and TSU supporters celebrate on campus immediately following the Homecoming parade on Jefferson Street in 2015. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

The university will also celebrate the contributions of several former students and numerous supporters, including Burnece Walker Brunson, a 101-year-old member of the Alumni Cheerleading squad, who will serve as co-grand marshal for the Homecoming parade.

“I’m really looking forward to (this year’s) homecoming,” Brunson said in a recent interview.

She will be joined as grand marshal by Damon Lee III, who along with his sister Kimberly Lee-Lamb, earlier this year contributed $250,000 to the university on behalf of their late parents Damon and Rachel Lee, who attended TSU 80 years ago.

Yvonne Y. Clark (affectionately referred to as “TSU Lady Engineer”), who served the university for 55 years as instructor and associate professor of mechanical engineering; and Edward L. Graves, retired professor and bandleader for 35 years, will serve as honorees for the Homecoming.

Celebrations will kick off at 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 9, with the Robert N. Murrell Oratorical Contest in the Floyd-Payne Campus Center. The Founder’s Day celebration on Tuesday will start at 9 a.m., also in the Floyd-Payne Campus Center, to be followed at 7 p.m. by the Blue Sapphire Awards in Poag Auditorium.

The coronation of Mr. TSU and Miss TSU will take place Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Kean Hall. On Friday, activities will begin with the Breakfast of Champions in the Farrell-Westbrook Complex at 8 a.m. The Charles Campbell Fish Fry will follow at 10 a.m. on the President’s Lawn.

The annual Scholarship Gala and Silent Auction will take place later Friday evening at 6 in the Presidential Ball Room at the Gaylord Opryland Resort. The cost is $150 per person or $1,500 for a table of 10.

Homecoming events will culminate Saturday with the parade along Jefferson Street, starting 9 at a.m., to be followed by the Homecoming football game at Nissan Stadium.

See links for a complete schedule of events, parking details for Scholarship Gala, ticket information and how to purchase tables for Homecoming 2016, or contact speters@tnstate.edu.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Tigerbelles remember Edward S. Temple as more than a coach

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The women Ed Temple helped become Olympic medalists say the legendary track and field coach was a “father figure” who motivated them to be successful outside the sport.

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Tigerbelles and Olympic Gold Medalists Wyomia Tyus and Edith McGuire Duvall speak at Temple memorial press conference. (Photo by John S. Cross, TSU Media Relations)

Coach Temple died Sept. 22 at the age of 89. A memorial service was held Sept. 30 in TSU’s Kean Hall, and many of Temple’s famed Tigerbelles attended.

One of them was former Tigerbelle Chandra Cheeseborough-Guice, who inherited the title of TSU track coach from Temple. She made Olympic history at the 1984 Los Angeles Games when she ran a leg on two gold-medal relay teams and was the silver medalist in the 400 meters.

She recalled Temple calling her after he retired in 1994 and urging her to take the job. She didn’t say no.

“I got the job and 22 years later, I’m still here at Tennessee State,” said Cheeseborough-Guice, adding that she considered Temple to be a “father figure, and a man of truth and wisdom.”

“I’m blessed that he entrusted me with this program, to keep the legacy going,” she said.

Temple led the Tigerbelles to 23 Olympic medals. In all, of the 40 athletes he trained and sent to the Olympics, 100 percent of them received college degrees.

“This speaks to his greatness and impact,” said TSU President Glenda Glover. “Tennessee State will always remember Ed Temple, the man and the coach.”

Coach Temple’s daughter, Edwina, said about 85 percent of those 40 Olympians have more than one degree, and roughly 10 percent have doctorates.

“He wanted them to get an education,” she said. “He wanted them to be productive citizens once they left this institution.”

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Former Tigerbelles Madeline Manning Mims and Edith McGuire Duvall, and current Tigerbelle Amber Hughes, sign banner dedicated to Coach Ed Temple before his memorial service. (photo by John Cross, TSU Public Relations)

Former Tigerbelle and two-time Olympic medalist Madeline Manning Mims said it was Temple who encouraged her to get her doctorate.

“He just really encouraged me to go all the way,” Mims said. “I remember calling Edwina and letting her know when I got my master’s, and he said, ‘OK, you’ve gone all the way in athletics, now go all the way in education.’”

Former Tigerbelle Edith McGuire Duvall said she appreciated the fact that Temple wanted his athletes to perform just as good, or better, in the classroom.

“He impressed upon me to finish school,” said the Olympic gold medalist, adding that she lost her father a year before she started at TSU, and that Temple was someone she turned to for advice. “This man treated us all like his kids. We were there to run track, but also to get an education.”

Olympic bronze medalist Margaret Matthews Wilburn, a retired Memphis principal, said her experience with Temple as a Tigerbelle helped her be successful in the workforce.

“Some of the skills I learned from him; some of the work habits I learned from him, I used them as a principal,” Wilburn said. “He made me a better person.”

Current Tigerbelle Amber Hughes said that even though she didn’t train under Temple, she feels fortunate to be coached by someone who did.

“Just to know that he is the one who brought my coach here, and that I’m now under the coaching of who he coached and brought up,” Hughes said. “He was a great man.”

Coach Temple’s legacy is now on display as exhibits in the Smithsonian Institution’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. The TSU collection includes Temple’s Olympic jacket, replicas of gold medals won by the Tigerbelles, and other artifacts or memorabilia.

To read more about Coach Temple, visit: www.tnstate.edu/edtemple.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

 

Legendary coach Ed Temple ‘changed the landscape of women’s track forever’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Legendary track and field coach Ed Temple’s impact on the sport will be discussed for generations to come, say those close to the man who led Tennessee State University’s famed Tigerbelles to 23 Olympic medals.

Temple died Sept. 22 at the age of 89. A memorial service is planned for Sept. 30 in TSU’s Kean Hall.

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Coach Ed Temple’s daughter, Edwina (far left); Sculptor Brian Hanlon; Coach Temple; TSU President Glenda Glover at unveiling of sculpture honoring Temple. (photo by John Cross)

“His accomplishments are unparalleled and continue to resonate even today on our campus and with any organization participating in the sport,” said TSU President Glenda Glover. “Tennessee State will always remember Ed Temple, the man and the coach.”

Davidson County Criminal Court clerk Howard Gentry, Jr., who was TSU’s athletic director when Temple retired, called him “an icon, not to be duplicated in any form.”

“He built a team of world class track participants who changed the landscape of women’s track forever,” Gentry said.

Temple was head of TSU’s women’s track and field program from 1950 to 1994. He led more than 40 athletes to the Olympics, snagging 16 gold medals. His athletes also accumulated more than 30 national titles.

Dwight Lewis, who is co-authoring a book about the Tigerbelles, said there were a few countries like Germany that dominated track and field, particularly at the Olympic Games, up until the mid-1950s. But then the Tigerbelles made their presence known at the Games in Melbourne, Australia, in 1956 when they won several bronze medals.

They continued that domination at the Olympic Games in Rome in 1960, highlighted by Wilma Rudolph’s three gold medals, the first American woman to win that many gold medals in track and field during a single Olympic Games.

1959-60 Tigerbells with Coach Temple
(TSU archives)

“Since 1960, it’s been America dominating,” Lewis said. “And it was the Tigerbelles who started that wave. Coach Temple would often say, ‘They paved the way for other women in sports.’”

Olympic gold medalist Ralph Boston, who was among the athletes that Temple trained, agreed his legacy lives on.

“He certainly made a difference in the track and field world,” said Boston, who got a gold medal in the long jump competition during the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome.

Boston and others say Temple’s accomplishments were even more impressive coming in the midst of severe racism and discrimination that permeated the United States during the 1950s and 1960s.

“He did it in some of the toughest times that our nation faced,” Gentry said. “And so to see that occur in the 50s and the 60s, and then moving into the 70s, was an amazing feat by one person. But also a true inspiration for all who had the ability to experience it.”

Monica Fawknotson, executive director of the Metro Sports Authority, of which Temple was a founding member, said Temple had a “profound influence.”

“He not only embodied excellence, he expected it from us and, like all great coaches, called it out of us,” Fawknotson said. “He taught us that greatness is not about one’s color or gender, but about hard work and the spirit of a person.”

In 2015, a 9-foot bronze statue was unveiled in Temple’s likeness at First Tennessee Park in Nashville. The visionary for the statue was Nashville businessman Bo Roberts, who said the project had been in the works for well over a decade, and that he was glad the unveiling could finally take place for one of his longtime heroes.

“We hope locals and visitors will come to this statue to learn about and honor one of the city’s most important citizens,” Roberts said.

Coach Temple’s legacy is now on display for the world to see as exhibits in the Smithsonian Institution’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. The TSU collection includes Temple’s Olympic jacket, replicas of gold medals, and other artifacts or memorabilia.

To read more about Coach Temple, and get information about the memorial service, visit: www.tnstate.edu/edtemple.

 

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

 

TSU in the Smithsonian, Participates in Dedication of the National Museum of African-American History and Culture

WASHINGTON, D.C. (TSU News Service) – The ringing of a historic bell from Virginia, donated as a symbol of freedom, heralded the opening of the Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 24.

Thousands from all walks of life, including statesmen, Freedom Riders, Tuskegee Airmen, ordinary citizens and a 99-year-old woman whose father was born a slave and died a doctor, assembled on the National Mall to see the grand opening of a museum 100 years in the making.

The 400,000-square-foot building, sitting next to the Washington Monument, contains artifacts and collections donated by families, individuals, and institutions, including Tennessee State University. TSU donated gold medals, championship trophies and track cleats, as well as photographs and portraits of TSU trailblazers and coaches from the university’s rich athletic history, including legendary TSU Track and Field Coach Ed Temple who died on Sept. 22 at the age of 89.

TSU President Glenda Glover, who led a delegation to the weeklong ceremonies marking the dedication, expressed thanks and appreciation to the museum’s curators for including items from TSU.

“These are treasured collections from our institution’s history and we are grateful for the exposure they will receive,” Glover said. “Now, the whole world and visitors to this magnificent museum will get to see some of Tennessee State University’s past and our strive to uphold the American history through our contribution to the collections here.”

The museum, observers said, chronicles one of the most profound narratives in America’s identity by exploring the country’s history, its present, its greatest shame – slavery – and its people’s greatest triumphs.

President Obama said the museum provides a context for the “debate of our time and our history.”

“African-American history is not somehow separate from the American story,” he said. “It is not the underside of the American story. It is central to the American story.  It was a narrative that was messy and full of contradictions as all great stories are.”

While only a limited number were able to access the museum’s sold-out grand opening, officials estimate the inauguration ceremony unfolded before 7,000 official guests and thousands more spectators. Speakers included Congressman John Lewis, who advocated for an African American history museum for years, and former President George W. Bush, who signed the 2003 law authorizing the construction of the museum.

TSU Associate Professor of African American and Public History, Dr. Learotha Williams, Jr., said the museum represents a grand effort to tell a more complete story of the American Experience through the eyes of a people who were an integral, yet underappreciated and marginalized part of the narrative.

“As I looked at the beautiful structure with its golden hue, I thought about the passage from Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man that referenced the ‘Black Dope,’ the invisible but key ingredient in the company’s Optic White Paint. Without it, the paint would not have its allure, its beauty,” Williams said.  “For me, this is what this museum represents.”

He called the museum the “most important of all the spaces” on the National Mall.

Chandra Cheeseborough-Guice, a former two-time TSU Olympian and current director of track and field, donated memorabilia that’s part of the TSU collection in the museum.

“It is such an honor to be a part of the Smithsonian museum,” Cheeseborough-Guice said. “I am still elated and in awe about the honor. I just want to thank God for allowing me to really follow coach Temple’s footsteps as a history maker.”

In addition to the TSU collection, the museum’s nine floors contain three history galleries covering slavery through present day, including the #BlackLivesMatter movement; a theater named for donor Oprah Winfrey, a TSU graduate; culture galleries featuring African-American icons of music, theater, film and television; and a Contemplative Court, where visitors can reflect on what they’ve seen.

“Hopefully this grand occasion allows the rest of the nation to come out and see a building that’s not just for African Americans, it’s for all of America,” said Master Sgt. Donald Sparks of Houston, who just finished a yearlong deployment in Iraq. “I’m just elated and can’t express how much joy and gratitude I have to be here today and witness history.”

Please click link for museum Quick Facts, Visiting Hours, and Frequently Asked Questions.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.