Tag Archives: Robert Covington

NBA Star, TSU Alum Robert Covington credits alma mater for his success, gifts donation for new construction project

By TSU Athletics Media Relations

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Houston Rockets forward Rob Covington is paying it forward to his alma mater Tennessee State University. In an announcement on Thursday, Nov. 12, the 2013 TSU graduate said the University played a major role in his personal and professional development, and now he will play a pivotal role in helping to develop its future basketball program at the “Covington Pavilion.”

TSU President Glenda Glover and university officials join Robert Covington and his family to kick off the Covington Pavilion project on the main campus. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

Covington’s gift is the largest of this magnitude to an HBCU by a former athlete who was a product of its program.

“I want to thank the city of Nashville for embracing me, and Coach Brian ‘Penny’ Collins, Dr. Mikki Allen (Athletics Director), President (Glenda) Glover and the University for giving me the opportunity to do something special like this,” Covington said.

“I love my alma mater, I’m not donating a new practice facility for the recognition or because I NEED to – I am doing it because I truly WANT to. I know what the school didn’t have when I was here as a student and I want future generations of kids to have the best resources available to them, to build their futures both on and off the court. I want them to step on this campus and feel like their dreams can come true here, because mine really did.”

TSU Athletics Director, Dr. Mikki Allen, left, and President Glover congratulate Robert Covington moments after the NBA star and TSU alum announced his project during a ceremony in the Gentry Center. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

Covington will fund the project, with construction slated to begin late spring in 2021. The facility will have two practice courts, locker rooms and offices for the men’s and women’s basketball programs.

“We are extremely proud of Mr. Robert Covington’s success and are grateful for his contributions to the University,” said TSU President Glenda Glover. “Most importantly, his success on and off the court speaks volumes about the caliber of students TSU and other HBCUs produce. We thank him, his family and the Allergic To Failure Foundation for this generous gift.”

TSU Director of Athletics Dr. Mikki Allen said the new facility will have an impact on the entire athletics program at the institution, but also speaks to Covington’s commitment to TSU.

“Rob and I have a shared vision for TSU Basketball becoming a nationally recognized program,” Allen said. “The fact that Rob has decided to make an investment of this magnitude accelerates this process and helps bring us closer to this vision becoming a reality.”

The President shares a moment with the Covington family near an architect’s rendering of the Covington Pavilion. Construction is slated to begin late Spring 2021. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

“As the Director of Athletics, I’m extremely gracious and thankful for Rob becoming a stakeholder in helping to change the national trajectory of our basketball programs. The narrative is shifting in the landscape of college basketball recruiting in respect to HBCUs landing 5-star talent.  Through this historic gift, the Covington Pavilion will now undoubtedly put Tennessee State University in the mix.”


The Bellwood, Illinois native gave the TSU basketball  program a $75,000 donation back in April 2019, but is excited to take the program to the next level with this large monetary donation. Covington continues to have close ties to the University, and shares a special bond with Head Men’s Basketball Coach Penny Collins.

“Rob has been a beacon of inspiration for our student-athletes since he left Tennessee State University,” said Collins.

“To have a practice facility for our men’s and women’s basketball programs will be a game changer. It also shows how serious we are on taking the next step in being an extremely competitive program in the Ohio Valley Conference. Our players will be committed to making Rob proud. He has definitely set the bar for them to follow.”

Collins added, “Rob was already a legend and with this commitment he becomes iconic. His name and legacy will live on forever in the Land of Golden Sunshine.”

Alongside his family, Covington started a foundation named after his life mantra “Allergic To Failure” to give back to communities across the country. He and his family host annual givebacks throughout the year in his hometown of Chicago, Nashville and other NBA markets like Philadelphia, Minnesota and now Houston.

Covington said he made the best decision in attending TSU and is a proud graduate. 

“I made some of the best memories of my life at TSU,” he said. “Go to a bigger school? Nope. I wouldn’t change it for the world because the people who’ve had the most significant impact on my life, they wouldn’t be next to me today. It’s special to be at the forefront of something that can spark a major change as far as kids going to an HBCU and learning about black history, their culture and where they came from. Learning about your ancestors – you can’t always get that in the classroom. That’s a big thing, it’s very important.”

While the road to fulfill his dream of playing in the NBA took a tremendous amount of work, the small forward said it’s a path others at TSU can accomplish in any profession.

“I had an experience very few professional athletes had. It was life changing. I’m a walking product of a kid that went to an HBCU and created a narrative for myself. I feel like now is the time for change and progression all around. I’m in a great place to give back to the place that shaped who I am – not only as an athlete but as a man. My family and I are excited to be able to do this and to break ground on Covington Pavilion today!”

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU Alums Publish Children’s Book To Honor Fellow Alum and Buffalo Soldier William McBryar

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University Alums Deontae Henderson and Brandon Van Leer recently collaborated to produce a children’s book honoring the life and legacy of fellow TSU Alum, Buffalo Soldier and Medal of Honor Recipient Lt. William McBryar.

The children’s book, Young William, provides a poetic depiction of McBryar’s journey from childhood to becoming a military hero.

McBryar, who served with the 25th Infantry in the Spanish-American war and fought at El Caney, Cuba, also saw action in the Philippine Insurrection before demobilizing in San Francisco.

Henderson, the book’s author and a 2018 graduate of TSU, said McBryar’s story is a tale that should be shared with all children.

TSU Alum Deontae Henderson at his book signing at the Southern Methodist University Barnes and Noble in Dallas.

“William McBryar, if you look him up, is one of those guys you don’t believe existed. He was a real superhero. He fought through disease. He graduated in his 70s. He was in the war until his 60s. He got in the war at a young age. He fought in three wars. He survived them. He got a Purple Heart, and he saved his regiment,” Henderson said. “We have Iron Man, the Hulk and Batman and all these guys, but if you want a realistic superhero, he is the perfect example of that.”

In 1934 at the age of 73, McBryar graduated from TSU, then known as Tennessee Agriculture and Industrial State College, with an agriculture degree. He died in 1941 at the age of 80, and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Last spring a number of lawmakers, military officials, and TSU officials gathered for a special ceremony for the unveiling of a historical marker honoring McBryar. The marker is located outside Kean Hall on the university’s main campus.

Van Leer, the book’s illustrator, said he felt honored to be part of such a meaningful project.

“We wanted this book to be one of those books that children remember from when they were in kindergarten and preschool, where they can enjoy a fun story and learn about their history at the same time,” he said.

TSU Alum Brandon Van Leer will display his art Thursday at the Main Street Gallery for Black Excellence: The Art Show.

Also a 2018 graduate of TSU, Van Leer’s work often reflects his love for culture as well as his alma mater. He has produced portraits of TSU luminaries, such as pioneering heart surgeon and civil rights activist Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr., and Tuskegee Airman Lt. Joseph White.

“I was honored in both approaches to be commissioned by my alma mater to have the opportunity to spread my talents in a way that will forever live on at TSU,” he said.

Henderson, who became a “#1 International Best Selling Author” with the success of his second book, The Hungriest Pirate,” said Young William will soon be available at the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum in Houston, Texas, where he spoke about the project in December. He said because of the historical nature of Lt. McBryar’s story, he wanted to make sure it rhymed and was fun for children to read.

“Your child is going to go to class anyway and learn about George Washington, Christopher Columbus and all these people who are a part of American History. Young William is just as important as them,” he said. “The only difference his name got pretty much covered up because he happened to be a black man during a time period when we weren’t celebrated.”

Van Leer, owner of the graphic design company, Rezilient Media, will share a collection of his work this Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at the Main Street Gallery. The event, Black Excellence: The Art Show, is free and open to the public. He said it will feature portraits of inspiring African-Americans, as well as the unveiling of new art.

Although Van Leer comes from a family of artists, he credits the TSU Art Department for playing a huge role in his success.

“My professors in the art department really helped me grow. They helped me think outside the box and draw bigger using different techniques,” he said. “They are like a family over there so I still go back and talk to them.”

Henderson’s newest book, Kid Smoove, features a 14-year-old superhero with the ability to teleport who is forced to balance life as an iconic hero with doing school work and being an everyday teenager.

Henderson echoed Van Leer’s sentiment that Tennessee State University provided a rich environment for his development.

“Anyone at TSU is fortunate because being at an HBCU is a different environment,” he said. “You see President Glenda Glover. You see NBA Player Robert Covington come through. You see yourself who is a writer who gets to write for the paper for the school. Just seeing all that, that was an inspiration for me.”

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. 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 Scholarship Gala Features Legendary Jazz Musician Roy Ayers

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University’s Scholarship Gala will take place on Friday, Oct. 19, at the Music City Center.

The event, which begins at 7 p.m., will be preceded by a 6 p.m. reception featuring the TSU Jazz Collegians and the TSU String Orchestra. Nationally renowned actor and comedian Jonathan Slocumb will host the annual fundraising event, which will conclude with a concert featuring legendary jazz artist Roy Ayers.

“The Homecoming Scholarship Gala serves as Tennessee State University’s signature fundraising event,” Gala chairs Cassandra Griggs and Iris Ramey said in a statement. “It provides an opportunity for the university to partner with alumni, friends, employees, corporations and organizations to raise annual and endowed scholarship dollars for the outstanding students at TSU.”

The gala provides critical funds necessary to meet the significant need for student scholarships and ensures access to the relevant academic programs required to successfully educate and prepare students for the global marketplace.

This year, the gala will recognize a “stellar group” of honorees and grand marshals, including ‘Waffle House Hero’ James Shaw, Jr., who received national acclaim after he disarmed a Waffle House shooter in April. Shaw will receive a Special Presidential Recognition.

Other honorees are: Dr. Calvin Atchison, retired vice president of Development/Foundation; Dorothy Lockridge, retired vice president of Student Affairs; and Coach James Bass, retired health professor and swimming coach.

The grand marshals are: Robert Covington, NBA player with the Philadelphia 76ers; Dr. Richard Lewis, member of TSU Board of Trustees and owner of Lewis & Wright Funeral Directors; and Delorse Lewis, former executive director of TSU Development/Foundation.

For more information about the gala and how to donate, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/gala/.

To find out more about TSU’s overall Homecoming this year, https://bit.ly/2wYtjJG.

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. 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 Alum Robert Covington Excelling in Second Season with NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers

Courtesy: Tennessee State Sports Information

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Former Tennessee State men’s basketball star Robert Covington is excelling on basketball’s biggest stage as a starter for the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers.

Robert Covington
Robert Covington was a decorated player for the Tigers during his four-year career at Tennessee State University. (Courtesy Photo)

After battling injury early in the season, the 6’9, 215-pound forward is averaging 14.1 points and 6.0 rebounds per game while leading the NBA with 3.2 steals per game. Now in his second season with the 76ers, Covington netted a career-high 28 points to go with a career-best eight steals on Nov. 28 versus the Houston Rockets.

In the 76ers final three games in November, Covington secured six-plus steals, making him the first NBA player to accomplish the feat in three-consecutive games since Alvin Robertson in 1986.

A 2013 graduate of Tennessee State University, Covington split time between the NBA’s Houston Rockets and the NBA D-League’s Rio Grande Valley Vipers in his first season as a professional in 2013-14. The Illinois native played his way to NBA D-League Rookie of the Year accolades, earning a spot on the 76ers roster the following season.

Covington was a decorated player for the Tigers during his four-year career, securing First Team All-Ohio Valley Conference accolades in 2012 and Second Team All-OVC honors in 2011 and 2013.

Current TSU Head Coach Dana Ford coached the now-NBA player during the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons, when Ford served as an assistant coach. Covington scored 1,749 career points for TSU, good for the eighth most in school history.

Covington and the 76ers were back in action Tuesday with a home game versus the Los Angeles Lakers.

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, 22 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’s Covington Named All-Star Game MVP

Robert Covington
Robert Covington

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service)  – Former Tennessee State men’s basketball student-athlete and current Rio Grande Valley Viper Robert Covington was named Most Valuable Player of the NBA D- League All-Star Game presented by Kumho Tire.

The Chicago native scored 33 points and added six rebounds and three steals in leading the Prospects over the Futures 145-142 at Sprint Arena at NBA All-Star Jam Session on Saturday night.

Covington, who signed a contract with the Houston Rockets prior to this season, has spent most of his rookie campaign with the Vipers, averaging 21.4 points in 23 games. He’s appeared in five games with the Rockets, averaging 3.8 minutes.

“It’s a great feeling being able to play well in this game in front of our GM Daryl Morey and all these others scouts and NBA people,” said Covington, whose 33 points set a new NBA D-League All-Star Game record. “I feel like I’ve gotten better during my time with Rio Grande Valley, and it’s good to see the hard work paying off in a game like this.”

Covington made 12 of 23 shots in the game, including 4 of 8 3-pointers to set the record and earn the game’s MVP.

 

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

 

About Tennessee State University

With nearly 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, 22 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.