Tag Archives: Cheerleader

TSU Lays Foundation for Former TN Titans Cheerleader to Make Her Mark in Male-Dominated Sports Management Industry

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Sports management is a tough business, especially if you are a female, but Ashley Danielle Allen aims to change that.

“You know, it’s a male-dominated industry,” said Allen, director of player relations with a3 Athletics, a full-service sports agency representing football and golf athletes. “You are going to have to have a little bit more just to compete with the guys.”

Ashley Danielle Allen received her master’s degree in sports administration. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Trying to have ‘a little more’ to be competitive has kept the mother of three young children busy on multiple fronts. But on May 3, Allen took a break and celebrated a major achievement. She was among nearly 250 students who received degrees when Tennessee State University held its spring graduate commencement in the Howard C. Gentry Complex. Allen received a master’s degree in sports administration.

“I am really excited about receiving my graduate degree from such a great institution,” said Allen, who earned her bachelor’s degree in business at TSU in 2008. “For a longtime, I knew I wanted to go back to school. I looked at the surrounding area for competitive programs. But TSU was kind of home for me, and I received good advice, and I am glad I listened and came here.”

In addition to her master’s degree, Allen, who previously wanted to be an NFL agent, is also pursuing a law degree at Nashville School of Law. She has more than 10 years of experience in professional sports – from being an NFL cheerleader to managing player relations.

“I decided to get my master’s because I thought I wanted to be an NFL agent, and in order to be an agent you needed to be a lawyer or have a master’s degree,” said the Nashville native.

At a3 Athletics, she helps NFL and PGA players with community relations regarding activities off the field. Among them, currently, she is conducting 10 football camps for such players as Kevin King of the Green Bay Packers, Terrell Dean of the Arizona Cardinals, and Cameron Irving of the Kansas City Chiefs.

Ashley Allen was a cheerleader for the Titans from 2008-2009. (Submitted photo)

“I put on their camps and handle any appearances throughout the off season, and any appearance efforts they want to do throughout the season. A lot of the players are really focused on the game during that time,” said Allen, who also coaches the Tiger Gems at TSU. “I really love helping kids. Seeing the kids’ faces from hosting camps for players just makes me very happy.” Her children – two girls and a boy, ages 14, 7 and 4 – travel with her to the camps.

Before going into sports management, Allen was a former Titans cheerleader. After two years with the Titans in 2009, she stepped down, but stayed active with the alumni association, later handling media relations for the group.

“We worked together with the coach in terms of tryouts and other events throughout the year. I networked as much as I could, but I did not want to cheer anymore. At that point, I decided that I actually wanted to do something in the management role, especially as an agent,” said Allen.

Ashley Allen is the Director of Player Relations with a3 Athletics sports agency. (Submitted photo)

That’s when she says she decided to pursue her master’s degree, and subsequently, law school. She started work at a law firm, whose owner was also a sports agent. Allen says she would like to one day negotiate contracts for players.

“That’s my favorite in law – contract law – which is what my intention is in the long run with my law degree,” she said.

Allen said she also wants to give back to her alma mater for all she has received from TSU.

“The relations I built being in sports for over 10 years have really helped me, and I can use that as leverage for my institution,” she said. “As a way of giving back, I would love to help the university more once I leave, like seeking internship opportunities for TSU students with my agency. I love to teach, even if I have to go get my doctorate. I would love to come back and teach.”

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209

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 38 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.

Burnece Walker Brunson, TSU alumna and ABC Nightly News ‘Person of the Week,’ dies at 102

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Burnece Walker Brunson, a TSU alumna who was featured as ABC World News Tonight’s “Person of the Week,” has died at the age of 102.

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

Family members said Brunson passed away Sunday at her home surrounded by family and friends.

“They actually were having prayer and holding her hands when she passed,” said Dawn Dopson, Brunson’s great-niece.

TSU President Glenda Glover said TSU has lost a “jewel.”

“Ms. Brunson truly embodied the spirit of TSU,” said President Glover.  “We were blessed to have her with us for so many years, and especially as a symbol representing the legacy and proud tradition of the university. In 2016, we were honored to have her serve as our homecoming grand marshal, which was highlighted by her selection as ABC’s Nightly News ‘Person of the Week.’ She will always be in our hearts. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family.”

Picture of a young Burnece Brunson (standing, far left) and her father, mother, brother and three sisters. (Submitted Photo)

A native of Mount Pleasant, Tennessee, 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 Evanston, Illinois.

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.

Ms. Brunson with members of the Alumni Cheerleader Association and President Glover during a ceremony at Hale Stadium. (Photo by Jon Cross, TSU Media Relations)

As a member of the TSU Alumni Cheerleader Association, she was a fixture at Homecoming parades and football games, still shaking her pom-pom to cheer on her home team. A retired school teacher, Brunson returned and performed with the team at age 87 during the 2003 Homecoming, and did so nearly every year after.

“Cheering for your favorite players and entertaining your fans feel like you are also part of the game,” Brunson said in a recent interview. “It is home; it is family. My love for TSU has no end.”

Last year, Brunson was featured on the popular ABC evening show for her longevity and TSU team spirit.

“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.

Brunson was co-grand marshal at the 2016 TSU Homecoming, where she was honored at several events, including a scholarship that was established in her name. During the festivities, a film crew shot footage for a PBS special on HBCUs, and Brunson was included.

A prolific writer, Brunson tried to spread her wisdom in one of about a dozen books she wrote, 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.”

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209

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, 25 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.