TSU Tigers in the NFL Honored in Grand Fashion By Alma Mater
Heads were held high, memories of past athletic fetes were relived, and a youthful spirit was reinvigorated on Friday, October 23, 2015 in the H&PE Arena on Texas Southern University’s campus as TSU paid tribute to its former Tigers who had careers in the National Football League.
Tigers in the NFL – A First and Goal Celebration brought back 29 former standout football athletes for TSU’s themed Homecoming 2015 - ’88 - The Roar is Great’. Each man, honored one-by-one for their contribution both to the NFL and to Texas Southern University, was given a customized Tigers in the NFL blazer and medallion.
“I haven’t had an experience like this in over 30 years,” said former New York Jets All-Pro offensive lineman and Super bowl champion Winston Hill.
Similar sentiments were shared by Hill’s fellow honorees as they were recognized by their alma mater in front of their families, friends, fans, alumni, former teammates and current TSU faculty, staff and students for their contribution to the legacy of TSU athletics.
“Being honored and receiving this jacket and medal means a lot to me because it tells me that all the hard work that I’ve done throughout high school, college and in the pros is respected, said Mike Holmes, a former San Francisco 49ers safety. “To be honored by TSU touches my heart.”
United States Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee (D-18th District) presented the honorees with a certificate and a replica of House Resolution 489 commemorating the 88th anniversary of Texas Southern University. Tony Wyllie, TSU alum and current senior vice president of communications for the Washington Redskins, served as the master of ceremony. Michael Strahan, Brett Maxie, and Cortez Hankton – all former TSU football standouts who also were stars in the NFL - were not able to attend due to scheduling conflicts, but sent congratulatory video messages. Ernie Holmes and James Ford were honored posthumously and family members accepted their awards. Earnest Walker, Montina Cooper, Kyle Turner, and Werner Richmond provided musical entertainment for the event.
Honorees served as Grand Marshals for the Grand Tiger Parade on Saturday, October 24 and were recognized during a pre-Homecoming game ceremony where the TSU Tigers battled the Southern University Jaguars, but lost the contest, 40-21 in a rain-soaked game at BBVA Stadium.
Texas Southern University hosted its Tigers in the NFL – A First and Goal Celebration October 23 as part of its Homecoming festivities. The former TSU and NFL athletes that were honored were, front row, from left, Andy Rice, Warren Wells, Leroy Mitchell, Marvell Simms, Charles Philyaw, Kenny Burrough, David Thomas; second row, from left, TSU Student Regent Dominique Calhoun, TSU Regent Glenn O. Lewis, TSU First Lady Docia Rudley, TSU President Dr. John Rudley, Darrell Colbert, Frederick Dean, Arthur Cox, James Williams, Melvin Baker, Mike Holmes, Oliver Celestin, James Ford Family, and Ernie Holmes Family; third row, from left, TSU Communications Kendrick Callis, Charles Frazier, Larry Crowe, W.K Hicks, Jack Holmes, Nate Johnson, TSU Interim Vice President University Advancement Eva Pickens, Kevin Harris, Joe Burch, Raymond Baylor, Gregg Briggs, Winston Hill, Lloyd Mumphord, and TSU Marketing Rodney Bush. Also honored but not shown is Willie Ellison.