NASHVILLE – Linebacker Keith Bulluck announced his retirement from the NFL today as a member of the Tennessee Titans.
Bulluck, who played a total of 11 seasons with the Titans (2000–2009) and New York Giants (2010), signed a contract with the Titans and will formally submit his retirement to the NFL tomorrow.
“Growing up as a foster kid from the age of 12 to 18 in Rockland County (N.Y.), playing football at the collegiate and professional levels was a dream I always had,” Bulluck said. “I earned opportunities to play for Syracuse University, the Tennessee Titans and my hometown New York Giants, and my upbringing allowed me to develop the focus and determination I needed to be successful at each level. I’ve been blessed and am very thankful to my university and these great organizations for allowing me to showcase my talents on and off the field.
“The game of football has always been first in my life, coming before my friends, and in recent years, my family,” Bulluck said. “My quest to be the best football player and teammate that I can be has come to an end, and I am very much at peace with that. Throughout my 11-year NFL career, my teammates have been my family.
“I would like to thank my entire football family, starting with Syracuse University, the New York Giants and all my Tennessee Titan teammates, coaches, the entire organization and all the staff members I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. Most of all I want to thank the city and the community of Nashville for supporting me and my teammates during my 10 years with the Titans. A very special thanks goes to my family, Heather, Keira, and Kenzi, the best team I’ve ever been a part of.”
Originally a first-round pick by the Titans in the 2000 NFL Draft, Bulluck concludes his career as the third all-time leading tackler in Titans/Oilers history. His 1,265 total tackles trail only linebackers Gregg Bingham (1,970) and Robert Brazile (1,281).
Bulluck was a mainstay in the Titans lineup for the better part of a decade and was one of the club’s most durable players. He appeared in 135 consecutive games from Nov. 12, 2001 against the Baltimore Ravens to Dec. 20, 2009 against the Miami Dolphins. The streak tied defensive lineman Elvin Bethea for fourth all-time in team annals, trailing only streaks by offensive lineman Bruce Matthews (232), Brazile (147) and punter Craig Hentrich (146).
Bulluck’s run came to an end when he missed the final two games of the 2009 season with a knee injury. The injury also ended his 127-game consecutive starting streak, which ranks sixth all-time for the franchise and third among linebackers (Brazile, Bingham).
The 2009 campaign was Bulluck’s eighth consecutive season with 100 or more tackles, a feat unparalleled for the team in the last 30 years. Since 1979, no other Titans or Oilers player has recorded more than five consecutive 100-tackle seasons. He was the leading tackler for the team in six different seasons (2002–2006, 2008).
Bulluck scored six total touchdowns during his 10-year career with the Titans, including one on an interception return, four
on fumble returns and one on a blocked punt. The total ranks third in franchise history behind those of Ken Houston (11) and Billy Johnson (seven) for career return touchdowns. The Titans were a perfect 6-0 in games Bulluck scored a touchdown.
Among linebackers in Oilers/Titans history, only Bingham (21) had more career interceptions than Bulluck, who had 19. Bulluck ranks 14th overall for the franchise in the category.
Selected out of Syracuse University with the 30th overall pick in the 2000 draft, Bulluck contributed in four-linebacker and nickel packages during his first two seasons, totaling four starts.
In 2002, he was inserted into the starting lineup permanently at right outside linebacker and began one of the most impressive multi-year runs in franchise history. With 180 tackles in 2002—the most by any member of the organization since 1986—and 171 tackles in both 2003 and 2004, he became the first player since Bingham (1979-81) to record more than 170 tackles in three consecutive seasons. He was named second-team Associated Press All-Pro in 2002, and in 2003 he earned first-team All-Pro honors and a trip to the Pro Bowl.
Bulluck matched his tackle output from 2003 with 171 stops in 2004. It gave him 522 tackles over a three-year period, the most since Bingham’s 587 from 1979–1981.
Bulluck’s personal success paralleled the team’s at the start of his career. The Titans made the playoffs in three of his first four seasons (2000, 2002, 2003) before salary cap difficulties forced a large portion of the roster to turn over in the mid-2000s. But as the Titans went through a youth movement, Bulluck’s level of play persisted. He set a career high with five sacks in 2004, and he totaled 150 and 161 tackles in 2005 and 2006, respectively.
In 2007, the Titans returned to the playoffs after a three-year hiatus, and Bulluck once again was at the forefront. His five interceptions led the team and marked a career high, and the Titans finished fifth in the NFL in total defense.
In 2008, Bulluck helped lead the Titans to a 13-3 record in the regular season, including a franchise-record 10 consecutive wins to begin the season. The team won the AFC South Division title with Bulluck posting a team-high 120 tackles.
In the first 14 games of 2009, Bulluck once again was leading the team with 118 tackles before suffering a tear to his left anterior cruciate ligament. His Titans career came to an end after 1,265 tackles, 18 sacks, 46 quarterback pressures, 56 tackles for loss, 19 interceptions, 64 passes defensed, 14 forced fumbles, 10 fumble recoveries and 28 special teams tackles.
Bulluck played his final NFL season in 2010 as a member of the New York Giants. In 13 games, he made eight starts at strongside linebacker and totaled 28 tackles, two interceptions and a fumble recovery.
A native of Rockland County, N.Y., Bulluck was named first-team All-Big East and won the Bill Horr Award (team most valuable player) as a senior at Syracuse, where he played four seasons and graduated with a degree in psychology. He finished his career there ranked seventh in school history with 375 career tackles.
Bulluck’s impact was was felt in the community in addition to the field and locker room. A two-time winner of the Titans’ Walter Payton Community Man of the Year Award, he worked extensively during his career to support efforts related to foster care, a cause that became personal to him as a teenager in New York.
Bulluck was taken in at the age of 12 by Linda Welch, a single mother. The stay, which was supposed to last three weeks to help out his mother, turned into six years. With the support of the Welch family, Bulluck thrived at Clarkstown High School in New City, N.Y.
In an effort to extend his hand to children with similar backgrounds, he started the Keith Bulluck Believe and Achieve Foundation in 2003 to work with foster care groups in Middle Tennessee and New York. He later served as a national spokesperson for Foster Care Awareness Month and was named an honorary chairman of foster care awareness in Rockland County.
Keith Bulluck’s Career Statistics
Tackles Sacks Interceptions Fumbles
Year Team GP/GS Tot Solo Asst Sk Yds QBP TFL No Yds Lg TD PD FF FR Yds SpT
2000 TEN 16 / 1 21 13 8 0.0 0.0 1 0 1 8 8t 1 1 0 0 0 19
2001 TEN 15 / 3 64 35 29 1.0 7.0 7 2 2 21 21 0 5 0 0 0 8
2002 TEN 16 / 16 180 116 64 1.0 6.0 15 10 1 5 5 0 3 3 2 61 1
2003 TEN 16 / 16 171 110 61 3.0 22.0 9 8 2 9 9 0 5 5 2 32 0
2004 TEN 16 / 16 171 108 63 5.0 39.0 2 8 2 25 25 0 12 1 1 39 0
2005 TEN 16 / 16 150 106 44 5.0 32.0 5 10 2 16 16 0 8 1 1 0 0
2006 TEN 16 / 16 161 107 54 2.5 10.0 4 3 1 0 0 0 9 2 1 16 0
2007 TEN 16 / 16 109 75 34 0.0 0.0 1 4 5 63 35 0 7 1 1 0 0
2008 TEN 16 / 16 120 83 37 0.5 3.5 2 8 0 0 0 0 6 1 1 0 0
2009 TEN 14 / 14 118 83 35 0.0 0.0 0 3 3 45 23 0 8 0 1 0 0
2010 NYG 13 / 8 28 17 11 0.0 0.0 0 0 2 7 6 0 2 0 1 0 0
Totals: 170 / 138 1,293 853 440 18.0 118.5 46 56 21 199 35 1 66 14 11 148 28
Bulluck’s Single-Game Career Highs
Tackles: 19 at Pittsburgh (9/28/03)
Sacks: 2 vs. Houston (12/11/05)
Interceptions: 3 at New Orleans (9/24/07)
Touchdowns: 1 (six times, most recent at Cincinnati, 9/14/08)
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING ABOUT KEITH BULLUCK
Quotes from former teammates and coaches on the Titans linebacker
HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK
“I have been fortunate enough to be associated with this organization for more than 30 years, and it is not very often that a Keith Bulluck comes through an organization. I saw every snap that he took in practice and in games and saw him grow from a talented first-round selection into a leader on our defense. He made plays when we needed them and spoke up at the moments that he needed to speak up. He was a consistent player who showed up to practice every day and every Sunday. That is what pros do, and he showed others the way.”
FORMER HEAD COACH JEFF FISHER
“When we drafted Keith out of Syracuse, we knew we had the makings of a great football player, and he would prove us right every week. He was fast, athletic, smart, dependable—the perfect linebacker for our system. He also came to our team at a very important time. He gave our defense more athleticism and provided a connection from one group of successful players to the next generation of players. He was part of some very successful teams and defenses and he was a big reason for that success. He played with a confidence and relished the toughest match-ups each week. As much as I lobbied to get all of our games moved to Monday nights, where he thrived under the spotlight, I couldn’t get the league to agree with it. I truly enjoyed my time with him and wish him the best in his retirement.”
FORMER DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR JIM SCHWARTZ
“Players as durable as Keith Bulluck are rare. That kind of reliability is prized among teammates and coaches. Keith missed only one game in our nine years together and had a knack for making the big play when the stakes were highest. I saw him grow from a nickel player as a rookie into a Pro Bowl, every-down linebacker and a leader on our defense. He was the prototype weak-side linebacker with speed, length and a high football IQ. He was able to match up with marquee tight ends and running backs and drew the opponents’ most dangerous players week-in and week-out. His leadership was instrumental in bridging the great Titans teams from 1999 through 2003 to the teams that returned to the playoffs in 2007 and 2008. I was fortunate to coach him and wish him and his family the best in his retirement.”
FORMER POSITION COACH DAVE McGINNIS
“I have had the privilege to have coached some very good players in my 27 years in the league, and Keith Bulluck fits in the upper tier of that group. Keith always answered the bell. He was available every Sunday—week after week and year after year. The biggest compliment anyone can give an athlete who plays a sport for a living is to say, ‘He is a pro.’ You are a professional when you get paid to play, but you are a pro when you play the game for more than money. Keith Bulluck is a pro.”
RUNNING BACK EDDIE GEORGE
“This day is showing my age, because I remember him coming in as a puppy and seeing him grow. In my mind he was the quintessential pro—always prepared each week. He never got enough credit for his play as a linebacker; he was always making plays for us. He was a vocal leader for us, and it was a joy to see him blossom as a player through the years, getting better each season. I have no doubt that he will be tremendous at whatever he chooses to do next in life.”
FORMER SYRACUSE TEAMMATE DONOVAN McNABB
“This is an outstanding feeling for me, to see a guy who has changed the linebacker’s approach and played the game for an organization that prided themselves on defensive game changers. And to see a guy who did it each and every weekend, not only am I happy about a friend that did it for 11 years and accomplished a lot of individual honors—he should have received more—but only cared about team and winning. I look at this young man as a brother. To go back to where it started says a lot about him, a true professional.”
CORNERBACK SAMARI ROLLE
“Keith was a great leader and player and even better as a teammate and person off the field. He is a close friend and the godfather to my oldest son. I was proud to be his teammate and wish him the best.”
LINEBACKER DAVID THORNTON
“Part of my decision to play for the Titans was to join forces with the dynamic playmaker, Keith Bulluck! Without question, K.B. was one of the most productive, durable, and respected linebackers to play the position. His numbers are impressive! His passion for the game and commitment to the community are admirable. It’s an honor to have played with such a special individual.”
FORMER JAGUARS RB FRED TAYLOR
“In my opinion, Keith was a staple in the Titans organization, a true leader on and off the field, and a warrior for the Titans. I call him Spider-Man because of the arm sleeves he always wore, his long, lengthy demeanor, and how he would—without thinking—play with reckless abandon and jump over piles or whatever obstacles were in his way to make the play. He displayed little to no regard for his own body, as long as he got to the ball carriers. One of my favorite people in the world and definitely one of my most fierce competitors. Never was a dirty player, just played the game clean and all out each and every snap. He brought the best out of me every time we played the Titans, and even when we weren’t playing them because I knew he would be watching the film trying to figure out how he could gain an advantage. Therefore I made it my job to not show any weaknesses. He would call out of the blue and say, ‘Freddy, I see that ball kinda loose in that other arm!’ I would just laugh because he wouldn’t say anything else; he’d just hang up. He was that type of guy. Student of the game and one of my all-time favorites.”
FORMER POSITION COACH GUNTHER CUNNINGHAM
“Keith Bulluck is one of those guys that belong in a very special circle of friends I’ve surrounded myself with, and Keith will know exactly what that means. He tried to get in that circle during our first year together, and I kept telling him he needs to make sure that he understands who the circle consisted of. He always told me he knew. As that first season progressed, from week to week he would bring it up and ask, ‘Gun, am I in the circle yet?’ and I would answer with a pretty quick, ‘No!’ During our second year, 2002, Keith blossomed into a very special man. He really grew in all areas of becoming a fine pro. He played and played well. Late in the season I really felt he may be the best linebacker in the league and surely be selected into the Pro Bowl. He wasn’t, and to this day it was one of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen in my 30-year career because he outplayed all of the linebackers that were voted in. I had a chance to leave for coordinator jobs after that year and didn’t do it. The reason was Keith Bulluck. I felt it was the biggest injustice to a young man I had seen for some time, so we made up our mind that he was going one way or another the next year, and he did. Following that year he asked me again if he was in the circle, and my answer was a definite and loud ‘YES!’ That circle consists of Derrick Thomas, Leslie O’Neal, Neil Smith, Howie Long, Lee Williams, Junior Seau, Dale Carter, and James Hasty, to name a few of their time.
“Keith, you have some new friends in that circle: Ndamukong Suh, Kyle Vanden Bosch, Stephen Tulloch, Cliff Avril and other recent additions. You’re in a very special group of men that I’ve had the distinct pleasure to work with throughout my 30-year career, and you should be very proud. Not only are you in the circle with some outstanding players, but if you read those names very carefully, there are a couple of Hall of Famers in there with you. If we live long enough you will have some more of those guys with that yellow jacket around you. God bless you, Keith. You are one great man, and it was a pleasure to have the opportunity to coach you early in your career.”
Here’s Coach Munchak’s Thursday Camp Report. Among the topics are Kendall Wright, Eugene Amano and on whether he sees “feistiness. The Titans practice Friday from 3 to 5 p.m at Baptist Sports Park.
(on whether Kendall Wright is allowed to catch footballs)
I think we are just being careful with him. We just want him running routes. We will do about as much as we can with him until Saturday. Like you saw, that’s why he had a red jersey on so guys knew, [and weren’t] not thinking and lose track of where he was, and bump into him. He practiced this morning and was able to do everything because we weren’t in shoulder pads. In the night practice and tomorrow afternoon, he will only be able to do individual drills and 7-on-7 until Saturday.
(on Kendall Wright’s conditioning)
He is okay. Like all these guys, I think you can be at home and think you are in shape until you get here and you find out you’re really not. So, that’s the reasoning behind the three days. He gets at least three days to get acclimated and do more conditioning than he normally would to do, and when he’s not practicing, we will have him doing other things that will speed up his conditioning process.
(on Eugene Amano’s condition)
Tricep. Other than that, he got it caught. I think a helmet hit it, not sure. I guess he’s just sore where he got hit. We will have to see where he is.
(on Kevin Matthews’ getting hurt)
Yesterday, he had some concussion-like symptoms. He wasn’t sure. He didn’t take any hit that was noticeable or created a problem. It could have been the multiple hits. We thought maybe it was tied in with the weather. So, we are just being careful with him, making sure he is okay before he practices again.
(on Velasco’s participation in camp at center)
We are planning on doing a lot at center today and this whole week because of Kevin Matthews not repping today. Unfortunately, with Eugene Amano getting hurt, he got moved up real quick. So, he’ll continue to do that and we’ll see how everybody is, our health, and we’ll go from there.
(on whether he minds that Matt Hasselbeck getting rolled a few times)
I think they’re blitzing a lot. Matt rolled up in the line of scrimmage on his own, just kind of gave up on the play, because nobody was there. It was just kind of one of those things. You’re going to have times when guys trip and fall. If guys have a red jersey on, other guys aren’t supposed to be running into them but sometimes that’s going to happen but that’s very little.
(on whether he sees “feistiness” building amongst the team)
Yeah and it’s going to, once you’re competing and when you have good players. As I’ve been saying since we started OTAs, this is a very competitive group. When you’ve got the athletes that we have and the speed we have, it’s going to speed things up quickly. Especially when they know what they’re doing now and have a really good feel for what Jerry Gray wants them to be doing and what the D-line wants them doing. So, you’re going to have the game speeding up quite a bit. That’s what you’re seeing. You’re seeing a very fast-paced practice, a fast-paced game with the type of guys we have. They’re going to have to continue to work well together as a group. Like you mentioned, on the quarterback, you want to work hard but you have to be good about pulling by him to avoid anyone getting hurt. But we’re doing great work and when you do that, you’re getting better.
(on if you looking are for the same feistiness from someone like you had in Cortland Finnegan)
I think you let the players be themselves. We have enough good players on this team where that will rise to the top when we get through camp. I am already seeing guys’ personalities come out, especially on the defensive side of the ball, we are very young. At the opening of training camp you have guys like Akeem Ayers acting like they have been in the league a long time. They are very confident. Colin McCarthy is very confident in what he is doing out here. He is running it like he has been doing it a long time. That bleeds over into the other guys. You have guys in the secondary that are feeling very confident. So I think you are seeing that and we are only a week into camp. It’s fun to watch and I think you will see all of their personalities come out, especially when they have success in what they are doing. They like what they are doing and like the positions they are put into. They are starting to realize the pressure we can create against opposing offenses. It’s a good start.
(on the impression about the corners)
I think that helped us in our losses in the offseason is that we had guys that we thought could step up. Alterraun Verner has been here and has been playing well. He just does what he is supposed to do and has been a solid corner so we felt good about him. Jason McCourty is getting better every year and is becoming a leader. Tommie Campbell, we know what we had last year. We are impressed on how fast he has come on and developed. Ryan Mouton, this is the first time he has been able to get out and prove what he can do, he is looking really good. He is a chippy guy, a guy looking to make plays, a physical guy, a guy who can bring a little attitude to the back end too. It is a fun group to watch and they are competitive, attacking and challenging. I am glad to be watching that group get a lot of confidence in a short time.
(on what he wants to get out of the pre-season practice with the Falcons)
I think you have a pre-season game mentality; you’re going down there not trying to fool anybody. Our thinking was to get together and be able to compete. Our one’s against their one’s, our two’s against their two’s and get a lot more work than you do in a pre-season game where you might only get 10 snaps. We feel like we can go down there and get 30 to 40 snaps against each other. It’s not going to be a scrimmage or a game it’s going to be more situational things so we can cover a lot of areas. When you can get your guys against a team like them it builds you confidence. You get a chance to do a little traveling and go play against somebody different in a different jersey. This is especially for the younger guys. You get a chance after one week to see where they are. How they are doing and how the stuff goes. To me its basic football, see them play and how they match up with other guys. When I did this as a player I found it very helpful and I always enjoyed it. I thought it was the best part of camp going against the Cowboys in Houston. I think they will enjoy the break from hitting each other.
FRESNO, Calif. – Ryan Lollis connected with an RBI double in the bottom of the 11th inning to give the Fresno Grizzlies a 4-3 win over the Nashville Sounds on Thursday night at Chukchansi Park in the second game of a four-game series.
With one out in the inning and Amaury Rivas (4-7) on the mound, Fresno pinch hitter Ydwin Villegas doubled to center field and scored the go-ahead run on the next play on Lollis’ game-winning two-bagger.
Snapping a three-game winning streak, it was Nashville’s (51-62) second extra-inning game in a row and eleventh this season (5-6 in those contests).
In his second Triple-A start and first since rejoining the Sounds after being optioned last week by the Brewers, Tyler Thonburg allowed three hits and two walks over five scoreless frames. The right-hander also struck out seven with 75 pitches (52 strikes) in a no-decision.
Fresno starter Eric Hacker also tossed a no-decision, striking out four while giving up three hits in seven scoreless innings.
The game was scoreless until the Grizzlies took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the sixth. Reliever Donovan Hand entered the game and allowed a one-out walk to Todd Linden, who moved to scoring position on a passed ball. Brock Bond then hit an RBI single to right field to score Linden.
The Sounds struck back to take a 3-1 in the visiting half of the eighth. Grizzlies reliever Dan Runzler recorded the first two outs of the frame before allowing a couple of walks to outfielders Caleb Gindl and Khris Davis. Third baseman Taylor Green tied the game with an RBI single to left field, followed by a two-run base hit by first baseman Jordan Brown.
Nashville briefly led, as the Grizzlies came back to tie the game at 3-3 in the next frame, plating two runs against three Sounds relievers. Bond delivered another RBI single, followed by a run-scoring line drive hit by Tyler LaTorre, both with two outs.
The Sounds and Grizzlies continue their series at 9:05 p.m. CT on Friday evening at Chukchansi Park. Nashville right-hander Hiram Burgos (0-0, 3.00) makes his second Triple-A start against Fresno righty Andrew Kown (4-6, 5.88).
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Kendall Wright will be constrained in what he’s allowed to do on the Titans’ practice fields the next two days.
The rules of the collective bargaining agreement will prevent him from padded, contact portions of practice in Thursday evening’s and Friday afternoon’s sessions because they occur on his second and third day of camp.
The Titans’ first-round pick of the 2012 NFL Draft said he felt like he could participate fully in Thursday evening’s practice because he continued to condition while he and the team worked out a four-year contract that Wright signed Wednesday. He said he is “very glad” to have the business part of football out of the way and ready to focus on the game with Titans teammates.
“I think I could put the pads on this afternoon, but I’m not going to do anything to get me or the Titans in trouble, so I’m just waiting,” Wright said. “Whatever they tell me I can do, I’ll do it. I’ll still be there learning what I need to learn, getting the most out of it.”
Wright, who was drafted from the 20th overall spot, participated in voluntary organized team activity practices in May and June. He picked up the offense quickly, Titans coaches said, despite not using a playbook at Baylor.
Wright finished his college career with team records in receptions (302), yards (4,004) and touchdown catches (30). Those numbers included single-season records in receptions (108), yards (1,663), touchdown catches (14), 100-yard games (nine) and all-purpose yards (1,772) in 2011.
Wright went back to Waco, Texas, during the break to work out with former Bears teammate, Heisman Trophy winner and Redskins No. 2 overall pick Robert Griffin III. Wright said Griffin recruited several Redskins receivers to go to Waco and worked out with NFL veteran receivers Pierre Garcon, Santana Moss and Josh Morgan. Wright said the temperatures in Waco were 107-108 degrees Fahrenheit, so he did some work indoors and some outdoors.
Titans teammates said Wright showed significant potential during OTAs when he made difficult catches against tough coverage and created space between defenders to make other plays look easy. Wright hurt his shoulder during one of those practices while attempting a diving catch, but said he felt better two to three weeks after it happened and feels good.
“One thing you can say is he’s very explosive,” cornerback Jason McCourty said. “He can get down the field in a hurry, and when you have that type of speed and quickness, it’s definitely going to be a huge option and huge asset to our offense.”
Veteran quarterback Matt Hasselbeck agreed that Wright showed potential early and believes that will continue once Wright is allowed to put on pads during Saturday’s closed practice at LP Field.
“It’s still early,” Hasselbeck said. “My experience has been some guys look really good before the pads come on, and then once the pads come on, they look different and vice-versa. This is an opportunity for the coaching staff to see if he’s what they think he is, in terms of putting the pads on and doing that stuff, but every indication would be that he’s going to play better, not worse, with shoulder pads on, with pants on, with contact, just based on the film and just a gut feel from being around the guy.”
Thursday’s practice is scheduled from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., and Friday’s is slated for 3 to 5 p.m. Both of those sessions are at Baptist Sports Park and free and open for the public to attend.
BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – On Thursday the Ohio Valley Conference announced that Mike Parris, “Voice of the Gamecocks” for Jacksonville State University, has been named the winner of the 2011-12 OVC Media Award given to a media member currently covering an OVC beat, while Larry Schmidt, who worked at each The All State, The Leaf-Chronicle and The Paducah Sun, was bestowed the OVC Media Lifetime Achievement Award given to a media member who formerly covered the OVC.
The awards were established in 2010 as a way to recognize the media members who provide publicity for the Conference, its member institutions and intercollegiate athletics, perform their jobs in a fair, consistent and accurate manner, provide all-around coverage for a variety of sports and demonstrate the ability to go above and beyond their normal beat or job description.
“The OVC has a lot of great stories to tell and we are fortunate to have an outstanding group of media covering our schools, which was evident in the great candidates we had for the awards this year,” said Kyle Schwartz, OVC Assistant Commissioner for Media Relations. “It is great to have an award that recognizes media members who have made significant contributions in covering the OVC and its member institutions.”
Parris has covered the OVC since Jacksonville State became a member of the league in 2003. Overall he called his first JSU contest in 1983 and the 2012 football season will mark his 30th year of serving as the lead announcer of Jacksonville State sports. He handles all the play-by-play duties of the Jacksonville State radio broadcasts, as well as host “Inside Gamecocks Athletics,” a weekly television program that spotlights Jacksonville State Athletics.
Over his 29-plus years of broadcasting, Parris has called some of the most historic and memorable games in Jacksonville State athletics history. He has called four Jacksonville State national title games – football (1992), basketball (1985) and baseball (1990, 1991), plus other noteworthy contests. Most recently, his call of Jacksonville State’s 49-48 double overtime road win at Ole Miss in the 2010 football season opener was broadcast all over the country, and was featured as the lead-in to ESPN’s SportsCenter and was also featured on ESPN’s College Game Day.
In addition to being the “Voice of the Gamecocks” Parris serves as the Assistant Athletic Director for Marketing and Broadcasting at Jacksonville State University.
“I’m very humbled, honored and surprised,” said Parris. “It is always nice to be recognized by your peers, especially in a league that has so many talented members of the media. Our sports information staff here – Greg (Seitz), Josh (Underwood) and Tony (Schmidt) – make my job easy, as do the sports information staffs at every other school in the conference. Our coaches are very accommodating and a pleasure to work with. I’m fortunate to be able to do something that I love to do, especially at a place that I hold so close to my heart. This a great honor.”
“Mike does a tremendous job on our radio network and is very deserving of this honor,” said Greg Seitz, Senior Associate AD/Sports Information Director at Jax State. “He is always very professional and has had the ability to pick just the right words to describe some of the Gamecocks’ most historic and memorable games over the last 30 years.”
Schmidt started covering the OVC in 1975 when he was the sports editor of The All State (the Austin Peay student newspaper). He was there for the first game in the Dunn Center and covered what may have been the most talented APSU men’s basketball team, which lost in the OVC title game to Middle Tennessee. Schmidt’s work played a major role in Austin Peay establishing an Athletics Hall of Fame. Having grown up in Clarksville (his dad was director of Austin Peay’s bands), he challenged the University and its athletic department when he wrote a column stating it was time for APSU to have an Athletic Hall of Fame. That idea took off, the Hall of Fame was started in 1977 and he was asked to serve on the initial Hall of Fame selection committee.
Schmidt began his professional career at The Leaf-Chronicle in 1977 and by 1979 was named the APSU beat writer, a position he held until 1981. He then was hired as the Assistant Sports Editor at the Paducah Sun and spent seven years there as the Murray State beat writer. During that stay, he along with several members of the media, started the OVC Media Association. He was named the first president and the task primarily was to name All-OVC teams in football and basketball. The votes were gathered from the membership, which included both print and electronic media, as well as the school’s sports information directors. While at the Sun, he covered the Frank Beamer Era as well as covering one of Murray State’s biggest wins in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament when it upset Jim Valvano’s North Carolina State team and then lost to eventual national champion Kansas on Danny Manning’s last-second basket.
In 1988 Schmidt left Paducah to become the executive director of the Kentucky Section of the PGA and the Kentucky Golf Association. There he was involved in the negotiations with Valhalla Golf Club to lure the PGA Championship to Louisville. The PGA of America eventually purchased the golf course which has now hosted both the PGA Championship and the Ryder Cup matches.
He returned to the newspaper business in 1995 as sports editor of The Leaf-Chronicle, covering Austin Peay teams in the NCAA basketball and baseball championships and was one of only a few who saw Govs legend Bubba Wells play every game in his college career. Wells left Austin Peay as its all-time leading scorer, one of the greatest players in OVC history and is now a member of the APSU Hall of Fame that Larry helped establish and is now an entrusted selection committee member. Schmidt also served as color commentator on the Governors Sports Network while handling the APSU newspaper beat.
Schmidt left the media profession in 1999, although he continued to handle color duties for home Governors basketball games, and currently works at Legends Bank in Clarksville
“I am certainly humbled by this recognition,” Schmidt said. “I want to thank the student athletes, coaching staffs and support personnel who helped me tell the stories from Austin Peay and Murray State and, most of all, for all the friends I made along the way. I do appreciate the validation by the Ohio Valley Conference of a career that was a pleasure to come to work every day.”
The OVC Media Awards are determined in a nomination process and vote that included the media relations staffs at OVC member institutions as well as the Conference office. Winners are presented their awards in the fall during to be determined athletic contests on the campus of the school whose beat they cover/have covered.
Clarksville Greyhounds Youth Football and Cheerleading will participate in the 2012 Tennessee Titans Youth Football Jamboree on Saturday August 4, 2012.
The 1st annual Jamboree gives our area’s youth football players and cheerleaders the opportunity for a once in a lifetime experience-performing on a real NFL Field.
The Clarksville Greyhounds will be represented by their 7-8, 9-10 and 11-12 year olds teams and cheerleaders.
Approximately 78 youth football teams from throughout Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky will participate in the first-ever youth football jamboree held at LP Field. The action begins at 6:00 pm Friday with 15 games with the final game slated for 8:55 pm.
Saturday’s action gets underway at 8:50 am with six morning games before the youth teams step aside for a closed Titans practice at LP Field. The youth games resume at 4:00 pm with 18 more games played with the last one beginning at 8:10 pm.
Organizers estimate that at least 2,000 youth football players and 1,000 team cheerleaders will participate in the two-day event! Teams from three youth leagues will participate in the jamboree: Backfield in Motion, Mid-State Youth Football League and Tennessee Youth Football Alliance.
The jamboree is a fundraising effort jointly held by the Bellevue Exchange Club and Backfield in Motion and kicks off the Titans “USA Football Month” activities. Admission to the jamboree is $5 per person and concessions are available. Gate 1 on the East side of LP Field is the only entry gate. Parking at LP Field is free. All event proceeds benefit youth football!
For the third consecutive year, the Titans and all of the NFL’s 32 teams endorse USA Football and its mission of youth and amateur football development across the country as part of USA Football Month. The national campaign takes place throughout the NFL preseason and incorporates youth football scrimmages in NFL venues, USA Football messages during network preseason telecasts and in-stadium banners.
USA Football is the official youth football development partner of the NFL, the NFL Players Association and the league’s 32 teams. USA Football is the only organization in the NFL’s 91-year history to be recognized as the league’s official youth football development partner.
“We are pleased to host all of these young football players and cheerleaders at LP Field this weekend,” said Titans owner K.S. “Bud” Adams, Jr. “I said when I moved the team here in 1997 that the great football tradition of the Mid-South was a huge reason for the move and that tradition will continue with these young people playing the game we all love and building wonderful memories of their experience where their Titans play!”
“The Titans celebration of youth football jamboree is an event that has generated excitement throughout our youth football community,” said Ron Word, President of the Mid-State Youth Football League and also the Titans regional representative with USA Football. “Teams from across middle Tennessee and southern Kentucky will be participating in the jamboree. Kids are really looking forward to playing on the same field where the Titans play. Players, cheerleaders, coaches, parents and fans are excited. For the kids, this is not just a game but the creation of a memory that will last a lifetime.”
Two games will be held simultaneously during the jamboree with the games held on a shortened field and teams lined up facing both the North and South end zones. All games will be 20 minutes in length with a running clock.
“Since 1976, the Bellevue Exchange Club has been active on issues affecting our children – the prevention of child abuse and youth sports emphasizing teamwork, fair play & sportsmanship,” said Exchange club member Charlie Tygard, also an event organizer. “Today, we are addressing the issues of childhood obesity and healthy eating/lifestyles thru our BELL Garden project (Bellevue Middle School Edible Learning Lab). We are proud to join with the Tennessee Titans and Backfield in Motion to provide a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our young student/athletes in sponsoring the inaugural Youth Football Jamboree.”
Academy Sports Outdoors, a corporate partner of the Titans, is a proud sponsor of the jamboree.
“Academy has gladly supported our youth football events over the years and once again they were eager to join forces with us with this jamboree,” said Don MacLachlan, Titans Executive VP Administration & Facilities. “We are very appreciative of their support of the Titans and of course, these young boys and girls that will experience our first jamboree at LP Field.”
For more information on Academy Sports Outdoors, please visit www.academy.com.
For more information on USA Football’s “Youth Football Month” please visit www.usafootball.com.