By Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – As Legends Weekend comes up on Saturday, two Tennessee Tech football teams will be honored as members of each team are invited back to campus to celebrate the anniversary of their milestones.
Winning its fourth straight Ohio Valley Conference championship and seventh overall in 1961, the Golden Eagle squad that year touted a lot of legendary names. The Tech squad had an Associated Press All-American in tackle Dave Baxter and also had five All-OVC selections with Baxter, center Lowell Smith, fullback Ken Fults, guard James "Redbone" McMillan and end Rudy Schmittou. The team also produced seven TTU Sports Hall of Famers – coach Wilburn Tucker, Schmittou, Jim Ragland, Smith, Baxter, McMillan and Fults.
Despite losing the first two games of the season on the road at Louisville and Chattanooga, the 1961 Golden Eagles won seven of their last eight games to go an undefeated 6-0 in the Ohio Valley. Tech topped Morehead State, East Tennessee State, Western Kentucky and Murray State, before a non-conference loss to Louisiana Tech broke the string. Tech finished the year off with wins over Eastern Kentucky, Fort Campbell and Middle Tennessee in the annual Thanksgiving Day game.
The 10th OVC champion in program history, the 2011 team started off league play with victories at Eastern Illinois, against Southeast Missouri and at UT Martin to start 3-0 in the OVC. Then the Golden Eagles defeated Jacksonville State and Eastern Kentucky – both on the road – and finished off the regular season with a big win at home over Austin Peay to force a tie for the Sergeant York Trophy.
The win over the Governors also clinched the 2011 OVC championship and earned the Golden Eagles their first appearance in the Division I Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs.
The team earned its highest ranking in the STATS FCS Top 25 and the FCS Coaches Top 25 polls at No. 19 and No. 15 respectively.
The 2011 squad, coached by Watson Brown, included the OVC's Offensive Player of the Year, Tim Benford, and seven other All-OVC selections in Scott Schweitzer, Marcus Edwards, Richmond Tooley, Dontey Gay, Travis Adkins, Will Johnson and Nick Campbell. Schweitzer and Benford were also named All-Americans by The Associated Press, Phil Steele and STATS FCS.
The Legends Weekend festivities surround the Tech football game against Southeast Missouri on Saturday. The day begins at 11:15 as the Golden Eagle football team has its Eagle Walk into Tucker Stadium. A tailgate in the Purple and White tent with former Tech student-athletes and their guests will begin at 11:30. The soccer alumni will also be recognized during the football game.
Kickoff for the game against the Redhawks is at 1:30 p.m.
Also being recognized on Oct. 2 is the Tech women's soccer program for the 25th anniversary of the program and the 1986 TTU volleyball regular-season championship team. Complimentary tickets will be available for soccer alumni and their guests.
For more information, visit TTUsports.com or e-mail Tech Director of Annual Giving/Stewardship Kristie Phillips at firstname.lastname@example.org.