COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- There's no question that the 2020-21 year has been different from most years. The usual routine has been thrown out the window as athletic programs around the world adjust to the changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tennessee Tech and the Ohio Valley Conference are no different. Instead of the typical fall football slate, the Golden Eagles and its OVC and NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdvision brethren deferred the start of the campaign until the spring.
With the season approaching -- the Golden Eagles open the slate on Feb. 21 as they host Austin Peay -- the OVC held its annual Football Media Day virtually, similar to how the basketball teams did back in the fall, as media members, the league's coaches and student-athletes came together to celebrate what is sure to be a unique season.
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – When Tennessee Tech head coach Dewayne Alexander looked to fill the Golden Eagles’ coaching vacancy on the offensive side of the ball, he found one name hard to pass up.
With the resume Lamont Seward has, including years of experience on both the Division I Football Bowl and Football Championship subdivisions, as well as Division II and high school, Alexander brings in a coach with a high level of experience.
“We are excited to add Lamont Seward to the Golden Eagle family,” Alexander said. “Any time we have a vacancy, I always look for the qualities of character, integrity, staff fit, relatable coaching experience to the Ohio Valley Conference and FCS and someone who is a relationship builder. Lamont checks all of these boxes.
“He had previous experience working with Coach (Doug) Malone when he was the offensive coordinator at Western Carolina. When I met with Lamont and his family, I knew that was who we needed to bring in.”
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- Signing day is an important day for any football team as they bolster their lineup for years to come. Wednesday was no different as the Tennessee Tech coaching staff was hard at work putting together the first part of its signing class of 2020-21.
Despite a strange year where recruiting methods changed and schedules changed in an instant, the Tech coaches persevered and put together an exciting signing class on Wednesday. The class includes:
Episode 16 features Seth Carlisle, a junior linebacker on the Tennessee Tech football team. A native of Red Boiling Springs, Tennessee, Seth played quarterback and safety in high school and after getting to Tennessee Tech made the switch to linebacker. As a sophomore he had a breakout season with 88 tackles and three interceptions.
A biology and health sciences major, Seth has plans to go to dental school after graduation. He is also 1 of 2 OVC players on the Student-Athlete Connection Group to the Division I Football Oversight Committee. He is also involved around campus, including with the student-athlete led organization CODE – Center of Diversity Education.
GAINESBORO, Tenn. – A few years ago, John Glasscock roamed the Tucker Stadium sidelines as a volunteer assistant manager for the Tennessee Tech football team and then-head coach Watson Brown. He built a great rapport with the Golden Eagles players and staff.
It was during this time that he gained a prized possession – a Tennessee Tech game ball signed by legendary Golden Eagle Lonnie Warwick. A fantastic defensive presence for the Golden Eagles in the early ‘60s, the TTU Sports Hall of Famer became a member of the Minnesota Vikings’ lauded “Purple People Eaters” defense from 1965 to 1972.
Warwick’s grandsons, Jake and Jack, have both suited up for the Golden Eagles since, with Jake on the roster when JAG worked with the team. The elder Warwick is still to this day a presence, traveling down to Cookeville to watch his grandsons play, as well as take part in the annual TTU Football Alumni Golf Weekend.
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – With the work the NCAA Division I Football Oversight Committee is doing on both the Football Bowl Subdivision and Football Championship Subdivision levels to maintain and enhance the sport, the voices of the student-athletes playing the game are equally important in the process.
Tennessee Tech will have one of the voices selected to guide decisions as junior linebacker Seth Carlisle was recently selected as one of two Ohio Valley Conference representatives to the Division I Football Oversight Committee Student-Athlete Connection Group.
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Flavious Smith, a Tennessee Tech Sports Hall of Famer as well as influential faculty member, recently passed away at the age of 91.
Smith made a few milestones for the Golden Eagle football team. He was the first recipient of Tech football’s highest honor, the Robert Hill Johnson Award, earning the trophy for his efforts in the 1951 campaign. Smith, a team captain, was the first Golden Eagle to be named to the Ohio Valley Conference’s all-OVC team, earning back-to-back selections in 1950 and 1951. The end also became the first Tech football player to reach the professional level, joining the Los Angeles Rams in 1952.
In addition to excelling on the gridiron, Smith was also a phenomenal basketball player, earning an all-OVC nod for the 1951-52 campaign, one of the same years he earned the honor in football. To this day, he stands as the only OVC student-athlete to earn all-OVC for both football and basketball.
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – During this tumultuous time, student-athletes at Tennessee Tech and across the country have taken the initiative to have their voices heard. In doing so, many have become inspirations to others in standing up for what they believe in.
Jamaal Thompson, a junior defensive back on the Golden Eagle football, certainly fits in the inspirational role, uniting Tennessee Tech student-athletes, coaches, students and faculty in that quest.
Through his efforts, Thompson was a nearly unanimous choice for October's Unsung Leader Award.
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – It certainly hasn’t been the traditional football season for Tennessee Tech. If the original schedule were in place, the Golden Eagles would be enjoying their bye week before prepping for a contest against UT Martin.
Instead, Tech’s dance card has remained empty in the fall – thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic – and the season has been shifted to the spring, set to begin on February 21 against Austin Peay.
But while Tucker Stadium isn’t the stage for a game yet, there’s still plenty of work going on in the facility as the Golden Eagles strapped on the pads for the first time in fall ball practice.
HOUSTON, Texas – Tennessee Tech Hall of Famer Barry “Butch” Wilmore has plenty of experience leading space missions. So when astronaut Chris Ferguson stepped down from the first crewed mission of the Boeing CST-100 Starliner, Wilmore was an easy choice to lead the way.
Wilmore gives the new vessel a complete roster of NASA veterans. The CST-100 Starliner was developed under NASA’s Commercial Crew program with the goal to develop and construct privately-owned spacecraft that NASA could use to transport astronauts to the International Space Station following the retirement of the space shuttle program in 2011.
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – As the Tennessee Tech football team continued to prepare for the 2020-21 campaign, the Ohio Valley Conference took the next step in resuming the sport as it announced the spring 2021 schedule.
In all, the Golden Eagles will host three OVC contests and hit the road for four more. Start times will be announced at a later date. As with all events during the COVID-19 pandemic, all dates and times are subject to change. Teams will play in accordance with local regulations, NCAA medical guidelines and supporting OVC standards.
The schedule is set as a round-robin format with all eight teams that elected to play a spring schedule. Teams will have the opportunity to schedule a non-conference foe in the spring.
SPARTA, Tenn. – To Bill Johnson, he bled Purple and Gold as much as he bled Orange and White. While he never suited up for the Tennessee Tech football team, he had been one of the Golden Eagles’ biggest supporters.
As he passed away on Sunday at the age of 84, Johnson leaves behind a tremendous legacy with Tech, from the Robert Hill Johnson Award and the endowment named after his brother, to three grandchildren –Thomas, Robert Hill and John Bronson – all suiting up for the Golden Eagles and much, much more.
“To express what Bill Johnson and his family has meant to Tennessee Tech football and the entire athletics family could fill volumes,” said Tech Director of Athletics Mark Wilson. “For nearly 70 years – almost three-fourths of the program’s entire history – his support of our football team has known no bounds.
“His brother was – and continues to be – a tremendous inspiration to our student-athletes who don our colors. Bill continued those efforts and created opportunities for future student-athletes to join our program to follow in those footsteps.”
Wilson continued, “What Johnson has done for our program over these many years is amazing. He’s been a major friend to Tennessee Tech and will be missed greatly.”
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - Tennessee Tech Athletics has officially launched the newly redesigned TTUSports.com, providing Golden Eagle fans the same access to information, stories, stats and more they had before with a fresh, more modern look.
Tennessee Tech head football coach Dewayne Alexander, junior quarterback Bailey Fisher and junior running back David Gist join Dylan Vazzano on a special 19th episode of our Wings Up Weekly podcast to discuss last year's incredible, double-overtime victory over Samford.
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – As we enter what was originally scheduled to be the first week of Tennessee Tech’s 2020 football slate, it’s a different landscape. Instead of preparing for the week’s opponent, it’s preparing for the spring, hopeful to get the season underway even if it is a few months later than normal.
With the calendar switching into these cool autumn months that would have been filled with the pageantry of college football and the 99th season for the Golden Eagles, it gives time to reflect back through the years.
Tech’s first scheduled opponent of the 2020 season was Samford. A brief member of the Ohio Valley Conference from 2003 to 2007, the Golden Eagles have battled the Bulldogs to a near-even series, 11-12 in favor of Samford.
The Ohio Valley Conference Board of Presidents has announced fall competition and championships in the sports of football, men’s and women’s cross country, women’s soccer and women’s volleyball will be postponed due to the concerns and uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
FORT WORTH, Texas – Once upon a time – 1983 and 1984, to be exact – TCU head coach Gary Patterson once roamed the Tucker Stadium sidelines as an assistant coach at Tennessee Tech under the direction of head coach Gary Darnell on a staff that was loaded with coaches that made great names for themselves in the college game.
On Sept. 12, nearly 10 years to the day the two teams last met, TCU will host the Golden Eagles, opening the Horned Frogs’ 2020 campaign and reuniting Patterson with one of his earliest stops in his illustrious coaching career.
The game is TCU’s plus-one on their schedule after the Big 12 Conference shifted to a conference-plus-one slate for the 2020 season in response to the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects. The game is Tech’s second FBS matchup for the season with a trip to Southern Miss on the following weekend. The games replace the Big 10 matchup against Minnesota that was wiped out when the league went conference-only in schedule, before postponing all fall sports earlier this week.
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – It’s been a while since Tennessee Tech has been able to have a full team practice. As the team’s newcomers and freshmen took to the Tucker Stadium turf on Friday, it started to feel like football again.
Spring practice was cut short to the COVID-19 pandemic, just days into workouts. From the middle of March until the last days of July, Tucker Stadium was silent. Last week, the returning players took to the field for conditioning and walkthroughs before the full team was able to reunite.
HATTIESBURG, Miss. – After seeing its Big Ten matchup against Minnesota canceled after the conference went to a league-only slate for the 2020 season, the Tennessee Tech football team picked up another opponent for the approaching campaign on Thursday as Southern Miss announced it was adding Tech for the September 19, 2020, slot.
That weekend was originally announced as Tech’s home opener against North Carolina Central, but that game was also canceled after the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference suspended all fall sports in mid-July over COVID-19 concerns.
As the situation is still in flux, the 2020 football slate continues to be subject to change.
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – As the prep work continues towards the 2020 football season, more outlets are releasing their preseason teams. On Friday, it was Phil Steele’s preseason All-Ohio Valley Conference list and Tennessee Tech came away with 12 selections on the three-team roster.
Senior defensive lineman Chris Tucker and sophomore kick return specialist Metrius Fleming were first-team selections, while junior quarterback Bailey Fisher, senior offensive lineman Mike Rhoades, senior defensive lineman Henry Karimu and junior outside linebacker Tai Carter were on the second team. Fleming made a repeat performance on the third-team roster at wide receiver, joined by senior tight end Tavin Kilpatrick, senior defensive line Jale’n Gladney, junior linebacker Seth Carlisle, sophomore defensive back Cameron Hudson and senior punter Luke Maynard.
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – In the short time Dewayne Alexander has been the head football coach at Tennessee Tech, it is apparent that the momentum is shifting in a positive direction. From 2019’s turnaround to the community service effort and academic excellence, Alexander is building the young men of the Golden Eagle program today into leaders for tomorrow.
The Golden Eagle Way looms large at Tucker Stadium and it means much, much more than just what happens on the field. With the performance and improvement shown over these two-and-a-half-years, it was an easy decision to extend Alexander’s contract through the end of 2024.
BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – The Ohio Valley Conference Board of Presidents has reiterated its intention for the Conference to commence competition this fall if the facts surrounding the pandemic support it. The Board agreed to postpone the start of competition in fall Olympic sports until September 17 and to conduct conference-only competition in women’s soccer and volleyball. This decision does not include football at this time due to existing contractual matters.
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – After one of the best seasons in recent program history and putting together the second-best turnaround in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision, it isn’t surprising to see a few Tennessee Tech players on the Preseason All-Ohio Valley Conference team as the league released its 2020 preseason squad on Monday morning.
The Golden Eagles garnered five preseason picks: junior quarterback Bailey Fisher and senior offensive lineman Mike Rhoades on offense, senior defensive end Chris Tucker and junior outside linebacker Tai Carter on defense and sophomore receiver/kick return specialist Metrius Fleming on special teams.
The OVC preseason polls – both the media and coach/SID projections – will be announced at a later date.
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – With COVID-19 concerns as this weekend’s 30th annual Tennessee Tech Football Alumni Reunion Weekend and Golf Classic approaches, Tech Football is taking every precaution to take care of its alumni family at the event.
To allow for social distancing for the event, outdoor seating and a tent have been added outside the Golden Eagle Golf Club’s clubhouse. Individual bottles of hand sanitizer will be available for each competing golfer.
During Friday night’s Tony Stone BBQ Dinner and Saturday’s Awards Dinner, the food will not be served buffet style as it is portioned out to each diner as the line will be spaced out appropriately.
Alumni and their families are asked to use their own personal judgment as they follow the CDC guidelines over the course of the weekend.
The Golf Classic has sold out but tickets are still available for the Reunion Weekend and the Friday or Saturday dinners. Tickets for those are available online at TTUsports. For more information, contact Kristie Phillips at (931) 372-6857.
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Thirty years ago, the Tennessee Tech football team started an annual tradition of bringing its alumni back to Cookeville with the TTU Football Alumni Reunion and Golf Classic.
With Golden Eagle legends Jim Ragland and Mike Ledford overseeing the early years, then through the watchful eyes and efforts of Larry Schreiber, Tom Pemberton and Ottis Phillips, the event grew, becoming a valuable asset to the Tech football program.
In the years since, nearly $500,000 has been raised for the program and the Robert Hill Johnson Endowment.
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – With just over two months before the scheduled start of the 2020 college football season, preseason polls and teams are starting to roll out.
With HERO Sports’ selections on Tuesday night, the Tennessee Tech football team earned a pair of preseason all-Ohio Valley Conference picks as senior defensive lineman Chris Tucker and sophomore return specialist Metrius Fleming were on the website’s roster.
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Every year, the Tennessee Tech football alumni gather from all over the country, converging back in Cookeville for the annual Tech Football Alumni Reunion Weekend and Golf Classic.
This year, the event celebrates its 30th anniversary, 30 years of supporting the Tennessee Tech football program and trying to help raise the Golden Eagles to new heights.
This year’s event is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, June 10th and 11th, at Golden Eagle Golf Club. Friday features the Tony Stone BBQ Dinner. Saturday is the four-person scramble as teams compete for the title and the Jim Ragland Players Cup for the top-finishing team made up of Tech football coaches, players or managers.
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – As the Tennessee Tech football team took to the field to take on Eastern Kentucky on a warm and sunny October afternoon at Tucker Stadium, the Golden Eagles were ready to end a long futility streak against the Colonels.
When legendary EKU head coach Roy Kidd took over the Colonel program in 1964, the Tech gridders welcomed him with a 27-7 defeat. Kidd and the EKU team returned the favor the following year, defeating the Golden Eagles 28-14. Tech picked up a 7-3 win in Richmond in 1966, then the Colonels strung together five straight wins before the Golden Eagles were victorious again in the OVC-championship campaign in 1972.
1973 and 1974 both saw wins go to the Colonels, then Tech won 14-3 in 1975, another title for the Golden Eagles. But after that game? Nothing but losses as Eastern Kentucky took the next 22 contests as Kidd led the Colonels into a dominant period with two Division I-AA (now the Division I Football Championship Subdivision) national championships in 1979 and 1982 and runners-up in 1980 and 1981.
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Season tickets for the 2020 Tennessee Tech football campaign are now available for purchase and the Golden Eagle Athletic Department has announced the addition of a payment plan option for fans during this unprecedented time in our nation’s history.
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Tech football is mourning the loss of one of its newest additions to the coaching staff as assistant coach Gerald Howse passed away. He was 28.
Howse was added to the Golden Eagle staff in late January to direct the team’s running backs and assist Chris Grimes with the special teams. He started his first spring practice with the team in March before practices were suspended from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Gerald was a first-class young man,” said Tech head football coach Dewayne Alexander. “He was highly thought of by so many people. His coaches at Siegel High School – Greg Wyatt and David Watson – always brought him up whenever we had positions come open.
“He displayed a very positive attitude. He was a man of character who lived out faith, family and football. He was so close to his family – his mom, dad and sister – that it was one of the biggest reasons he came here to Tennessee Tech: coach in the area, be back in Middle Tennessee and be close to his family.”