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Third annual letterman golf tournament a success

Record crowd of nearly 100 on hand

April 11, 2008 · MT Media Relations

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - The past and present of Blue Raider football gathered Friday at Indian Hills for the third annual lettermen's golf tournament. Around 100 former players and coaches gathered at the event, the largest turnout during the tournament's three-year inception.

"We may hit 100 today," said Blue Raider Coach Rick Stockstill. "In our first year, we had 20 people and last year we had around 50. We are doubling the amount of people every year, which is a good thing. We are accomplishing what we set out to do. We are trying to get all the football players back that have meant so much and given so much to Middle Tennessee football. It's a chance for everybody to interact. The guys from the '50s interact with the guys from the '90s. It's about making everybody one family. I'm excited about the turnout."

The tournament featured players and coaches from all decades including former New York Jets Coach Ken Shipp, former defensive end John Harris and all-time passing yards leader Wes Counts.

"I think it's great to reunite with fellow Blue Raiders," said Counts. "You have older coaches and players that haven't been around here in a while and they are starting to come back. Coach Stockstill and his staff have really embraced the history of this university. It's good too see all those guys that I looked up to as heroes. It's also good to put a face to the jerseys I have followed over the last few years."

Sharing stories from the past and present have been one of the most rewarding experiences of the tournament for Counts.

"Last year, I enjoyed talking to wide receivers that played with Teddy Morris. It was good to hear stories about Teddy Morris. He was an All-American quarterback and the only player to have his jersey retired here. It was interesting to hear how he dealt with his receivers. It's always great to talk to former players about how they played the game in comparison when I played."

Former offensive lineman William 'Bubba' Randolph rekindled old memories with his former comrades, which completed a stellar record of 32-8-2 from 1962-1965.

"We enjoy sitting here and talking about our past," Randolph said. "Most of the guys came here to talk to old friends and enjoy the camaraderie."

For some Blue Raiders, it's also a time for players to return to Murfreesboro and reconnect with the university.

"For a lot of years, we felt disenfranchised about MTSU football," said former defensive tackle Greg Gregory, who now resides in nearby Franklin. "Now, to be back a part of the program is a lot of fun and a great thing. This event keeps you in touch with what the university is doing with the football program. My college roommate, John Harris, flew in from Florida to enjoy all the events this weekend."

The lettermen are very appreciative of Coach Stockstill and his staff's efforts to reconnect them to their university.

"I think the coaching staff is doing real well because they are doing three things," Randolph said. "They are getting more people involved in the atmosphere. They are recruiting quality athletes and they are bringing some discipline to the program. They are looking at kids that are not only quality football players, but also are quality students. In order to have a good football program, you need some players with strong character."

Coach Stockstill hopes this event will not just bring former players back to Murfreesboro, but also allow them to share old memories.

"They keep coming back once they've been here," said Stockstill. "You work so hard, as a football player and it's great to return and fellowship with each other. Nothing is greater than having a feeling that we were all a part of this university. I think its great getting these guys back together. They can re-hash old stories. It's a great day."

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