Why Tennessee State football, under Eddie George, sings the school's alma mater after each practice
Eddie George is relying on more than his experiences as an NFL player as the coach of Tennessee State's football team.
He's also leaning on his acting career, which included a stint on Broadway and appearances in several television movies and shows.
The former Tennessee Titans All-Pro running back took eight years of voice and singing lessons during his acting career and now has his players trying to carry a tune in an effort to bring his team together.
After each spring practice, George has his players gather on the sideline. He selects one position group to step to the front to lead the team in singing the alma mater.
"I learned through singing it's a vibration; getting in the right pitch, the right harmony," George said. "When you're an ensemble it brings you together. You're always striving to get in tune with one another. That's one thing that I've preached since I got here; to be in tune as one."
Will singing together help the Tigers, who were 5-6 in George's first season in 2021, play better? George hopes so. If not, at least they'll sound good when they sing.
"If anything we've accomplished something as a team in that we've learned the song acapella," George said. "We may not sound great yet but we're still striving for that. It has allowed us to collectively come together to accomplish something no matter how big or how small or how mundane it is."
Chayil Garnett, a transfer from Auburn, has already proven to be the best quarterback in spring practice. He's leading the first-team offense and also wants to be the best singer.
"I'm getting there; I'm trying to be the best even though I'm not really a singer," said Garnett, who started the last game last season against Mississippi State. "I like that we've implemented that in spring practice. Last year we didn't really treat the song with much honor and respect. Learning it is a good way to make everybody buy in and it's giving us an edge about being at Tennessee State."
Along with Garnett, George said some of the best singers are former Cane Ridge stars Jahsun Bryant, a middle linebacker, and Devon Starling, a running back.
How TSU's Hale Stadium could get artificial turf
Speaking of TSU, Hale Stadium, which is 69 years old, could get an artificial turf surface if a survey sent by athletics department officials reveals more fans would attend football games if improvements were made at the historic on-campus venue.
Surveys were sent to students, alumni, fans and anyone interested in the program.
In most seasons, TSU splits its home games at Hale Stadium (10,000 capacity) and Nissan Stadium (69,143 capacity).
In the 2020 season, which was played in the spring of 2021, all home games were at Hale Stadium. This past season, all home games were at Nissan Stadium.
In 2022, the Tigers are scheduled to play Lane on Oct. 1 at Hale Stadium and Bethune-Cookman on Oct. 8 and UT Martin on Nov. 12 at Nissan Stadium.
The site for two other home games — Eastern Illinois (Oct. 22) and Southeast Missouri (No. 5) — is to be determined.
George Plaster going in the Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame
Longtime sports talk radio show host George Plaster will be inducted into the Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame as part of the 2022 class.
Plaster, who serves as host of the George Plaster Show weekday afternoons on Nashville Sports Radio 560-AM and 95.9-FM, has been a staple on the local airwaves for more than 30 years.
The Battle Ground Academy and Vanderbilt graduate has been play-by-play announcer for Vanderbilt and Memphis. He also hosted sports talk call-in shows on SuperTalk 99.7-FM, The Zone 104.5-FM, The Game 102.5-FM and WSM-AM 650.
From 2006-08 Plaster was listed among the most influential talk radio hosts in America by Talkers Magazine.
Tennessee Sports Writers coaches and players of the year ballots released
Ballots for the Tennessee Sports Writers Association college football and basketball players and coaches of the year have been released.
• Football player: Reed Blankenship (MTSU), Hendon Hooker (Tennessee), Keon Howard (UT Martin), Calvin Austin III (Memphis), Devonnsha Maxwell (Chattanooga).
• Football coach: Josh Heupel (Tennessee), Jason Martin (UT Martin), Randy Sanders (ETSU), Ryan Silverfield (Memphis).
• Men’s basketball player: Tavon King (Cumberland), Michael Mays (King), Josh Jefferson (MTSU), Scotty Pippen Jr. (Vanderbilt), Kennedy Chandler (Tennessee), Tyree Boykin (Union).
• Men’s basketball coach: Jeremy Lewis (Cumberland), Nick McDevitt (MTSU), Rick Barnes (Tennessee), David Niven (Union).
• Women’s player: Anna Jones (Tennessee Tech), Destinee Wells (Belmont), Jaelencia Williams (Union), Jordan Horston (Tennessee), Tyra Johnson (Cumberland), Trinity Lee (King).
• Women’s coach: Kellie Harper (Tennessee), Mark Campbell (Union), Bart Brooks (Belmont), Kim Rosamond (Tennessee Tech), Rick Insell (MTSU).
Wilson Central's Kendall Spray wins 3-point shooting title
Former Wilson Central standout and Class AAA Miss Basketball finalist Kendall Spray, now a graduate student a Florida Gulf Coast, won the Rocket Mortgage Three-Point Shooting Championship at Xavier University of Louisiana.
Spray was one of eight players selected for the contest, which was part of the 33rd annual Slam Dunk and 3-Point Championships televised live on ESPN.
Spray scored 18 points in the first round, 25 in the semifinal and 23 in the women’s championship.
She lost in the grand championship 21-19 to men’s winner Jordan Bohanon of Iowa.
Spray won $5,000.
Spray began her career at UT Martin before transferring to Clemson and then Florida Gulf Coast this past season.
She made 466 career 3-pointers which ranks fourth all-time in NCAA history.
While a UT Martin in 2017-18 Spray set Ohio Valley Conference record for made 3-pointers at 125.
Derek Barnett signs two-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles
Former Brentwood Academy and Tennessee Vols defensive end Derek Barnett agreed to a new two-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Barnett, 26, was the Eagles first-round draft pick in 2017. The deal is reportedly worth $14 million.
In 64 games Barnett has made 45 starts and recorded 21.5 sacks and 138 tackles.
Longtime local high school baseball coach Jim Carter gets 600th win
Goodpasture Christian baseball coach Jim Carter earned the 600th win of his career with a 19-0 victory over Davidson Academy.
The teams played a doubleheader and Goodpasture won the second game 6-0 giving Carter win No. 601.
Carter, who played at Davidson Academy, is in his 24th year as a coach.
He has won 204 games at Goodpasture, 51 at Mt. Juliet, 154 at Davidson Academy, 52 at Hunters Lane and 141 at Jackson Christian.
Carter, the son of longtime TSSAA executive director Ronnie Carter, played baseball at Freed-Hardeman and was inducted into its sports hall of fame in 2020.
Tennessee Tech starter Keishawn Davidson transferring to Belmont
Keishawn Davidson, who spent the last three seasons on the Tennessee Tech basketball team, has transferred to Belmont.
The Murfreesboro native started 86 games at Tech including every game this season.
Davidson was the Golden Eagles' second-leading scorer (10.4 points) this season. He was the assists leader (4.3) and also averaged 3.6 rebounds.
Nashville Vols pitcher Oscar Chinique dies at 87
Oscar Chinique, who played for the Nashville Vols minor league baseball team, died March 29. He was 87 and a resident of Goodlettsville.
The Cuba native, who played at Sulphur Dell in 1961, was a pitcher and shortstop for the Vols. He posted a 6-8 record.
After playing for Charlotte in the Sally League in 1962 and then spending time back in Cuba, Chinque returned to Nashville in 1963 and started playing city league baseball for Hester Battery in 1964.
Glencliff meet and greet with new football coach is April 21
A meet and greet with new Glencliff football coach Phillip Stevenson is set for April 21 at the alumni room next to the football stadium.
The alumni and community mixer will be from 4-6 p.m.
Stevenson, who played football at Riverdale and Austin Peay and was previously the track coach at Lavergne, was hired in March.
Titans Josh Corey receives TSSAA award
Josh Corey, youth and community engagement director for the Tennessee Titans, received the TSSAA Distinguished Service Award for Middle Tennessee.
Corey, in his eight season with the Titans, works in the community relations department coordinating all of the team's football-related outreach efforts.
He focuses primarily on youth and high school football programs and also serves as the liaison for alumni players.
Former Trevecca star Ashley Cozart gets her 300th win as coach at North Alabama
Former Ezell-Harding and Trevecca softball standout Ashley Cozart picked up her 300th career win as coach of the North Alabama softball team.
The landmark win came in a 13-5 win over Jacksonville in a game called because of the mercy rule.
Cozart became the program's all-time leader in victories earlier this season. Her career record at North Alabama is now 300-121. She 491-167 in her career, which includes a stop a Lindsey Wilson.
Shannon Harris named interim coach at Virginia State
Former TSU quarterback and offensive coordinator Shannon Harris was named interim coach at Virginia State. Harris replaced Reggie Barlow, who accepted a coaching position in the XFL in March.
Harris was a starter at TSU in 2001, was the team's MVP and was on the ballot for the Walter Payton Award.
He began his coaching career on the TSU staff from 2002-09. He later coached at Alabama State, Alcorn State, and Hampton and also spent two seasons as an intern with the Tennessee Titans.
Harris returned to TSU in 2018 and arrived at Virginia State in 2021 as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach.
Ex-Austin Peay and TSU assistant Antonio Bradford hired at South Alabama
Former Austin Peay and Tennessee State assistant Antonio Bradford has joined the staff at South Alabama as running backs coach.
The Cleveland, Tennessee, native spent 10 years at his alma mater Alabama State before going to TSU when Bradford joined the TSU staff in 2015 as run game coordinator and tight ends and tackles coach.
He spent the 2021 season at Austin Peay as tight ends coach.
Kevin Dyson Golf Tournament is May 9
The annual Kevin Dyson and Friends Charity Golf Tournament to benefit Backfield In Motion is May 9 at Gaylord Springs Golf Links.
Registration and breakfast will be served at 7 a.m. There will be an 8 a.m. shotgun start.
Along with Dyson, a former Titans wide receiver, other celebrity players include former Titans/Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Derek Mason, former Titans safety Blaine Bishop, former Tennessee Vols and Titans wide receiver Joey Kent, former Vols quarterback quarterback Tee Martin, former Golden State Warrior Richard Hendrix and former Vols and NFL cornerback Deron Jenkins.
For more information email ChristinaD@backfieldinmotion.org.
Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame golf tournament is June 6
The Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame fundraiser golf tournament is set for June 6 at Vanderbilt Legends Club.
There will be a shotgun start at 1 p.m. The registration fee for individuals is $200, standard foursome team is $750 and premium foursome team, which will be matched with a celebrity, is $1,000. The hole sponsor fee is $500.
Resister at https://tshf.net/golf.
If you have an item for Midstate Chatter contact Mike Organ at 615-259-8021 or on Twitter @MikeOrganWriter.
Sports on Nashville TV
The five highest-rated sports events locally for the week ending March 28-April 3 in Nashville: