Mother's Day Memories of Reggie White

White and Howard HS to be honored Monday

Sunday, May 12, 2013 - by B.B. Branton

Thelma Collier’s fondest Mother’s Day memory of her son, Reggie White, was when he was a teenager.

“I had fixed a big family meal for that Sunday evening, went out for lunch and when we came back Reggie had eaten all the food … I mean everything,” said Mrs. Collier with a laugh.

The all-everything football star not only cleaned his plate on a regular basis in the White household, but also ate opposing quarterbacks and running backs for breakfast lunch and dinner.

White‘s hall of fame career ran the gamut that many only dream of – from Friday night lights at Howard High School to Saturday afternoons at Tennessee followed by Sunday’s in the National Football League.

Although White, also known as the Minister of Defense for his Christian faith, has been gone for almost a decade – White passed away Dec.26, 2004 – his memory and career remain in forefront.

The latest honor for White is Monday morning at 10 at Howard High School, as representatives from the Pro Football Hall of Fame and All-State Insurance will be on campus to present plaques to the school and White’s widow, Sara White.

Honoring White is part of the Hall of Fame/All-State partnership titled “Hometown Hall of Famers” to recognize former players and their hometowns.

“We are really excited about this honor for Reggie and Howard as it brings great recognition to the school and our community,” said Mrs. Collier who will be at the ceremony along with Reggie’s older brother Julius White and younger sister, Christie Rowe

Yet, with all his fame and fortune from football, the hall of famer never forgot his roots.

For several years he and several other NFL players hosted a free clinic for kids Chattanooga area.

“Reggie also never forgot his family and one of my fondest memories from his college days was that at Thanksgiving he would bring home several Tennessee teammates and we would have a great meal and just being together,” Mrs. Collier stated.

While football was the catalyst for White’s fame, baseball was his first sport.

Growing up in St. Elmo, White carried bat and glove to the nearby playground along with a worn out birth certificate.

“Reggie was always much bigger than all the other kids growing up and the coaches on the opposing teams , starting in t-ball, always checked his birth certificate to make sure he was in the correct league,” she said.

One can track his baseball talents to his grandfather (Mr. Collier's dad) who was a scout in the 1940s for the St. Louis Cardinals and to his father, Charles White, who is in the Chattanooga Sports Hall of Fame due to his softball and baseball careers.

“Being the biggest kid in the neighborhood and having coaches continually questioning his age did bother Reggie for a few years, but because he was a good player he eventually disregarded everything else and just played,” stated brother Julius who also saw success at Howard on the football field in the prestigious position of head drum major of the Howard marching band.

But by the eighth grade at Alton Park Junior High, football and basketball had replaced baseball as Reggie’s main athletic focus and his journey to the college and pro football halls of fame was under way.

His all-state days at Howard drew the attention of big-time college coaches with Tennessee the Reggie White Lottery winner.

But his days as a Vol almost ended prematurely.

White and Howard teammate Charles Morgan signed with Tennessee as a package deal, but Morgan decided to leave UT after a couple of years and White was not far behind.

But White’s mom nearly struck the fear of the Lord into her son and kept him on the straight and narrow.

“I told Reggie to get on his knees and pray to the Lord for guidance and if he decided to leave UT and come home then I would take things into my own hands and chase him all the way back to Knoxville with a broom handle,” Mrs. Collier said with a laugh.

Needless to say Reggie made the correct decision 30 plus years ago and his impact and legacy on the football field and in communities from Chattanooga to various NFL cities makes this Mother’s Day Weekend a special one for his mom.

contact B.B. Branton at William.branton@comcast.net


UTC Basketball Announces 2015-16 Staff

Chattanooga Mocs Head Men’s Basketball Coach Matt McCall had an eventful few months since arriving on  April 13  in the Scenic City as the 19th hoops leader in program history. Part of that has been assembling a staff to keep the Mocs fortunes rising. “We’re very excited about our staff,” McCall stated. “We believe we not only have the right mix of energy and experience, ... (click for more)

Lookouts - Barons Wednesday Game Rained Out

The heavy rains in the area caused the cancellation of Wednesday night's game between Birmingham and Chattanooga at AT&T Field in downtown Chattanooga.  The game will be made up  Thursday  as part of a double header at  5:15 pm .  Both games will be seven innings and gates will open at  4:30 pm . (click for more)

Healy Says Bass Pro Shop At East Ridge To Get Underway Next Month, New Hotel, Restaurants Planned Nearby; Sewers Are An Issue

Commercial realtor John Healy said Thursday that construction is set to start next month on the Bass Pro Shop at Exit 1 in East Ridge. He said it is due to open next May. Mr. Healy also said Wolftever Development that is carrying out the project has also bought additional land near the Bass Pro Shop site at the entrance to Camp Jordan Park. He said one purchase is America's Best ... (click for more)

Work Set To Start In October On $28 Million Retail, Office, Apartment Development At The 700 Block of Market Street

An Atlanta developer said work will start in October on a $28 million retail, office and apartment complex in the long-vacant middle of the 700 block of Market Street. Boyd Simpson of the Simpson Company said the project was made possible because his firm also owns the adjacent SunTrust Tower and can use some of its excess parking for occupants of the new building. He said ... (click for more)

Police Need To Stop The Road Cowboys - And Response (2)

Where is our highway patrol?  If they were known to regularly patrol our interstate highways through our city I don't think it would take long before the "truckers" were aware of it.  There are places in our country where this is the case.   When I have traveled Interstates 24 and 75 I may see the occasional car pulled over but rarely if ever is it an 18-wheeler. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Never Disturb The Dead

I’ve got too many things in my life that scare me so I’ve always been real leery of “unnecessary fear.” A guy named Terry wanted to teach me how to catch a live rattlesnake one time but had a tough time telling me what exactly to do with the angry serpent when the time came to let it go. I have the same view of these paranormal societies where otherwise sane people go around looking ... (click for more)