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


Chattanoogan.com Prep Football Picks: Week Nine

Dalton State Women’s Golf Will Play NAIA Fall Preview

The Dalton State Lady Roadrunner Golf Team wraps-up the fall portion of the schedule on Monday and Tuesday by playing some of the best teams from around the country on the host course for next spring’s NAIA National Championships. Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) Savannah is hosting the NAIA Fall Preview on the course at Savannah Quarters Country Club in Pooler, Ga. ... (click for more)

Mayor Berke, Chattanooga Police Department, And Community Members Reach Out To Group Members To End Violence

The city of Chattanooga held a call-in on Thursday night, as part of the Violence Reduction Initiative. Dozens of law enforcement officials, community members, social service providers and clergy gathered to deliver a message to over 20 members of violent groups in Chattanooga. Family members of the probationers watched the call-in from another building. Although the call-in was ... (click for more)

Tribute Service For Luther Masingill Held At Historic Engel Stadium

It took a place as big as historic Engel Stadium for Chattanooga to say goodbye to their beloved Luther. Hundreds came Thursday afternoon to pay tribute to Luther Masingill who died early Monday morning after a radio career that spanned an amazing 74 years. It was clear from all who spoke that he was considered not only a radio personality, but also a role model. One after ... (click for more)

Chairs Cost How Much?

Many times while growing up, I would go to the store with my parents. More often than not, I would see something I wanted, and ask my parents to buy it for me. More often than not, they said no. “Why?” I asked. “Son, money doesn’t grow on trees.” That’s a phrase I’m sure many of us have heard more than once over the course of our lives. However, I have since learned that they were ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Pete Carroll’s Philosophy

Pete Carroll, the head football coach of the Seattle Seahawks, has a deep belief that he can change people by simply listening to them and then making suggestions on how they can get what they really want. If the people Carroll who can influence win, Carroll wins, and remember his team won last year’s Super Bowl with his methods.   When asked for example, here is what ... (click for more)