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's Russ Huesman is Quarterback Club Speaker Today

UTC head football coach Russ Huesman is the scheduled speaker for today's Chattanooga Quarterback Club lunch at Finley Stadium at noon. The lunch is open to the public and the cost is $10. Coach Huesman will talk about the upcoming NCAA playoffs as the Mocs are a No.8 seed and will host the Eastern Kentucky-Indiana State winner Sat. Dec. 6 at 1 p.m. at Finley Stadium. ... (click for more)

Georgia Northwestern Win Two at Welch College Invitational

After two narrow losses in their past two games, the Georgia Northwestern Bobcats took out their frustrations in a big way at the Welch College Invitational in Nashville, Tenn. Over the weekend. The Bobcats thumped St. Louis Christian on Friday night, 81-44, before whipping Appalachian Bible College in Saturday’s finale, 91-42, to improve to 2-4 overall on the season. ... (click for more)

2 Chattanooga Bounty Hunters In Jail After Man They Sought Not Home And They Take His Wife

Two Chattanooga bounty hunters are in jail near Atlanta after police said they took a man's wife away in handcuffs after the man they were seeking was not home. Khalil Abdullah and Kevin Roberson were charged with kidnapping, false arrest and false imprisonment. In an incident in Gwinnett County, police said the pair broke into a home wielding guns and found the man they were ... (click for more)

Bradley County Police Investigating Shooting; Victim Dies

The Bradley County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a shooting that occurred in the area of Georgetown Road. The sheriff's office said Sunday night that the victim had died. The victim's name has not yet been released.  A BCSO officer was waved down at the intersection of 25 th Street and Peerless Road by the driver of a vehicle who told the officer a gunshot victim ... (click for more)

When Black Friday Comes

So it’s Thanksgiving morning. You stumble out of bed and head to the bathroom to pee. Push the handle and away it goes (where does it go, anyway?) Better head to the kitchen and get the coffee on. While it’s brewing maybe a hot shower – love that gas water heater, I mean, it heats the water, and lots of it. Now time to enjoy a cup o’ joe and some breakfast while catching up with ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: UVa --Time For Change

The University of Virginia is, by any measure, one of the finest universities in the world. I have long admired it, whether covering dozens of sports events, cavorting with countless friends, or benefitting repeatedly from the surgical skills of the late world-class humanitarian Frank McCue. But today there is a terrible pall over “Mr. Jefferson’s university” – no, make that a ... (click for more)