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


PHOTOS: CFC Suffers 2-1 Steinbrecher Cup Overtime Loss

Dalton State Women Finish Finish 6th In Final NAIA Coaches Top 25 Poll

Dalton State finished with a No. 6 ranking in the postseason edition of the 2016 NAIA Women’s Golf Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, announced by the national office. The Roadrunners had finished 10 th in the rain-shortened NAIA National Championship at Savannah Quarters Golf and Country Club in Pooler. It was the first time in the 22-year history of the championship that it was finished ... (click for more)

Child Bitten By Dog In Bradley County

The Bradley County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a child who was bitten by a dog. While saturating an area in Bradley County, a deputy observed a vehicle traveling on the roadway with a child not restrained and sitting in a passenger’s lap inside the vehicle. Once the deputy approached the vehicle, he noticed a child bleeding which was the result of a dog bite. ... (click for more)

Man Rescued From The Pocket Wilderness On Saturday

Rescue personnel started the Memorial Holiday weekend at the Pocket Wilderness hiking trails on Saturday morning. A man had been camping on the trails with friends Friday night when the accident occurred. They had been gathering branches for firewood when he tripped and fell on a branch which impaled his thigh. With no cell service and having no daylight, the group waited ... (click for more)

Fruit Basket Turnover

I have been teaching for 21 years now, so I’ve been through my share of school leaders. Every one of them taught me something important. Whether it was Don Bishop from Red Bank High School who, after almost 30 years at Red Bank, taught me to invest in the longevity of my career, Wade Kelly who taught me to thoroughly weigh options before making a decision, Gail Chuy who taught me ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: ‘Let Me Be Clear’

I have seen a lot of human beings who have gotten themselves in terrible messes in my time and more self-induced agony than I want to recall. Will Rogers famously said, “Give a man enough rope and he’ll hang himself.” That’s the truth and if you ever didn’t think that “Politics corrupts,” consider the genius behind the line, “It ain’t long those who get elected … begin to think ... (click for more)