8-30-2023 – Media members gathered around Hale Stadium with their cameras and audio recorders on Wednesday morning, but not to talk Tiger football. Head Tennessee State football coach Eddie George was awarded the 2023 Neighborhood Heroes Award by Bristol Motor Speedway after practice as the Bristol Speedway Pace Car sat in the distance.
George, who enters his third season as TSU’s head coach was presented with a $1,000 check and a plaque from Jerry Caldwell, the general manager of Bristol Motor Speedway that will go towards his Legacy Fund and the TSU Athletic Fund.
The award, which was created in 2018 recognizes first responders, military members, and others in Tennessee who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in their professions to make a significant impact in the lives of others in their communities.
“For the award to be around since 2018 and to be recognized in this capacity is great,” stated George. “I came in with the intention to transform lives and shape these young men’s lives through the prism of football so they can be productive citizens, but also realize their purpose after the game.”
“So often I see athletes, high school, college, and professional athletes leave the game with no guidance and that’s something I went through as an athlete, leaving the game earlier than I would have liked to,” George relayed. “I just want to provide for them the guiding light to put seeds for them to understand that we’re not here just to play football, but through football give back in a greater way, and all that you aspire and dream about will come to fruition at its proper time.”
A few of the previous winners of the award include the Nolensville Little League All-Star team in 2022, and Hampton Valley Forge firefighter Chris Russell in 2019.
The ceremony would have taken place at the Bristol Motor Speedway on September 16, prior to the Bass Pro Shops Night Race, but George and his team will be in the midst of their first home football game against Gardner-Webb.