I Wish Every Month Was April

May 1, 2015

On April 16, 2005, I received a letter from Dr. Philip Carter. Dr. Carter informed me that I’d been selected by the Marshall University’s Black Legends nominating committee to receive the “ 1 of 125 Most Impactful Athletes” for all sports during the 20th Century. It was very humbling for me to receive such a prestigious award of this magnitude.

 

The Black Legends Organization was created to honor athletes having played collegiate sports at Marshall University. The recipients of this prestigious award demonstrated these attributes:

 

      1. Challenges institutional insensitivity to the past, current, and future scholar

          athletes with the intent to increase institutional commitment and the

           retention rate.

 

      2. Black Legends are involved with the Marshall, Huntington and Tri-State

           Communities through philanthropic endeavors, maintaining effective

            liaisons, and rapprochement with Marshall University professors,

            administrators, staff, students, and athletes as well as other local

            organizations with similar purposes.

 

      3. Black Legends make themselves available to consult with the appropriate

           athletic leadership to identify, recruit, retain, graduate and facilitate after

           graduation placements for scholar athletes with appropriate Marshall

           Leadership.

 

I will try to live up to this honor for the rest of my life. As a result, I will continue to work as if I was to live a 100 years and pray as if I was to die tomorrow. I personally have learned that life is fragile. The loss of the Marshall University’s crash victims lives taught me never take life for granted, regardless of my age. I felt privileged to be a Marshall University football player through frustration, fatigue and a partially torn deltoid coupled with hepatitis.

 

While doing so, I learned not to complain about anything because millions would love to have the good and bad of my life. For that reason I treat each day as if it is my last day of living. As a result, I accomplish what I can by not leaving anything for tomorrow.

 

Looking back, I wish every month was April because April has afforded me with some life-altering decisions and significant events regarding my ties with Marshall

University. Those milestones are as follows:

 

  • During April, 1972, I accepted Coach Lengyel’s invitation to visit the Marshall University Campus as a football recruit. The rest of the story is history

  • On April 10, 2013, my publisher, Authorhouse released my first book, “Against All Odds – 4th Down and Forever”.

  • On April 25, 2013, Marshall University gave me an opportunity to have my first book signing at the Student Center before and after the Memorial Fountain Ceremony. On my way to Huntington, West Virginia I made a stop in Lexington, Kentucky to see my 91 years young mentor, former professor and “honorary dad”. Dr. Mills made me promise that I would write my book before he died of cancer. I gave “Papa Mills” my first signed copy.

  • On April 27, 2013, I had my first book signing at Marshall University Student Center.

  • On April 30, 2013, I did my first TV interview about my life and the book.

 

For the aforementioned reasons, I thank God for the Grace and Favor that He has given me in April.

 

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