Heroes will be a hot topic Sunday during the hours of television broadcasting leading up to Super Bowl 50.
Analysts will talk seemingly nonstop about who will likely emerge as the heroes in the game between the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos.
Before that, however, a story will be told about another kind of hero, one who played high school football in Tennessee.
Zaevion Dobson, a sophomore at Fulton High in Knoxville, was killed while shielding three girls in a drive-by shooting in his neighborhood Dec. 17.
Not long after the incident, President Barack Obama, in an emotional and tearful speech, called Dobson a hero.
New York Jets wide receiver and CBS/Showtime contributor Brandon Marshall will tell Dobson’s gut-wrenching story in a segment produced by sports Emmy Award-winner Pete Radovich as part of the CBS pregame programming on WTVF-5.
Marshall, a six-time Pro Bowl player, was moved by the story and came up with the idea to do the mini-documentary.
In January, Marshall spent time in Knoxville visiting Dobson’s older brother and Fulton High teammate Zack, who had a scholarship offer to play football at Austin Peay.
“I’m honored to know that the world cares about what happened on 12/17/15,” Zack told ESPN. “It shocked me Obama talked about Zae like that. I would love to meet him and thank him one day.”
The tragic story is close to Marshall’s heart since he grew up in neighborhoods in Pittsburgh and Florida he has described as “volatile.”
Former Titan George will be guest on ‘Late Show’
Titans running back great Eddie George will be Stephen Colbert’s guest Monday on “The Late Show” (10:35 p.m.) on WTVF-5.
George will give his take on the Super Bowl and also talk about his acting career, including his Broadway debut in the musical “Chicago,” which runs through Feb. 28.
Commodores to talk about post-sports success
Five former Vanderbilt athletes will tell how they were able to transition their success in sports into the professional areas of their lives Monday at Memorial Gym.
Alphonso Harvey, Jovan Haye and Chris Marve, who played football, will join basketball greats Shan Foster and Perry Wallace at The Other Big League, which begins at 7 p.m. and is open to the public.
Harvey was a defensive tackle (1995-98), who is now CEO of MusicCityMed, Health and Wellness company.
Haye was a defensive tackle (2002-04) who went on the play in the NFL, including two seasons with the Titans, and is currently an author and entrepreneur.
Marve was an All-SEC linebacker (2008-11) who recently was promoted to linebackers coach for the Commodores.
Foster became the basketball team’s all-time leading scorer (2005-08) and is now director of a domestic violence prevention program with the YWCA.
And Perry was the first African-American to play basketball in the SEC and is now a professor of law at American University’s Washington College of Law.
Top national reporters coming to town
ESPN baseball analyst Buster Olney will be in town Friday and Saturday along with several other national and local media personalities for the third annual Sports Reporting Training Camp at Nissan Stadium.
About 200 students/advisers from more than 60 colleges and universities are expected to attend the workshop sponsored by College Media Institute at Vanderbilt.
Joining Olney, a Vanderbilt graduate who got his start as a sports writer for the Nashville Banner, will be fellow ESPN baseball analyst Karl Ravech, Sports Illustrated senior writer and Vanderbilt graduate Lee Jenkins, the Washington Post’s Dave Sheinin, WKRN-2’s Dawn Davenport, who also serves as an ESPN football sidelines reporter, and voice of the Titans Mike Keith.
For more information, call 615-343-3064.
Athletic directors conference coming in April to Murfreesboro
Foster will serve as a workshop speaker along with former Titan Dave Ball and former Tennessee State men’s basketball coach Travis Williams at the 26th annual Tennessee Secondary Schools Athletic Association/Tennessee Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Conference on April 10-12 at Embassy Suites in Murfreesboro.
The keynote speaker will be Duke University sports psychologist Dr. Greg Dale.
TSU honored for number of Super Bowl players
TSU received an award Thursday for the number of former Tigers who have played in the Super Bowl over the years.
Another player will be added to that list Sunday when offensive guard Robert “Snacks” Myers from La Vergne suits up for the Broncos.
Myers will become the 21st Tiger to play in a Super Bowl.
Some of the others include Pro Football Hall of Famer Richard Dent, MVP of Super Bowl XX with the Chicago Bears; Ed “Too Tall” Jones, who appeared in three Super Bowls as a member of the Dallas Cowboys; Willie Mitchell and Fletcher Smith, who were Kansas City Chiefs teammates in the first Super Bowl; and Claude Humphrey, a 2014 Hall of Fame inductee who played in Super Bowl XV with the Eagles.
The most recent players are Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie with Denver (Super Bowl XLVIII), Anthony Levine with Green Bay (XLV) and Baltimore (XLVII), and Lamar Divens with San Francisco (XLVII).
TSU president Glenda Glover accepted the honor at the seventh annual John Wooten Leadership Awards in San Francisco.
Bargatze to be inducted into Trevecca Hall of Fame
Former Trevecca basketball coach Ron Bargatze was surprised before halftime of the Trojans’ game Saturday against Cedarville by being told he had been elected into the school’s athletic hall of fame.
Bargatze, who played at Belmont, was an assistant at Vanderbilt (1969-78) before taking over at Trevecca.
He later coached at Austin Peay and then returned to Vanderbilt as the color analyst in 1985.
Bargatze will be inducted in April along with Jeff Forehand (baseball), Mariska Reed Harris (basketball), Brittiany Johnson (softball) and Katie Carter Douglas (volleyball).
Ex-Brentwood standout sets Louisville shot put record
Brentwood High graduate Steve Wade, now a senior at Louisville, set the school shot put record recently in the Notre Dame Invitational.
Wade’s winning throw of 60-5 broke the record of 59-9 set in 2009.
Wade’s father, Steve, was an outstanding offensive lineman on the Vanderbilt football team.
Reception planned for Goodpasture’s early coaches
Goodpasture will recognize its first girls basketball coach, Peggy Roberts, along with Ronnie Sarver, who was an assistant on the first boys team before becoming the head coach, during a reception Thursday night between the girls and boys home games against Lipscomb.
Roberts and Sarver both started coaching at Goodpasture in 1971.
All former team members, cheerleaders, students and fans from 1971-88 are invited to the reception.
Clark staying with the Storm
Former Mt. Juliet star Alysha Clark, who played at Belmont and Middle Tennessee State, was re-signed this past week by the WNBA’s Seattle Storm.
Clark led the league in 2-point field-goal percentage (68.9) last season while averaging 6.9 points and 3.7 rebounds per game.
“Alysha has become one of the most efficient and versatile players in the league, mastering the things that do not show up in stat sheets but lead to team success,” said Storm coach Jenny Boucek, a graduate of University School of Nashville. “Her work ethic, toughness, team-first mentality and basketball IQ make her a strong leader and role model for our franchise.”
Former TSU linebacker signs with indoor team
Former TSU middle linebacker Nick Thrasher, who became the Tigers’ second-all-time leading tackler, signed a contract this week to play for the Columbus (Ga.) Lions of the Professional Indoor Football League.
Training camp begins March 1, and the season kicks off March 20.
Bradford appointed to communications post
Justin Bradford, lead writer for PenaltyBoxRadio.com and author of “Nashville Predators: The Making of Smashville,” was appointed director of communications for the Southern Collegiate Hockey Conference this week.
The SCHC is part of the American Collegiate Hockey Association and features 10 club teams that are from SEC schools including Tennessee and Vanderbilt.
Bradford, a graduate of Franklin High and Cumberland, has been named “Best Sports Reporter” the past two years by The Tennessean’s Toast of Music City Reader’s Choice Awards and is the public address announcer for Vanderbilt hockey games and Cumberland football games.
Former TSU coach steps down at N.C. A&T
Former TSU men’s basketball coach Cy Alexander resigned last week as the coach at North Carolina A&T.
Alexander was the coach at TSU from 2003-09.
His record was 43-80 in four seasons at N.C. A&T and 386-386 in his 26-year career.
Alexander said he decided to step down after his wife and then his mother died over the last three years.
He plans to pursue a career in broadcasting.
It you have an item for Midstate Chatter, contact Mike Organ at 615-259-8021 and on Twitter @MikeOrganWriter.
SPORTS ON NASHVILLE TV
The top five local ratings for sporting events on television for Jan. 25-31.
1. NFL: Pro Bowl, 6.5 rating
2. College basketball: Kentucky-Kansas, 4.9 rating
3. College basketball: Tennessee-TCU, 2.8 rating
4. PGA: Farmers Open (final round), 2.6 rating
5. College basketball: Virginia-Louisville, 2.5 rating
SEC Network ratings not available. Each rating point is equal to 9,902 Nashville homes.
Source: Mark Binda, WTVF-5 programming & research director