Thursday, September 25, 2008
Nineteenth Southern Classic believed to be largest yet
By CLAUDE VINSON
It seems that each and every succeeding year, Fred Jones and his Summitt Management Corp. endeavor to surpass the offering the year before.
The Southern Heritage Classic celebration, which actually starts months ahead in preparation, runs for three days. It is generally kicked off on Thursday with the Classic VIP party which is hosted by Mayor Willie Herenton, and it serves to introduce the presidents of the respective universities of Jackson State and Tennessee State.
On Friday there is the Classic coaches luncheon where the coaches of their teams get to expound upon the virtues of their very own Tigers. Rick Comegy is the head coach of Jackson State and James Webster is the mentor for the Tennessee State Tigers.
This year there was a Classic R and B Concert at the Orpheum put on by Frankie Beverly and Maze.
Saturday is studded from beginning to end with a full day of activities including the Ed “Too Tall” Jones Golf Classic, the Classic Parade, Classic fashions and brunch at the Peabody Grand Ballroom. The day is capped by the annual football game between the Tigers of JSU and the Tigers of TSU.
And adding to the thrills of all of this, there are the Classic tailgate parties which never disappoint. They provide fellowship, cold refreshments and the best barbecue this side of Texas.
This reporter has been covering this event for 13 years. It is believed that this was the largest crowd ever. Parking spaces in private yards were being sold as far East on Southern at Josephine Street, three-quarters of a mile from the Liberty Bowl.
But as Fred Jones likes to say, “It is all about the game.” And in the end that is what it all boils down to – the game. For the last six years, it has all been about the TSU Tigers because they have won all of them.
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