Reese shares life experiences with county’s boys and girls
Posted: Monday, July 5, 2010 9:05 pm
As general manager of the New York Giants, Tiptonville native Jerry Reese has come a long way since his football team, the Lake County Falcons, won the 1980 state championship, but he has far from forgotten his West Tennessee roots.
On Friday, Reese offered members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest Tennessee-Union City advice through telling his personal story of how he got from a one-parent household in Tiptonville to becoming only the third African American general manager in NFL history and the only one to win a Super Bowl in his first year.
Reese spoke of his childhood and how he was often disrespectful, did not pay attention and was not doing well in school. One day, one of his coaches came by to take him to a ball game. Reese’s mother would not allow him to go because he was not doing well in school.
From that point on, he changed his attitude and began to work hard in school so that his love for sports would never be affected again.
Reese explained that, throughout high school, he never smoked or drank and encouraged the children to do the same, reminding them “that’s not cool.”
Though Reese claims he was never a great student, he tried hard and his talent landed him a football scholarship to the University of Tennessee at Martin, where he was later an assistant coach.
In 1994, he was hired as a scout for the New York Giants and worked his way up to the director of pro personnel in 2002, a position he held until he became general manager in 2007.
The central message Reese left with the boys and girls was that “hard work is the key, and bad attitudes get you nowhere.”
Editor’s Note: Emily Williams, the daughter of Roger and Juli Williams of Woodland Mills, is a senior at Rhodes College in Memphis. She is interning at The Messenger this summer.
Published in The Messenger 7.5.10