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Past ‘Pacer’ players planning to reunite

Past ‘Pacer’ players planning to reunite

Posted: Thursday, June 21, 2012 12:00 pm

The 1988 UT Martin football team will be reuniting this weekend. Players from other eras are invited, and the plan is to make the reunion an annual party.
Emanuel McNeil, the All-American defensive lineman from that Gulf South Conference champion ’88 squad, has organized the weekend event in Goodlettsville.
He said more than 50 former players and coaches are confirmed to attend and is asking any former Pacer players to call (804) 301-4605 for questions about the event to attend.
The reunion will include a social 5-9 p.m. Friday at Moss Wright Park (745 Caldwell Drive) and a golf outing noon Saturday at Stones Golf Club.
Those attending will be asked to pay $10 to help with the cost of the social and then $25 for 18 rounds of golf and a cart.
The event will close Saturday with a social at Bailey’s Sports Grille (786 Two Mile Parkway) from 5 p.m. until closing time.
Already planning for next year, McNeil says the 2013 reunion will be held in Memphis.
A member of the UTM Hall of Fame, McNeil is one of the most honored and popular players in the football program’s history. He was Football Gazette’s defensive National Player of the Year and a first-team Associated Press All-American his senior year.
He was named a finalist for the Harlon Hill Award, annually given to the top Division II player in the nation. He was a two-time All-Gulf South Conference pick and the coaches’ defensive player of the year. McNeil was named to the GSC’s All-Decade team for the 1980s.
McNeil was a 10th-round selection of the New England Patriots and also played professionally for the New York Jets and the Canadian Football League’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
He spent 17 years as a coach at the prep and collegiate level before getting out in 2010, spending nine years at his high school alma mater Highland Springs in Richmond, Va., six years at Virginia State and two years at Virginia Union.
He is currently a behavior specialist at a charter school in Houston, which puts him closer to his son Marcus, a sophomore-to-be offensive lineman at James Madison High School in San Antonio.
Players from the 1960s, ’70s and other teams in the 1980s in addition to the 1988 team that reached the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division II playoffs are expected to attend this weekend’s reunion.

Published in The Weakley County Press 6.21.12

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