Tommy Reamon was speechless.
A star running back for Mizzou almost 50 years ago, not much fazes the 69-year-old high school coach. He was a Virginia native who grew up 1,000 miles away, transferred to Missouri from Fort Scott Community College and led the Tigers in rushing in 1973. He spent four seasons playing professional football and then went to Hollywood, where he had a starring role in the 1979 football classic “North Dallas Forty” before returning to Virginia to coach high school football. He developed, among others, Michael Vick and Aaron Brooks into stars.
Not much fazes him, but a recent flier in his inbox from his alma mater promoting a series of virtual chalk talks the Tigers staff is conducting for high school coaches made him do a double take.
The coaches’ faces in those pictures jumped out at the longtime Virginia high school coach. Eight of the 10 coaches in that flier were people of color.
“I noticed it right away because I’m Black, man,” Reamon said. “I’d never seen nothing like that. It was phenomenal to see that many on a major program. It is the Show-Me State. This is my alma mater. I was so proud of them.”
Back when Reamon played for Mizzou, the Tigers had only one Black assistant coach — similar to many other programs in that era. Today, head coach Eli Drinkwitz has one of the most diverse football staffs in the country.