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MVSU’s Trotter, Jones honored at Legends Reception
By Eric Graham
Updated: October 6, 2013
By SWAC Media Relations:
ITTA BENA, Miss. – Southwestern Athletic Conference Hall of Famers and Mississippi Valley State University legends, quarterback Willie Totten and defensive lineman David “Deacon” Jones (posthumously), were two of five former HBCU standouts that were honored at the MEAC/SWAC Legends Reception.
The event took place last weekend as part of the 9th Annual MEAC / SWAC Challenge presented by Disney in Orlando, Fla. The reception serves as one of several activities prior to the 9th Annual MEAC/SWAC Challenge presented by Disney, with Mississippi Valley State facing Florida A&M at the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla.
Other honorees included award-winning choreographer Chuck Maldonado (North Carolina A&T), radio personality Charlie Neal (Villanova University), and author Lucille O’Neal (Bethune-Cookman).
Totten and Jones joined many former SWAC athletes that have been recognized during the Challemge. The list includes: gospel artist Smokie Norful (University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff), former NFL cornerback Everson Walls (Grambling State University), Eddie Robinson (Alabama State), NFL Hall of Famer Mel Blount, Super Bowl MVP Doug Williams, Kellogg’s Senior Vice President of Global Nutrition/Corporate Affairs Celeste Clark (Southern),former NFL linebacker Robert Brazile (Jackson State), NFL Hall of Famer Ken Houston (Prairie View A&M) and Vice Admiral David Brewer III (Prairie View A&M).
Totten set more than 50 Division I-AA passing records. His team, along with NFL Hall of Famer Jerry Rice, scored 59 points a game, and in one year he threw for a record 58 touchdowns.
Totten played professionally in the CFL with the BC Lions (1986) and Toronto Argonauts (1987) before moving on to the NFL, as a replacement player for the Buffalo Bills during the strike-shortened 1987 NFL season.
Jones specialized in quarterback “sacks”, a term which he coined. Nicknamed the “The Secretary of Defense”, Jones is considered one of the greatest defensive players ever.The Los Angeles Times called Jones “Most Valuable Ram of All Time,” and former Redskins head coach George Allen called him the “Greatest Defensive End of Modern Football.”
Q: What is the Legends Awards, and how did it come about?
A: The Legends Award was established in 2009 to pay tribute to extraordinary alumni who have used their respective MEAC and SWAC university education to bring excellence to their professional achievements and/or community service endeavors (local, state, national or global). The Legends Awards were established to honor dedicated alumni who, through exceptional service to their respective university, have helped to advance the institution’s mission and goals. Legends Award recipients are representative of the rich diversity of MEAC and SWAC universities, and they inspire others. Through their enduring commitment to excellence, integrity, civility, diversity and service, they serve as stellar examples for future graduates of MEAC and SWAC institutions.
Q: What is the MEAC/SWAC Challenge Legends Reception?
A: The MEAC/SWAC Challenge Legends Reception is a semi-formal cocktail reception and dinner that allows recipients the opportunity to share their stories about how they are making a difference within their industry and/or in the lives of others. The event, held at one of Disney’s famed hotel ballrooms, allows attendees to experience the magic of Walt Disney World and the pageantry of black college football during this exciting fun-filled Labor Day weekend.
Q: Who’s eligible to be a Legend awardee?
A: Legends candidates are typically, though not always, graduates of MEAC or SWAC schools, having earned a bachelor’s, master’s or honorary degree from the university (or its predecessor schools and colleges). Individuals who attended—but did not graduate from an HBCU—can also be eligible to be candidates, as are individuals who are affiliated with an HBCU. All nominees are considered on a case-by-case basis by the MEAC/SWAC Challenge Legends committee.
Q: Who comprised the Legends committee?
A: The MEAC/SWAC Challenge Legends Awards committee is comprised of select members of the Disney and ESPN staffs, as well as faculty from the participating MEAC and SWAC Challenge schools.
Q: How are candidates chosen?
A: Those who wish to submit a name for consideration to the MEAC/SWAC Challenge Legends Awards Committee should send an email to email@example.com. Please write “MEAC/SWAC Challenge Legends” in the subject line. Please include a one-page letter of recommendation addressing significant accomplishments. The letter may come from the nominator or alternate supporter. Other relevant supporting documents included should not exceed three pages.
Q: What happens once nominees’ names have been sent in?
A: Once a nomination is received, it will be reviewed for that year and the following year only. In any given year, three to six total Legends Awards will be awarded only if qualified nominations have been submitted. Winners will be contacted by a member of the Legends committee.