The Allstate Insurance Company and the Pro Football Hall of Fame honored the late great on Monday, May 13 during a special Hometown Hall of Famers™ ceremony in Chattanooga, Tenn. With heavy hearts and fond memories, the legacy of was celebrated in the Howard School of Academics & Technology auditorium by White’s family and friends, the students and staff of the school and members of the Chattanooga community.
Event emcee, Howard Principal Dr. Paul Smith, opened the ceremony by greeting guests and discussing the importance of hometown pride. A member of the school’s ROTC led the audience in the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance before the band marched in and put on an exciting performance.
Following a highlight video of White’s legendary football career, Allstate agent Ken Mara came to the stage to say a few words on hometown pride, something very important to the Chattanooga community. “Like and his family, we at Allstate understand the value of hometown pride, which we can see here today at Howard,” Mara said.
White’s father, Charles White, presented the special plaque during the Hometown Hall of Famer™ ceremony. Through tears, White thanked his family and shed light on his son’s sense of humor. A Howard alum himself, White, who was glad to return to his alma mater, he told the students, “Like I always told Reggie when he was growing up, anything you do, try to be your best.”
As Charles and Reggie’s wife, Sara White, unveiled the plaque together, Mr. White said to the audience, “Howard High, take care of this plaque because Reggie would want you to have it.”
Sara accepted the plaque on her late husband’s behalf. Following the unveiling, White addressed the students telling them she planned to say what she imagined Reggie would say if he were there. “Whatever career path you want to take, take it,” White said. “Reggie would say you can be anything you want to be.”
Additional speakers at the ceremony included Pro Football Hall of Fame Enterprises Program Director Brock Richards. “I am pleased and honored ’s family chose Howard to receive a piece of Pro Football Hall of Fame history,” Richards said. “Today, Howard becomes the 75th school in the United States to become an official extension of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.”
In addition to the plaque, a commemorative “Hometown Hall of Famers™” road sign will be on display in Chattanooga.
A defensive end from the University of Tennessee, White was drafted in the first round by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 1984 NFL Supplemental Draft after playing two seasons in the United States Football League. In 1985, he was named the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year and tied for the team lead with 13 sacks.
After eight seasons in Philadelphia with a total 124 sacks, White, also known as “The Minister of Defense” after becoming an ordained minister at the age of 17, went to play for the Green Bay Packers. He helped the Packers steadily improve and led them to a victory in Super Bowl XXXI. White retired from the NFL after the 1998 season, but made his return for one more year to play with the Carolina Panthers in 2000.
The three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year retired as the NFL’s all-time sack leader with 198. He was a 13-time Pro Bowl selection and voted first-team All-Pro 10 times in his 15-year career. White was named to the NFL’s All-Decade Teams of the 1980s and 1990s as well as the 75th Anniversary Team. His number 92 has been retired by the Tennessee Volunteers, Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers.
White passed away in December 2004 at the age of 43 and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006.
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