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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

TSU faithful Hope Games Return to Campus

Homecoming weekend at Tennessee State University brought out thousands of students, faculty and alumni to watch the Big Blue Tigers take on Samford University at LP Field. Many of them are wondering if TSU games will eventually be back on campus.

One elected official is also calling for the games to go back to "The Hole." State Senator Thelma Harper wants to take the games and the festivities that go with them back to TSU's campus. Many TSU fans feel the same way.

TSU's homecoming parade began a day of festivities leading up to Saturday's game against Samford University.

"We look forward to this every year," loyal fan Kandes Dungey says about the Homecoming game.

In recent years homecoming has been a little different than in the past.

"For those of you who don't know where "The Hole" is. It's where the heart is," Harper said.

Speaking to a crowd of TSU students, alumni and local officials Friday, State Senator Thelma Harper said she wants the city and state's help to revive a school tradition.

"We want to come home. We want to come back to the Hole," she said.

Hale Stadium - otherwise known as the Hole - sits on the TSU campus. It was where the Tigers played football for nearly 50 years. In need of repair, the state made a deal with the school in 1999 to let TSU use what is now LP Field as their home stadium.

"By moving it downtown it was a great idea. It gave us more room, more parking. However, with the true tradition, I think it should be right here," Torry Smith says.

Many alumni say, although LP Field is a state of the art facility, they miss the days at the Hole.

"I think it would be awesome. Everything is right here. You don't have to leave campus. There's more school spirit," says student Beatrice Edmundson.

Others say they enjoy going to games in the pro-stadium.

"Tennessee usually brings in a crowd of people. I don't know if the Hole can withstand the number of people that Tennessee brings in," says Thomas Gaitner.

No matter where fans think the games should be played, they're all ready to support their team.

No discussions have been made with the city and state about reviving Hale Stadium.

The first game TSU played at LP Field (called the Coliseum then) was in September 1999. The Big Blue Tigers took on Alabama State in the first John Merritt Classic, and won the game 41 to 8.


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