Former Alcorn State University football standout Dr. Dennis E. Thomas was selected to receive the 2013 Southwestern Alumni Association Lifetime Achievement Award.
Thomas will be honored during a Legends Reception and Roast on December 6 at the Sheraton Hotel in Houston, Texas.READ MORE: Nourish + Bloom Market, World's First Black-Owned Autonomous Grocery Store, Opens In Fayetteville
“I am honored to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award,” said Dennis Thomas. “I have found memories of my days at Alcorn State University and in the SWAC.”
The Heidelberg, Mississippi native made history in 1973 as the first and only offensive lineman to be named the SWAC Offensive Player of the Year.
He finished his collegiate football career as a three-year letterman at Alcorn State, a two-time Pittsburgh Courier First Team All-American, First Team Black Mutual Sports Network All-American, and Outstanding College Athlete of America (1974).
Thomas coached and played under the legendary Marino “The Godfather” Casem.
Thomas has served as the commissioner of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) since 2002.
Under his leadership the MEAC has become the first Division I FCS conference to institute instant replay during its televised regular season football games in 2011. Most recently he implemented the use of a hands free radio system for the conferences’ football officials to allow them to communicate with one another for the duration of the game.
Thomas’ mission to increase the MEAC’s corporate resources has led to multi-year partnerships with Russell Athletics, Coca-Cola, State Farm Insurance, Nike, Wells Fargo, Jostens, United State Marines, Freedom Automotive and TowneBank.
In 2010, he orchestrated the purchase of the conference’s new office building location in Norfolk, Virginia. The official headquarters marks the first time a Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) conference has owned its headquartered property.
Thomas was inducted into the SWAC Hall of Fame in 2003, the inaugural Hampton University (Va.) Athletics Hall of Fame in 2009, and the Alcorn State University Sports Hall of Fame in 2010.
Other Lifetime Achievement Award recipients include Rod Paige, former football coach at Jackson State and athletic director at Texas Southern, former Secretary of Education during the George H.W. Bush’s presidency, Zelmo Beaty, and All-American basketball player at Prairie View A&M and NBA All-Star, who will be honored posthumously.
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