Athletics alumni kick off Letterman Gold chapter with event at Cascades marina

Jul 23, 2014 by

The first Letterman Gold alumni chapter launched April 10 with a kick-off event at the Marina at The Cascades Country Club in Tyler. Designed for all former athletes from all sports, the chapter will give alumni an opportunity for fellowship and networking, as well as provide a venue to support Apache Athletics.

Letterman Gold will work much in the same manner of the traditional Letterman Association, bringing together former athletes to support each other and the Apache athletic program.  Don Murphy, former football player extraordinaire, heads an all-star team of former athletes from different sports and decades who are putting together this special chapter. Joining Murphy on the steering committee are Judy Kniffen Clardy, Ardie Dixon, Wanda Ealey, Dwayne Gandy, Louis Jones, Nancy Lunceford, John Peterson, Emma Lou Prater, Herb Richardson, Mike Richardson, Cecil Roach, Gene Staples and Tommy Tooker.

More than 80 former Apache athletes, coaches and trainers attended the kick-off festivities, which included remarks from TJC President Dr. Mike Metke and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Dr. Tim Drain. Guests enjoyed reminiscing and reconnecting with some of the greats from Apache athletics history, while partaking of an East Texas barbeque and enjoying the beautiful sunset over the lake.


A highlight of the evening was the introduction of Trenia Tillis Jones, TJC women’s head basketball coach, as this year’s recipient of the Pat Summit Trophy as the 2014 Russell Athletic/WBCA Junior College/Community College National Coach of the Year.

Jones joined the Tyler Junior College staff in 2000 and is now in her 14th season as head coach of TJC women’s basketball. She was named Coach of the Year in Region XIV. Following an 11-19 2013 season, Jones led TJC to a 30-6 overall record and national ranking of No. 11. Jones guided Tyler Junior College to its first NJCAA tournament bid since the 2007 season, where they advanced to the NJCAA quarterfinals.

Murphy expects this to be an active, fun chapter, and already has several activities on the planning table, including a fundraising golf tournament. All former Apache athletes are invited to join the chapter, and spouses are encouraged to join in the activities as well.

The alumni office has arranged alumni seating areas for football and basketball games, and you are invited to join us for all home games! For more information about Letterman Gold, including how to join the chapter or start one in your area, contact the TJC Alumni Affairs office at 903-510-2588 or

Please see photos from the event on Page 25.

Don Fraser is TJC director of alumni affairs.




Alumni, News, Spring/Summer 2014

About the author

Don Fraser is the Director of Alumni Affairs at Tyler Junior College.