There's a difference between loyalty to the home team--athletes
imported to play for our local colleges and pro franchises--and
the deep emotional bond we share with hometown heroes, the local
legends we knew back when. They are the boys and girls from next
door, or the next town. We watched them grow up, watched them
play when it was still play. Unfortunately, these luminaries are
almost inevitably dispersed because of sport's mercenary nature,
lured away by scholarships or contracts. Well, we're bringing 'em
all back home for the millennium--not necessarily to where they
were born, but to where they first showed flashes of the
greatness to come. Thus, Broadway Joe is in Pennsylvania, not
Alabama or New York; and the Mailman is in Louisiana, not Utah.
The result: the top 50 from your state and, on the following
pages, a list of those from all 50 states. In short, the ultimate
Gold medalist at 1960 Olympics in the 100 and 200 meters, and the
Has coached Tennessee women's basketball team to six NCAA
championships and ranks second in alltime wins among women's
college basketball coaches.
NFL career sacks leader was a 13-time All-NFL defensive end with
Eagles and Packers from 1985 to '98.
Won three swimming gold medals at the 1984 Olympics; set five
world records and won 48 national titles from '78 to '84.
Heisman Trophy-winning QB at Florida in 1966 coached Gators to
national title in '96.
Three-time NFL All-Pro defensive end with Bears; won 1954 NFL
title with Browns.
AAU basketball All-America a record 15 times; nine-time AAU
tournament MVP for Nashville Business College in 1950s and '60s.
Ed (Too Tall) Jones
All-America at Tennessee State; played 15 seasons with Cowboys,
leading them in sacks in 1981, '85 and '87.
In 21 seasons coached Tennessee football team to 173-31-12
record and five SEC championships.
Won 39 PGA tournaments, including two U.S. Opens and the 1955
Masters; played in three Ryder Cups.
Three-time All-America center at Vanderbilt from 1935 to '37 is
considered one of the greatest collegiate linemen of the '30s.
Mississippi State All-America spent 12 seasons in NBA and played
in six All-Star Games.
Had 1,612 strikeouts and won 196 games in majors from 1957 to '75
; three-time All-Star pitched in '65 and '66 World Series with
Tennessee tailback was runner-up for 1956 Heisman Trophy after
rushing for 549 yards and passing for 552; coached Vols to
116-62-8 record over 16 years.
Averaged 20.0 points at Memphis State; four-time All-Star with
Magic; now with Suns.
Tennessee guard was 1994 and '95 SEC player of the year; led
ABL's Columbus Quest to '97 championship.
Coached Nashville Business College women's basketball team to 11
AAU titles and 689-94 record from 1948 to '69.
Tigers righty debuted in majors in 1930 by retiring Babe Ruth on
a grounder and striking out Lou Gehrig; went 194-138 over 16
Catcher spent 21 years in major leagues (1959 to '80), batting
.271; appeared in '66 and '67 All-Star Games.
Dominant women's basketball player of the 1940s; played in nine
AAU title games.
Vanderbilt All-America quarterback picked No. 1 in 1952 NFL draft
by Rams; guided Bears to '63 NFL title.
Best quarterback in Tennessee State history, with 5,839 yards
passing and 65 touchdowns from 1968 to '71; threw for 2,130
yards in 20 games with Steelers.
Jim (Junior) Gilliam
Two-time All-Star infielder for Dodgers from 1953 to '66
led NL with 96 walks in '59.
All-America guard at Tennessee from 1929 to '32 earned
All-League honors with the NFL Dodgers.
Was the 1950 USGA junior champion; won six PGA Tour events;
played on '57 Walker Cup and '71 Ryder Cup teams.
Fleet-footed Senators centerfielder outdueled Ty Cobb to lead
American League in stolen bases in 1912 and '13.
1967 All-America defensive tackle at Tennessee State spent 11
years with Falcons; played in six Pro Bowls.
Negro leagues slugger hit a career-high 50 home runs in 1924 for
the Detroit Stars.
Starred at Vanderbilt as tackle and kicker from 1914 to '16 and
in '19; earned 13 varsity letters playing football, baseball,
basketball and track and field.
All-America center for Vanderbilt in 1966 played 10 NBA seasons;
averaged 14.5 rebounds with '71-72 Warriors.
All-America end for national champion 1938 Tennessee football
team; coached Vols to 49-29-4 mark from '55 to '62.
All-state in three sports at Bradley Central High; Alabama
quarterback from 1963 to '65; coached Vanderbilt to '74 Peach
Memphis State guard from 1987 to '91 is only player in Metro
Conference history with 2,000 points and 500 assists.
Three-sport star at Overton High won 171-pound national high
school wrestling title in 1996; one of seven U.S. high school
wrestlers with 200 career wins.
Coached Tennessee football team to 1999 national title; his .852
winning percentage is tops among active coaches.
All-America forward helped Kentucky win 1996 NCAA title.
Coached Georgia Tech football team to 165-64-8 record and 13
bowls from 1941 to '66.
Army offensive lineman helped Cadets to 23-2-3 record from 1945
to '47; won Outland Trophy as a senior.
Halfback and defensive end captained 1922 Vanderbilt football
team; coached Rice to six bowl games from '40 to '66.
1975 U.S. Open champion won six PGA titles, including three in
eight weeks in '79; still active on Senior tour.
In 1948 became the first African-American--along with Bill
Spiller--to compete in a PGA tournament.
Played for Brown in 1916 Rose Bowl; coached Alabama to 61-13
record and two national championships from '23 to '30.
All-America guard at Tennessee from 1938 to '40; won Knute Rockne
Trophy as nation's best lineman in '40.
Coached five college football teams from 1913 to '46, winning 14
conference titles and retiring with 205-73-20 record.
Rubber-armed lefty was major league starter and reliever from
1977 to '97, winning 109 games and saving 38; had a 3.72 ERA.
At Shelbyville High, 1991 national girls' basketball player of
the year; averaged 28.0 points, 5.0 steals, 6.0 assists per game.
Five-time National League All-Star caught for 14 seasons, hit
155 home runs.
Columbia High quarterback has six NASCAR Winston Cup victories,
including back-to-back Daytona 500s.
Australian Open singles champ in 1977; lost grueling five-set
match to Bjorn Borg in Wimbledon finals in '79.
Won WBA heavyweight crown with 15-round decision over Gerrie
Coetzee in 1979; bronze medalist in '76 Olympics.
B/W PHOTO: AP #1 Wilma Rudolph