Bethune-Cookman vs Tennessee State
Game Time 6pm

Nissan Stadium

Nashville, Tennessee



1999 Merritt Family
2000 Merritt Assistant Coaches: Joe Gilliam, Sr. & Alvin Coleman, Sr.
2001 Carrie Gentry & former Majorettes
2002 Sam Whitmon
2003 TSU Original Boosters
2004 1966 Undefeated Team
2005 1970 Undefeated Team
2006 50th Anniversary Championship Basketball & Women’s Track
2007 1973 Undefeated Team “HBCU Football Champions”
2008 1998 & 1999 OVC Champions
2009 1982 Undefeated Team“HBCU Football Champions”
2010 1965 Undefeated Team “HBCU Football Champions”
2011 Dr. Fred Humphries, Ivanetta Davis, & Homer Wheaton
2012 Dr. James Hefner
2013 Richard Dent
2014 Edward  L. prof’ graves
2015 Ed “Too Tall” Jones
2016 Undefeated 1956  national championship football team

2016 John A. Merritt Classic HONOREES

Undefeated 1956 National Championship Football Team

The 100 Moments of TSU Athletics presented by Taco Bell® series continues by recognizing Tennessee State University’s 11 Black College Football National Championship teams. There is nothing more memorable than winning a national championship. Winning 11 of these is legendary. During TSU’s 11 title run, the Tigers posted a remarkable record of 101-8-2. Among those included seven undefeated teams (1946, 1954, 1955, 1965, 1966, 1970 and 1973). The record-setting run started in 1946 when the Tigers went an unblemished 10-0 to earn the school’s first ever football championship. The 1946 team was coached by the legendary Henry Kean who is second on Tennessee State’s all-time win list with 93 victories. That year’s team only allowed six points through its first four games and scored 66 against Alcorn State later that season. Kean repeated the feat in 1947 thanks to five Pittsburgh Courier All-Americans including second time winners quarterback Nathaniel Taylor and halfback Raymond Whitmon.  In Kean’s final season at TSU in 1954, the Tigers captured their third National Championship by defeating the Bluefield State Teachers 59-0. Following Kean’s departure, Howard Gentry became the second legendary coach to patrol the sidelines for Tennessee State. In only his second season, Gentry led the Tigers to the team’s fourth National Championship in 1956. During the season, the Tigers only gave up 31 points total in their first nine games, winning all of them. Following the regular season, the team played Florida A&M in the illustrious Orange Blossom Classic where they surrendered 39 points, but still won the game by two over their bitter rivals. Following two coaching changes, TSU hired ‘Big’ John A. Merritt in 1963 to become the school’s 14th coach. The move was made right after Merritt won his second straight National Championship at Jackson State.The addition paid off for Tennessee State as Merritt would go on to win eight titles during his tenure. Under Merritt, the Tigers finished the season undefeated five times and the team won its first Division 1-AA playoff game in 1982. That year, the Big Blue captured its 11th Black College National Championship becoming the first school to win over 10. TSU won many memorable games under Merritt including the 1966, 1970 and 1971 Grantland Rice Bowl that gave the Tigers three more National Championships. Also, the Tigers defeated rivals Jackson State, Alabama State, Grambling State and Bethune-Cookman by a combined score of 117-19 in 1982 in TSU’s championship season. NFL Hall of Famer Richard Dent was part of that championship squad.   The 100 Moments of TSU Athletics presented by Taco Bell® highlights some of the greatest moments in honor of Tennessee State’s centennial celebration. A new moment will be released each weekday for a total of 100. These moments were chosen by the TSU 100 Moments committee, which consists of alums from various departments. TSU has so many great moments, not all can be represented in these 100.

Ticket prices

  • 50-yard line $35
  • 0-40-yard line $25
  • Corner Endzone $20
  • Endzone $15

Parking passes

  • (advanced preferred parking at Lots A-B)
  • $15 in Advance; $20 Game Day

Tailgating & RV passes

  • $200 Bus/RV Parking
  • $350 Tailgating Pass Lot R Only
 Nissan Parking
UAPB parking/info UAPB fans designated parking is lot H Click Here for Larger Map.

Fans can purchase tickets and enter the stadium at gate 8. On the southwest side of the building.

Strict bag policy will be enforced at the Nissan Stadium. Click here for details.

No umbrellas will be allowed.



    • 760 Old Hickory Boulevard
    • Brentwood, TN 37027
    • Phone (615) 964-5500 • Fax (615) 964-5501

    Rate: $109

    (Click Here) Close to All the Sights. Join us at the Four Points by Sheraton Nashville – Brentwood, where you’ll enjoy boutique service, plenty of extras, and the convenience of being just 9 miles south of Nashville. We’re close to hotspots like the Grand Ole Opry and LP Field, home of the Tennessee Titans, as well as natural attractions and major corporate offices. We’re also within walking distance of great restaurants and retail shops.

    You Want It, We’ve Got It. As a full-service hotel, we’re proud to offer everything you need when you’re traveling. Be sure to enjoy some great meals and warm hospitality at our restaurant. And treat your body right at our fitness center, outdoor pool, or hot tub.

    Home away from Home. Our 212 guest rooms feature all the comforts you need, including the plush Four Points by Sheraton Four Comfort Bed™. You’ll also get free High Speed Internet Access and bottled water. Our top two floors are dedicated to executive suites.



    • 583 Donelson Pike
    • Nashville, TN 37214
    • Phone: (615) 885-4242


    This modern airport hotel is a 4-minute drive from Nashville International Airport and a 1-minute walk from an MTA bus stop with service to downtown Nashville. Classic rooms feature free WiFi and flat-screen TVs, plus custom-designed beds, desks and coffeemakers. Suites add separate living areas and full kitchens.

    There’s a free on-site hot breakfast (daily) and weekday breakfast bags to go, as well as a fitness center and an outdoor pool. Additional amenities include meeting rooms and a business center, plus a free airport shuttle and parking.

    Please ask for the Tennessee State University Corporate rate when making your reservation


    • 1919 West End Avenue
    • Nashville, TN 37203
    • Phone: (615) 329-1144

    Rate: $139

    Hampton Inn Vanderbilt West End Hotel provides convenient lodging accommodations located one block from Vanderbilt University in the heart of Nashville, Tennessee. Enjoy our beautiful renovated hotel, free parking, hot breakfast buffet and wireless internet. Amenities include business center, fitness center and outdoor pool.
    *Rate is available on Sunday check-in only.

    Please ask for the Tennessee State University Corporate rate when making your reservation.

    To check additional hotel rates or for general city information, you can book online through the Nashville
    Convention & Visitors Corporation CLICK HERE or call 800-657-6910 or 615-259-4700


Information for Nashville


Airline Flight Info Reservations Concourse Website
American Airlines 800-223-5436 800-433-7300 C
American Eagle 800-223-5436 800-433-7300 C
American Connection 800-223-5436 800-433-7300 C
Continental Express 800-784-4444 800-525-0280 A
Delta Airlines 800-325-1999 800-221-1212 B
Delta Connection 800-325-1999 800-221-1212 B
Frontier Airlines 800-432-1359 800-432-1359 A
Northwest Airlines 800-441-1818 800-225-2525 B
Skyway/Midwest Express 800-452-2022 C
Southwest Airlines 800-435-9792 800-435-9792 C
United Express Airlines 800-824-6200 800-241-6522 A
US Airways 800-428-4322 800-428-4322 B
US Airways Express 800-428-4322 800-428-4322 B
Air Canada (Jazz) 888-422-7533 888-247-2262 A

 Discount Airline Tickets



Clinton Gray, Jr. Chairman of John Merritt Classic

Teresa Phillips Tennessee State University
Athletic Director

  • Gregory Clark
  • Patricia Clayton
  • Howard Gentry, Jr.
  • Adrian Granderson
  • Edward Graves
  • Cassandra Gray
  • Cassandra Griggs
  • Latessa Hickerson
  • Connie Kinnard
  • Fred Lee
  • Dorothy Lockridge
  • Granville “Sonny” Lyons
  • Nathaniel Perry, II
  • James Sexton
  • Jewel Wynn