Ohio State football: Eddie George enjoying new opportunity at Tennessee State

COLUMBUS -- Eddie George was in a familiar place Friday talking about the new path his life has taken.

Rather than, “Heisman Trophy winning tailback” or “former NFL standout,” he was introduced to the Ohio State Football Coaches Clinic as the head coach of the Tennessee State football program.

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“You want to make God laugh, you tell him your plans,” said George, who starred for the Buckeyes in the early ‘90s then played nine seasons in the NFL.

The 1995 Heisman Trophy winner later became a Renaissance man, earning an MBA, starting a wealth management firm and appearing on Broadway while also raising two boys with his wife, Taj.

“My plan was I was going to be the first person to win the ‘HEGOT,” said the 48-year-old. “You know, the Emmy, Oscar, Tony, Grammy? I wanted to be the first person to win the Heisman, Grammy, Oscar, Tony.”

He said he was modeling his career after another former college football player, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, when the former Buckeye got a surprising call from Tennessee State last spring.

Although George had no real coaching experience, the university was interested in having him run its program, which competes in Division I FCS.

He was skeptical at first but took the job after receiving encouragement from his wife and consulting with longtime Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin.

The Tigers, who claim 11 Black College Football National Championships and have sent more than 100 players to the NFL including Ed “Too Tall” Jones and Richard Dent, went 5-6 in George’s debut season as coach.

“I’m enjoying it,” said George, who described himself as a CEO-type coach. “Every day I wake up is an opportunity to get better, to be a great mentor to these young men and to really develop and influence young lives through the game of football, a game that I know and love.

“It’s been a learning curve. To listen to the plays and all the nomenclature and terms is like picking up Shakespeare for the first time. So it takes a while for your ear to get used to it again, but ultimately my goal is to develop these young men, support our coaches and really enhance the footprint of Tennessee State in a major way. I enjoy doing it. I’ve loved it.”

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