Tickets still available for the Hall of Fame Dinner
by calling (931) 372-3940
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – An all-OVC tight end on the football team and fifth round NFL draft pick, and a starting pitcher for one successful season on the Golden Eagle baseball team, Jim Bishop made his mark in two sports while a student-athlete at Tennessee Tech.
In recognition of his success on the gridiron and the diamond, Bishop is one of five people who will be enshrined into the Tennessee Tech Sports Hall of Fame October 30 as the school honors its athletic legacy with the 35th annual induction ceremony.
The 2009 Hall of Fame Class will be honored during Homecoming weekend, Oct. 30-31. The induction will take place at the Hall of Fame Dinner Friday evening, and the group will also be recognized at the Homecoming football game Saturday against Tennessee State.
One of the top tight ends in Ohio Valley Conference during his career, Bishop was the first player from the league chosen in the 1971 NFL draft. An honorable mention Little All-American, he was selected to play on the North squad in the American Bowl in Tampa, Fla.
A four-year letterwinner on the Golden Eagle football team, Jim helped coach Don Wade’s teams make steady strides from a 2-8 mark in 1968 to a sterling 8-2 record in 1971, and runnerup finish in the OVC with a 5-2 league mark. Bishop was elected as the team’s lone permanent team captain following the 1971 campaign.
The 6-2, 230-pound tight end led the Golden Eagles in receptions and receiving yards for three seasons from 1969 to 1971 in an era where Tech used an offensive system that relied heavily on the running game. It was Bishop’s presence and constant threat as a receiver that helped loosen defenses for All-America runningback Larry Schreiber to set school yardage records.
During his sophomore season, Bishop had 31 catches for 356 yards and as a junior in 1970; he made 30 grabs for 355 yards. After Tech switched to the wishbone offense, Bishop’s blocking abilities took center stage while still leading the team with 15 catches for 271 yards.
When he finished his Golden Eagle playing career, Bishop held two school receiving records
-- most career receptions (76) and most career touchdown catches (11). He also ranked second all-time at Tech in career receiving yards with 1,162, missing 20-year old record by a mere 33 yards.
His top individual game came in 1969 in a 21-7 Golden Eagle victory at Middle Tennessee when he accounted for 136 receiving yards.
Bishop’s statistics can be appreciated even more when one considers he did not play receiver as a freshman, and he spent his senior season mostly as a blocker out of the run-oriented wishbone offense.
Following graduation, the San Diego Chargers drafted Bishop in the National Football League’s fifth round. He was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs, and also spent one year with the Houston Oilers. Bishop moved to the World Football League for two seasons, playing in 1974 and 1975 with the Birmingham Americans.
The football field wasn’t the only place that Bishop made his mark in Golden Eagle athletics. During the 1970 season, he was a pitcher on coach W.A. Wright’s staff, leading the squad with six victories on his way to a 6-2 record. He pitched in eight games, five as a starter, and posted three complete games in helping the Golden Eagles to a 21-16 overall record and a 9-3 mark in the OVC.
Bob Joye, an assistant coach for the Golden Eagles during Bishop’s career and a member of the TTU Sports Hall of Fame, recalled the contributions of the big tight end.
“Jimmy was highly respected by the coaching staff, faculty and staff of the University, and his fellow players,” Joye said. “In addition to his football talent and performance, he was an outstanding young man and a great team player.”
In 1972, his hometown of Boaz, Ala., held a parade and banquet to honor Bishop, with TTU head coach Don Wade serving as the main speaker.
Joining Bishop in the Class of 2009 are Dena Adams Fairley, John Moorhead, Tony Stone and Branon Vaughn. With their induction, the Hall of Fame will grow to 153 since it was established in 1975.
Tickets to the Hall of Fame Dinner and the game are available by calling (931) 372-3940, or through the Athletics ticket office in Eblen Center. Reservations must be made for the dinner, and tickets are $25 each.