Induction ceremony is Friday, Nov. 4 at Hall of Fame
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- One of the most dominating defensive players in school history, Chad Evitts led the Tennessee Tech football team from 1997-2000 and collected a long list of individual honors and awards. Named to three different All-America teams following his senior season, Evitts was the Ohio Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year and a finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award, given annually to the top FCS defensive player in the nation.
In recognition of his success as a Golden Eagle, Evitts is one of the five people selected to be enshrined in Tennessee Tech’s Sports Hall of Fame on Friday, Nov. 4, as the school honors its athletic legacy with the 37th annual induction ceremony.
The 2011 Hall of Fame Class will be honored during Homecoming
weekend, Nov. 4-5. 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 Murray State.
The OVC Defensive Player of the Year honor puts Evitts in pretty select company. The only other Golden Eagles to receive that honor were Jim Youngblood and Branon Vaughn, both members of the TTU Sports Hall of Fame.
As a senior, Evitts paced the Golden Eagle defense in 2000 with 118 total tackles, and broke his own school record for most tackles-for-loss in a season with 24. He also recorded two quarterback sacks, 18 quarterback hurries, one interception, three passes defended, a blocked kick, a fumble recovery, and led the team with five forced fumbles. With Evitts leading the way for head coach Mike Hennigan’s team, the Golden Eagle defense ranked 22nd in the FCS national charts. That team went 8-3 overall, notching eight wins for only the second time in 23 seasons. Current Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith was Tech’s linebacker coach at the time.
A first-team all-OVC selection two consecutive seasons, Evitts was twice chosen the OVC Defensive Player of the Week and also received FCS National Defensive Player of the Week honors following Tech’s win at Eastern Kentucky. He was named second-team All-America by The Sports Network, the Associated Press and the Football Gazette.
Evitts captured the team’s Headliner Award as well as the Robert Hill Johnson Award. He also was named Tennessee Tech’s Male Athlete of the Year for 2000-01.
For his career, Evitts had 308 total tackles that still ranks ninth on Tech’s all-time list. He played in 42 games and set school records for most tackles-for-loss (68) and most yards, tackles-for-loss (198). He totaled 10 tackles, sic interceptions, three blocked kicks and 13 fumbles, forcing five and recovering eight.
A product of Hartsville, Tenn., Chad was a two-time all-state selection while prepping at Trousdale County High School. He sat out the 1996 season at Tech as a redshirt, then began his Golden Eagle career by playing in 10 games as a freshman in 1998. As a sophomore he made 85 tackles and 19 tackles-for-loss, and as a junior he had 95 total tackles and 23 tackles-for-loss.
In 2001, he was invited to the Pittsburgh Steelers preseason
camp, signing with the NFL team as a free agent. He was on the
roster throughout the preseason, playing in three exhibition games
at linebacker and on special teams, before being cut the week of
the regular season opener.
Following his stint in pro football, Chad returned to school and finished his degree, receiving his bachelor’s degree in 2004 in Interdisciplinary Studies with an interest in animal science.
He began working in the construction business, and in 2005 was married. Chad and his wife, Leslie, recently welcomed a daughter, Ellie Mae, in September 12. They live in Dixon Springs, Tenn.
Joining Evitts in the Class of 2011 are fellow football standouts Ralph Broyles and James “Redbone” McMillan, volleyball standout Angie Duncan Hyche and tennis record-setter Esra Bayburt Roan. With their induction, the Hall of Fame will grow to 159 since it was established in 1975.
Tickets to the Hall of Fame Dinner and the Homecoming football 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. Reservations may also be made online at TTUsports.com.