Tennessee Tech Alum Celebrates Golden Homecoming Anniversary - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Tennessee Tech Alum Celebrates Golden Homecoming Anniversary

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by Adam Ghassemi

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – At Tennessee Tech, there's a sense of school spirit that alumni Max Alderson has never forgotten. Now his alma mater is giving him the opportunity to suit up and strut his stuff.

Turns out, this old bird hasn't forgotten any of his tricks.

"Touchdown!" he yelled Friday at Tucker Stadium dressed as the school's mascot, "Awesome Eagle".

"He looks great! Brings back old memories," said his wife and college sweetheart, Pat.

As current Tech students prepare for this weekend's homecoming the man who was the original  "Awesome" remembers decades ago and the Eagle suit he used to keep in his dorm room.

"The head... if you woke up in the middle of the night, it was a little bit of a startle to see," Alderson said laughing.

It was crude and unexpected during a game against then Middle Tennessee State in 1962.

Alderson says he remembers preparing to run out on the field for the very first time with a paper mache eagle head and two friends guiding him, worried about tripping and the 40 young men behind him wearing cleats if he did.

The crowd's reaction created a storied tradition.

"We just wanted to see what would really happen and how people would really react to it," he said.

Saturday at halftime, as the Golden Eagles take on Eastern Illinois, 70-year-old Alderson will get to once again hit the field as "Awesome" exactly 50 years later.

"The adrenaline does start flowing when you put on that costume," he said.

For a few moments time will rewind and fulfill a dream for a man, regardless if the fans watching him know it or not.

"I really can't describe how it feels to be able to go out there, be out there on that field and portray that mascot," he said.

Surprisingly, he says the current "Awesome" costume really doesn't let him see or move any easier than the original one they put together five decades ago.

Saturday's game against the Eastern Illinois Panthers kicks-off at Tucker Stadium at 1:30 p.m.

Email: aghassemi@newschannel5.com
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