Pictured above: Left: Tennessee Tech football alum and donor Wayne Anderson. Right: Wayne Anderson during his years as a Tennessee Tech student-athlete with former Head Football Coach Don Wade.

Anderson left Tech before completing his degree and signed with the Buffalo Bills as a free agent

Wayne Anderson (`83 health education) says his experience playing football at Tennessee Tech will always be a part of him, and he hopes to always be a part of Tech football.

That’s why Anderson chose to give back to the program that provided so many fond memories, experiences and opportunities. And it all started when Anderson first visited Tech’s campus.

“I was down at the football stadium with then-Head Football Coach Don Wade, and I went out on the football field and stood in awe,” Anderson recalled. “I had chills. I told my dad I think this is where I need to be. Having that experience, and then being able to attend Tennessee Tech and play football and get my degree was so rewarding. Our team did pretty well, and I was able to achieve my personal goals as a kicker.”

While several schools throughout the southeast offered Anderson a scholarship, Tech was the only place to offer him a full scholarship. Anderson knows what that financial support did for him, and he wants to help future student-athletes.

“I was 17 when I went to Tech, so I was very young,” Anderson said. “Playing football helped me grow up fast. It helped me be responsible and accountable, and it helped me in my education. It all comes down to Coach Don Wade, the coaching staff, the players, the professors and the students I met during my tenure. It was a great experience, and it’s part of why I wanted to come back and live in Cookeville.”

Anderson was the premier kicker in the Ohio Valley Conference from 1977 to 1980, earning three all-OVC honors and an All-America selection his senior year. He led Tech in scoring all four seasons compiling 180 points, and he ranked third all-time in scoring when his career finished. Anderson also received the Robert Hill Johnson Award, which is Tech’s highest honor for a football player, and was inducted into the Tennessee Tech Sports Hall of Fame in 1997.

Anderson left Tech before completing his degree and signed with the Buffalo Bills as a free agent, then moved on to the Kansas City Chiefs. Anderson says he is grateful for the opportunity to play in the National Football League but is perhaps even more grateful for what Tech did for him when he left the NFL. When Anderson returned to Tech to finish his degree, Wade was there to support him.

“He still had me on scholarship,” Anderson said. “I remember he said, ‘Wayne, I want to welcome you back here. You’ve done so much for your school. You are still going to be on scholarship to finish your degree.’”

Since graduating from Tech in 1983, Anderson has enjoyed a successful career in insurance, focusing on risk management and client services. In 2013, after living in Florida for a number of years, Anderson moved back to Cookeville. He says fond memories of Tech and a desire to stay connected to the football program inspired the move.

“My wife Sarah and my children Jacob and Jacqueline supported me in moving back,” he said. “Without them, I wouldn’t be here.”

In addition to giving philanthropically, Anderson has also given significant time to Tech football. He previously served as a volunteer assistant coach.

“It made me feel good to give back and mentor the players,” Anderson said. “I want them to win and obtain championships. I want them to experience what I experienced when we went 9-2 my freshman year. It was incredible, and hopefully they can get back to that. And I look forward to seeing the stadium built. I hope it helps them recruit to get the athletes we need for Tech football.”

Head Football Coach Bobby Wilder says having the support of Tech football alumni is critical.

“The Tennessee Tech Football Program is grateful to Wayne Anderson for his support of our team,” Wilder said. “Wayne is passionate about football, a regular visitor and someone who cares deeply about the program’s success.”

Thanks to his experience as both a player and volunteer coach, Anderson knows firsthand the many expenses that come with running a football program.

“Incidental expenses add up,” Anderson said. “If I can throw my support their way, hopefully other alumni who played for Tech can do the same thing.”

Photo courtesy of Tennessee Tech.

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