A likeness of possibly the biggest Sun Devil in school history adorns the north end of Arizona State’s Sun Devil Stadium.
The school unveiled a bronze statue of former soldier and pro-football player Pat Tillman in a ceremony Wednesday, a monument designed as a tribute to the guy who gave so much — and as inspiration to the players attempting to follow his footsteps.
“Pat spent his whole life trying to be the best person he could possibly be,” Tillman’s brother, Kevin, stated before the drape was lost. “He didn’t focus on money, he didn’t focus on fame, he didn’t focus on a pretty statue. It was, ‘How can I make myself a better person in all these aspects of my life?’ And ASU gave him an opportunity to do that.”
The ceremony, held in the soccer facilities in the north end zone, drew several hundred people, including Tillman’s family ASU players and university officials.
Tillman played at Arizona State from 1994-97 and went on to play for the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals before walking away from a multi-million dollar contract to serve his country in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Tillman became an Army Ranger in 2003 and served until he was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan in 2004.
Current Sun Devils coach Todd Graham has made certain each wall in the soccer complicated included at least one picture. The players see an image of Tillman at the end of the tube.
Besides the images, Graham said the soccer team will begin a new tradition of touching the statue since they charge onto the soccer field, based on ASU Now.
“I want to challenge our players with this,” he said. “If you come out and touch that statue, you will need to pour everything you have onto the field and play with passion because that’s what his life was about — having a passion for what you’re doing. ”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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