Ricky Hawkins, left, of Niche Enterprises, Atlanta, helps Gwen Collins pick out an ASU homecoming-themed T-shirt at his road-side stand at the corner of Oglethorpe Blvd. and Radium Springs Road Friday. ASU Homecoming parade begins at 9 a.m. today on Pine Avenue followed by the Homecoming football game at 2 p.m. at ASU Coliseum. (Oct. 19, 2012)
ALBANY -- Frank "Choo-Choo" Brown had a pointed message for students during Albany State University's Homecoming convocation address Friday.
"I'm not a speaker, but I have a message for you young people this morning. You are blessed today to be part of this family," said Brown, who was the first the first ASU player drafted by the National Football League.
"Never fear taking on a challenge, stand for something and have commitment. Your are going to face obstacles in your life and it's going to take commitment to get through them."
In 1968, Brown, a native of Columbus, was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the eighth round of the NFL draft. Since then, 12 more ASU players have been drafted.
Brown's NFL career was short, but he enjoyed a 20-year career as a head coach in Fairfield County, Conn., where his teams won two state titles and seven regional championships.
"Commitment is important," Brown said. "When I was being recruited by (former ASU coach Obie O'Neal), he made a commitment to my mother and grandmother that he would take care of me and make a man out of me.
"That commitment has carried me throughout my entire life."
Brown said values spring forth from commitment.
ASU HOMECOMING SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
Homecoming Parade: 9 a.m., Pine Avenue, downtown Albany
Homecoming Game: 2 p.m., ASU Coliseum. Albany State University vs. Clark Atlanta. Admission: $25, adults; $10, children K-12
Fairgrounds at ASU: 2 p.m.-6 p.m., JC Reese Parking Lot. One-day pass, $10; two-day pass, $15. Tickets for games and food sold separately.
Homecoming Step Show 2012: 7:30 p.m., HPER Gymnasium. Hosted By: Jermaine “FunnyMaine” Johnson and DJ Nix in the Mix. Doors open 7 p.m. Admission: advance, $15; door, $20
If I Could Turn Back The Hands of Time Celebration Dance: 10 p.m., Albany Civic Center. Admission: $25
"Values is a small word with a big meaning," said Brown. "You have to consider what is important to you; what principles you will carry with you. Always remember where you came from. It will be invaluable in teaching you how to treat and help others."
Brown urged the gathered students to enjoy and take advantage of their time at Albany State.
"I know most of you weren't even born when I was here," Brown said. "I can't explain what my time here means to me. In a few years, you are going to be dealing in the real world and you will reach back on the experience you gained at Albany State like I have.
"Just remember to be your own man, not some puppet on a string."
Homecoming activities continue today with a parade in downtown Albany at 9 a.m. and the homecoming football game against Clark Atlanta at 2 p.m. at the ASU Coliseum.