Tillman Donating $3,000 grant to alma mater
March 28th, 2013
Bears All-Pro cornerback Charles Tillman is generously giving back to the school that helped shape him into the football player and person he is today.
Tillman will donate a $3,000 equipment grant to his alma mater, Copperas Cove High in Texas, through USA Football, the official youth football development partner of the Bears and the NFL.
USA Football named Tillman to its 2012 All-Fundamentals Team in January, honoring 26 NFL players who employ proper technique, particularly when blocking and tackling, which fosters inherent safety benefits and better on-field performance.
By being named a team captain through a national fan vote, Tillman received the equipment grant to donate to the youth or high school football program of his choice.
He opted to award the $3,000 to his alma mater.
“Copperas Cove played a huge role in what you see today, not just the athletic program but the teachers as well,” Tillman said. “I’m thankful that I can give money back.”
One of the teachers who had the biggest impact on Tillman in the classroom was Jim Lowery.
“I don’t think there’s a teacher out there who made history as fun as he did,” Tillman said. “I remember one year we were talking about ancient Rome. We built chariots and had an Olympic Games, and that helps you remember a lot more when you learn something in a fun way.”
In originally naming Tillman to the All-Fundamentals Team, USA Football wrote that he “possesses strong fundamentals in both pass coverage and tackling. His ability to break on the ball makes it difficult for quarterbacks to find windows in which to throw to receivers. He also has the ability to secure tackles while simultaneously stripping the football from the ball-carrier.”
Tillman enjoyed a career year in 2012; he was named first-team All Pro and was voted to his second straight Pro Bowl. He tied for the NFL lead with three interception return touchdowns and topped the league with a career-high 10 forced fumbles, tied for the most in a single season since the NFL started tracking the statistic in 1991.
In the process, Tillman increased his career total to 39 forced fumbles, the most by any player since he entered the league in 2003. He also set all-time Bears records in 2012 for defensive touchdowns with nine and interceptions by a cornerback with 33, the third most overall in franchise history behind safeties Gary Fencik (38) and Richie Petitbon (37).
“Charles Tillman is a champion in the eyes of not only all Chicago Bears fans but the entire central Texas community,” said Copperas Cove head football coach Jack Welch, who was in the same position when Tillman attended the school. “He is a champion for students and always lends a hand to assist our football program.
“By Charles helping Copperas Cove High School football players obtain new football helmets shows that he understands the impact this grant has for our school and budget. It is refreshing to see All-Star players giving back to their communities and being a positive role model for our children.”
More than 10,000 fan votes were cast on USA Football’s Facebook page to determine the team’s three captains, one for each phase of the game. Joining Tillman (defense) as captains were receiver Reggie Wayne (offense) and kicker Phil Dawson (special teams).
Tillman earned the honor by garnering more votes than defensive ends Chris Long and J.J. Watt; tackles Haloti Ngata and Vince Wilfork; linebackers London Fletcher, Chad Greenway and Aldon Smith; cornerback Champ Bailey; and safeties Thomas DeCoud and Earl Thomas.