Foules to be Inducted into Alcorn State Hall of Fame Nov. 1
VICKSBURG — Coahoma Community College’s Retention Officer Elbert Foules will stand alongside nine other Alcorn State University Alumni next week that are all being honored for their athletic contributions with school’s highest sports recognition — an induction to the ASU Sports Hall of Fame.
Foules, a 5-foot-11, 185-pound Braves’ cornerback was originally drafted out of high school to play professional baseball, and had received football scholarships from major universities such as Nebraska, the University of Mississippi and Mississippi State; but a special relationship between his father and the president of the alumni association afforded him a visit to the university and with famed ASU football coach Marino Casem.
“I committed to them pretty much immediately,” said Foules. “It was a great decision for me, Alcorn State instilled moral fiber into me as an athlete, and also directly into my life. Playing football for Coach Casem, and for the Braves gave me a confidence that I never knew existed.”
Although very much a team sport, Foules position at cornerback for ASU was an isolated one. Much like the premiere cover corners in today’s NFL, he had one job to do … line up across for the opposition’s best receiver, and spend the entire game trying not to let the ball touch his hands.
“It was a lonely position, and that’s why I say I gained so much confidence,” said Foules. “I had to rely on myself, and my ability and be confident that I could do the job.”
And Foules proved himself at his corner post, most notably in one of his best performances nearly three decades ago. It was Nov. 6, 1982 and the Braves traveled to Itta Bena to face Mississippi Valley State. On this day, Foules’ assignment was to be none other than NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice. At MVSU, Rice had earned the nickname “World” because there wasn’t a ball in the world that he couldn’t catch, and less than 50 miles up Highway 82 from Foules’ hometown of Greenville; the game would be a homecoming of sorts for the Greenville-Weston high school graduate.
The senior cornerback had one of the best games of his young career, picking off four passes and returning one of those 78 yards for a touchdown as Alcorn State triumphed on the road, 41-34. The four-interception performance still stands at ASU today as the most ever, and his performance earned him honors as Jet Magazine’s Player of the Week and Black Entertainment Television’s Most Valuable Player of the Week.
After leaving Alcorn State, Foules would earn a sport on the Philadelphia Eagles roster in 1983 as an undrafted free agent. He spent five years with the Eagles’ organization in the NFL picking of ten passes and recovering three fumbles while sharing the sidelines with teammates like Reggie White, Randall Cunningham, Cris Carter, Keith Byars and Clyde Simmons. He was traded to the Oilers in 1988 and officially retired from the NFL in 1991.
“I never really played a zone defense until I played in the NFL,” said Foules, “and I think that made the transition into the NFL a lot smoother for me. When I was in training camp trying to make the Eagles roster, and I looked around and saw guys from Notre Dame, USC and other big schools, I wasn’t scared, I knew that I could do the job.”
Foules led the Eagles in interceptions for two seasons and passes defended for four seasons and was named to Sports Illustrated’s All-Defensive First Team in 1987.
After his NFL playing days, Foules returned to Alcorn State and finished his degree in 1992 after a number of entrepreneurial ventures. He spent ten years in Los Angeles working as a teacher and counselor to at-risk youth at the Slauson Learning Center before accepting his job at Coahoma in 2012.
“I would really like to thank all of the Alcornites, including CCC President Dr. Valmadge Towner, who have supported me and purchased ads for this Hall of Fame ceremony,” said Foules. “I also want to tell the faculty and the local businesses who supported me how appreciative I am as well.
“I’m excited to be able to get back together and reconnect with some of my teammates and coaches, but what’s most important to me is that one day when my children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren attend Alcorn State University they will be able to look up and see me on the walls there and say that was my father, grandfather or great-grandfather. That’s really special to me.”
The entire 2013 Alcorn State University Sports Hall of Fame Class includes: Foules, and fellow football stars George Cole, Carlton Reese, Michael Reese, Kalvin Robinson and Louis Wright; basketball players James Horton and Gertrude Payton; baseball player Edward Davis; and Track athlete Charles Ruth.
Foules is the father of five children: Marqueatt Foules, Jarian Foules, Elbert Foules, III, Erica Foules, and Teyana White-Foules.
The hall of fame induction ceremony will take place at the Vicksburg Convention Center at 7 p.m.