ASU grad endows scholarship to honor Pat Tillman

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Nov. 6 would have been Pat Tillman's 38th birthday.

And on this day of his birth, a former classmate is making a big donation in his name.

Tillman played football at Arizona State University, went on to the play for the Arizona Cardinals, and left the NFL to join the United States Army after 9-11.

He was killed in friendly fire in Afghanistan 10 years ago.

Today, John Eddy is celebrating Tillman's life.

"Pat's just fierce determination about who he was and how he handled himself that I think in this sort of celeb-reality world, I appreciated that he was just trying to do the right thing for himself and for his family," Eddy said.

Eddy attended ASU at the same time as Tillman, and it was a chance meeting with Tillman in the parking lot of the Chuckbox restaurant that Eddy says changed his perspective on life.

"We started to discuss, and I just realized this guy really understands what the world is about," Eddy said.

Now he and his wife, Tracy, are making a big donation to ASU in Tillman's name to the tune of $700,000.

"Because of that, that's how I met my wife and I've had success. ... You meet those certain individuals in life, and so it's been very personal to me," Eddy said.

The Eddys are endowing a scholarship for Pat Tillman's linebacker position at the university.

"ASU has been such an instrumental force in my husband's life, and so when we talked about wanting to give back and what we wanted to do, education is obviously very important to both of us," Tracy Eddy said.

The scholarship will cover tuition, books, room and board. It's a full ride for a specific role on the team.

John Eddy hopes it will give opportunity and change perspective for the students who benefit from it, just like that day Eddy ran into Tillman at the Chuckbox.

"It's not always about football. It's about expanding your life and those opportunities, and it will be there forever," he said.

The Eddys will be at Saturday's Sun Devils game against Notre Dame to present that $700,000 check.