TEMPE, Ariz. — Most of the Arizona State football team is far too young to remember the last time Pat Tillman donned the maroon and gold, but they’ll get a vivid reminder of the late linebacker every time they take the field this season at Sun Devil Stadium.
ASU revealed a renovated Tillman Tunnel on Wednesday, including a gate at the end of the tunnel that features the image of Tillman walking onto the field.
“The way Pat lived — the Sun Devil way — is something we teach our team about every day,” coach Todd Graham said. “Now the final thing they will see before taking the field is the embodiment of everything he stood for — and everything we hope to emulate and accomplish.”
The changes to Tillman Tunnel, which was dedicated to Tillman in 2004 following his death in Afghanistan in April 2004 while serving in the U.S. Army, can be seen here. The updates include the phrases “One goal: Champions” and “Play like a champion.”
When ASU players exit the locker room to head to the field they pass through maroon double doors with “Tillman Tunnel” above them. Now at the end of the tunnel is Tillman’s image, and above it is a 90-inch TV that will play highlights of Tillman’s days at Arizona State from 1994-97.
Tillman’s legacy has been celebrated at ASU a great deal since his death. His jersey number 42 is retired, and ASU’s jerseys include a “PT-42” patch. Graham has put even greater emphasis on Tillman’s legacy, having his image placed on multiple walls in ASU’s athletics building and creating a camouflage No. 42 practice jersey that players can earn for excellence on and off the field.