Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2011
Kelley Strutton (888) 879-8282

AUSTIN – Jerry Gray, defensive coach for the Seattle Seahawks, has been selected as the Texas Classroom Teachers Association 2010-11 Friend of Education in the private citizen category. TCTA presents the award annually to honor an individual who has shown extraordinary commitment to public education in Texas. Founded in 1927, TCTA is an independent, nonunion association for Texas teaching professionals and serves 50,000 members across the state.

Mr. Gray was selected for the Friend of Education award based on a nomination submitted by the Lubbock Classroom Teachers Association, a local affiliate of the statewide TCTA. The Friend of Education awards have been presented since 1976. Recipients must be judged to be true friends of education, educators and students as demonstrated by their leadership, actions and support.

In nominating Mr. Gray for the award, the Lubbock CTA praised the "hometown hero" for spending his time and money to assist those who are less fortunate in the Lubbock community where he attended Estacado High School. "He is truly an ambassador in his many efforts to provide educational opportunities to students who might not otherwise be able to have these experiences."

Mr. Gray returns to Lubbock every summer to sponsor a football camp for students, along with a golf tournament and sports memorabilia auction to raise money for the Jerry Gray Foundation. Each year, the Foundation awards scholarships to four Estacado High School students attending Texas Tech University, and funds other worthwhile efforts such as the Lubbock boys and girls clubs and educational trips for students. "Mr. Gray's incredible dedication is evident as he pursues his mission to motivate and empower young men and women with knowledge, financial resources and the tools needed to achieve a higher education and be successful in life," the Lubbock CTA stated.

Mr. Gray attended the University of Texas on an athletic scholarship and was a two-time Southwest Conference Player of the Year and All- American selection. After college, he played nine seasons in the National Football League (Los Angeles Rams, Houston Oilers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers), earning MVP honors in his fourth appearance at the Pro Bowl. After retiring as a player, Mr. Gray turned to coaching, holding positions with Southern Methodist University and the Tennessee Titans, Buffalo Bills and Washington Redskins. He joined the Seahawks in 2010. Mr. Gray received a bachelor of science degree in speech communications from the University of Texas.

TCTA will honor Mr. Gray on Friday, Feb. 4, 2011, during the first business meeting of the association’s annual convention in Austin. Texas State Rep. Alma A. Allen (D-Houston), recipient of TCTA’s Friend of Education award in the public official category, also will be honored. Educators from across the state will participate in professional development seminars, elect TCTA leaders for statewide and district positions, and adopt policy positions on many current education issues.