Bruce originally signed his letter of intent to play college football for the Purdue Boilermakers in 1990, but his SAT scores were too low for Purdue to accept him. Bruce then decided to attend West Los Angeles College, then to Santa Monica College before transferring to Memphis University. In 1992, Bruce’s first year with Memphis, he had 39 receptions for 532 yards and five touchdowns. In 1993, he became the first wide receiver in program history to post a 1,000-yard receiving season. He finished the season with a school-record of 74 catches for 1,054 yards and 10 touchdowns. He earned a degree from Memphis in physical education, and he is the only Memphis player to be selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The Memphis Tigers men’s basketball program first gained national prominence when it reached the 1973 NCAA Division I basketball championship game. The Tigers, led by Larry Finch, Larry Kenon, Ronnie Robinson, Bill Cook, and others, eventually lost to John Wooden’s UCLA Bruins, led by Bill Walton.
College Sports Established
University of Memphis
1973 – Present / NCAA Division 1
1928 – 1973 / University Division of the NCAA
2013 – Present / American Athletic Conference
1995 – 2013 / Conference USA
1973 – 1996 / Independent
1968 – 1973 / Missouri Valley Conference
1941 – 1968 – Independent
1935 – 1941 / Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association
1928 – 1934 / Mississippi Valley Conference
Tigers – When the Memphis State University first fielded a football team in the fall of 1912, no one had selected a nickname for the squad. Early references to the football team tabbed them only as the Blue and Gray Warriors.
After the final game of the 1914 season, there was a student parade. During this event, several university students shouted, “We fight like Tigers!” The nickname was born. As time passed, the nickname “Tigers” was increasingly used, particularly in campus publications, but did not catch on with the newspapers downtown. They continued to use “the Blue and Gray” when referring to the university.
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