KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Each year the Beta Theta Boule Foundation chooses a select group of fathers to honor for their contributions to youth, particularly from inner-city neighborhoods, with their “Fatherhood Excellence” awards.
One of this year’s honorees is a tenured teacher, Vol for life and so much more, but as his family will say, Anthony Duane Hancock’s most important role is that of dad.
“Being his daughter is like… it’s having access that I didn’t know I could have access to, until I realized other people didn’t have that,” one of Anthony Hancock’s daughter’s, Shauna.
Many may know him as number 28, University of Tennessee’s wide receiver from 1978 to 1982 Anthony Duane Hancock, but to Shauna he’s just dad.
“Some people growing up with were like, ‘you have a dad’ and I was like yeah I do, there’s a confidence that comes along with that… there’s an invincibility that comes along with that, so I perceived the world completely different,” said Shauna.
Whether it was watching him lead the inner city district of the Boy Scouts of America, help educate young minds at Bearden Middle School as a special education teacher for 18-years, run for State Representative in 2012 or become the first round draft pick for the Kansas City Chiefs, Shauna and her sister Somer watched the man they call dad serve as a father figure to countless in the Knoxville community.
“And he told me one time and I’ll never forget it, he said they don’t have me… you do,” said Shauna.
“That’s just kind of the man that he is,” said Anthony’s wife Paula. “He is a provider and that’s one of the things I can compare him to my own father and I feel very honored I have chosen a person that is like my own father and when I say that, I say that in terms of the greatest honor.”
After a trip home to Cleveland – and an eye-opening visit with his father at the Ford Motor Plant where he worked – Anthony Duane Hancock almost quit school after his freshman year at UT.
“And then I decided, I think I need to go back to school,” said Anthony. “I think that during that time period I realized he was working hard but he wanted me to work smart, it’s a proudness you want to have… I wanted my parents to feel proud of me… I wanted my children to feel proud of me also.”
“Now that he’s in the teaching community I’m very proud of what he does because first and foremost he’s an advocate – you know he tries to be an advocate for the student,” said his wife Paula.
“… So when he makes an impact – and he does make an impact in these individuals lives and it’s not just their kids it’s their parents too – providing that support, I think it can change the trajectory of where some have been or would be going, because someone at least invested time,” Shauna added.