Arizona State Football to Retire No. 42 in Honor of Pat Tillman
April 23, 2004
TEMPE, Ariz. - At the conclusion of the upcoming 2004 Arizona State football season, the No. 42 will no longer appear on the Sun Devil roster as the jersey worn by Pat Tillman will be retired, Gene Smith, Arizona State Director of Athletics, announced Friday. Tillman, an Army Ranger that was killed in Afghanistan this week, patrolled the defensive backfield from 1994 through 1997, helping the Sun Devils to the 1997 Rose Bowl. His number will be retired in a ceremony at the Nov. 13 Washington State game.
'The most difficult thing was to try and strike a balance by being sensitive to what the family is going through,' Smith said. 'The list of ideas that we have is unbelievable and a lot of them are very good, but knowing Pat, what we know and listening to those who knew him well, we have to walk a fine line and say, 'These things are appropriate, they're traditional.' Retiring the jersey and the creation of a scholarship are great ways to honor his memory, but other things might bring more attention to this than Pat would want and what his family would want.'
Connor Banks, a senior defensive end from Richmond, Calif., currently wears No. 42 for the Sun Devils and will continue to do so this season as a tribute to Tillman. Prior to each game, Banks also will carry the American flag out of the team tunnel and onto Frank Kush Field.
'It's a great honor to be able to wear No. 42 for the last time,' Banks said. 'I feel so much pride for what he has done for the community and this nation. For him to give up his football career and go overseas to fight for his country and fight for what he feels is right is a great thing for the nation. I'd like to send my prayers to his family.'
It gives me a lot of pride to be able to wear the number that a great person like he wore,' Banks said. 'It's going to motivate me even more to play to the best of my abilities, knowing that he will be watching, that he'll be there for every down this year.'
Tillman's No. 42 is the fifth number retired in Sun Devil history, joining No. 11 Danny White (1971-73), No. 27 Bobby Mulgado (1954-57), No. 33 Wilford White (1947-50) and No. 40 Mike Haynes (1974-75).
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