Eric Dickerson, Pro football Hall of Fame and record-breaking running back has been named Co-Sports Marshal by Sharen Gromling, president of the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival®
Dickerson was selected second overall in the 1983 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams. An immediate success, he established rookie records for most rushing attempts (390), most rushing yards gained (1,808) and most touchdowns rushing (18), including another two receiving touchdowns. His efforts earned him All-Pro, Pro Bowl, Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year honors.
In his second season, Dickerson continued his onslaught on the NFL record book becoming a member of the 2000 rushing yards club. Twelve times in 1984 he gained more than 100 yards rushing, breaking the record of 100-yard games in a season held by O.J. Simpson. His 2,105 total yards rushing beat Simpson’s 1973 NFL season record of 2,003 yards. No one has since rushed for more yards in a single NFL season. Dickerson retired from the NFL as the 2nd leading rusher of all-time and in 1999 he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Dickerson was named to the NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team. He is widely considered as one of the greatest running backs of all time.
Russ Potts, a Winchester sports enthusiast, while athletic director at SMU from 1978-1982, developed a friendship with Dickerson (SMU 1979-1982) that lasted through the years. Dickerson and Craig James, currently New England Patriots ESPN analyst, were running backs. SMU went 11-0 in the 1982 season. The duo of Dickerson and James became known as "The Pony Express", coined by Potts, referencing the SMU mascot, the Mustangs. Dickerson was inducted into the College Hall of Fame in 2021 for SMU.
Marcus Allen shared his positive 2015 Apple Blossom experience as Sport Marshal with Dickerson. Dickerson and his wife, Penny Sutton, graciously in turn, accepted the Festival invitation and will attend festival events on Friday, May 5, including the Coronation, presented by Morgan Orthodontics, and the Hang 10 Car Wash Firefighters’ Parade. He will be a featured speaker on Saturday, May 6, at the Partlow Insurance Sports Breakfast at the Tolley Zone in the James R. Wilkins, Jr. Athletic and Event Center on the campus of Shenandoah University. They will then ride in the Glo Fiber Grand Feature Parade, which begins at 1:30 p.m. Dickerson's appearance is sponsored by Omps Funeral Home and Cremation Center.
Tickets to Festival events are available at www.thebloom.com/events.
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The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival®, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting the beauty of springtime and the apple blossoms in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley through events and initiatives that enhance community spirit and showcases our local agricultural heritage.