Former Tiger Tory Epps Passes
June 6, 2005
Story from the Uniontown Herald Standard
Tory Epps, a 1985 graduate of Uniontown High School and a former National Football League player, was remembered as a hard-working football player with an infectious personality.
Epps died Wednesday night at Uniontown Hospital. He had just turned 38 on May 28.
Epps earned a football scholarship to Memphis State University, where he starred as a defensive tackle. He became the eighth round draft choice of the Atlanta Falcons in 1990 and played in Atlanta until he signed with the Chicago Bears in 1993. Epps was selected to the NFL's All-Rookie team in 1990 with the Falcons. He led the league in blocked field goals with three that season.
He played two seasons in Chicago before completing his NFL career with the New Orleans Saints in 1995. He played for the Tampa Bay Storm in the Arena Football League until 2002.
His brother, Paul Epps, remembered him fondly as a multi-talented athlete who loved nothing more than football as he was growing up.
"He was a gentle giant," Paul Epps said. "He just had a super personality and his attitude was infectious. To know him, you instantly liked him. "From the time he could walk, he had a football in his hands. He was very athletic and played a lot of other sports. He tried wrestling and played basketball at the high school, too, but football was always his sport."
Current Red Raiders football coach and Uniontown athletic director John Fortugna remembers Epps as the kind of football player every coach craves. "Tory was a hard-working great young man," Fortugna said. "He came from a good family. He worked very hard to get to Memphis State on a football scholarship."
Epps (6-3, 270) played inside linebacker and offensive guard at Uniontown, but made his mark as a defensive tackle in college and the pros.
"He had tons of offers from all over the place," Paul Epps recalled. "When he went to Memphis his first year, he was a linebacker, which is what he played at Uniontown. But he was behind James Harris, who was All America in college and probably All-Pro in the NFL at linebacker.
"He took a medical redshirt as a freshman and when he came back the next year, the coaches wanted him to move to nose guard because they needed help there," Paul Epps remembered. "He started at nose tackle the next four years at Memphis State."
Fortugna, an assistant coach at the time to head coach Rich Bierbower, recalled how Epps never forgot his roots, even after he became successful in the National Football League.
"He used to come here and talk to our kids," Fortugna said. "Whenever he came home, he'd make a point of making his way to the weight room down here at the stadium. He'd just come in to work out and the kids would ask, 'Who is that?' Then, he'd talk to them while they all worked out. "He was a good person," Fortugna said. "You hate to lose someone like that. I can't say enough good things about him."
Funeral arrangements are under the direction of the Lantz Funeral Home. Viewing will be held Tuesday, with the funeral slated for Wednesday.