JFK High great going into Hampton’s Hall

Published 9:07 pm Saturday, December 4, 2010

Track standout: Suffolk native Terrence Warren was an 11-time All-American, eight-time CIAA champion and two-time NCAA national champion as a sprinter at Hampton University. Warren won five state championships on the track for John F. Kennedy High School. On the gridiron, Warren went on to a pro career in the NFL and CFL. He’s been selected as part of the second class to enter the Hampton University Athletics Hall of Fame.

Former John F. Kennedy High track and football star Terrence Warren was overcome with pride when he learned of his induction into the Hampton University Athletics Hall of Fame.

Most of his emotion goes out to the people who helped and coached him along the way.

“The biggest part of this, for me, is not that it’s a celebration of my accomplishments, but a way to pay homage to those who guided me and gave me a chance to develop,” Warren said. “I can’t take credit without giving them credit.”

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In high school and again as a Pirate, Warren was a track athlete first and a football player second. The football idea was good enough to take Warren to a career in the NFL and Canadian Football League.

“Track was and is my first love,” Warren said.

Warren won five state sprinting championships for John F. Kennedy. He won the 100- and 200-meter titles in 1987 and the swept 100, 200 and 400 titles in 1988. Warren holds the 200 state meet record (21.1 seconds) and co-owns the 100 state meet record (10.4).

Warren anchored the gold-medal-winning U.S. 4×100 meter relay team at the World Junior Track and Field Championships in Ontario in 1988.

He was great on the gridiron for JFK too, but that didn’t come as naturally. Football coach John Kendall talked Warren into coming out for football.

“He encouraged me to play. I wasn’t a natural football player, but he took the time to teach me the game,” Warren said.

John F. Kennedy’s track and field coach, Arnice Monroe, was and is equally special to Warren. Warren calls her a “second mother.”

“There are not enough words to say to tell about the influence she’s had on my life,” Warren said.

“She groomed a lot of young men to go on and do great and positive things,” he said. “The list goes on and on of the men she steered into college because of her mentorship and direction.”

Initially, Warren stuck only to track at HU and his list of athletic accomplishments for that sport alone is enough to make him a Pirate legend.

From 1988-92, Warren led the Pirates to three top-three finishes in the NCAA Div. II National Championships. Warren was an 11-time All-American, an eight-time CIAA champion and two-time NCAA national champion, winning the 200-meters in 1990 (20.67 seconds) and 1991 (20.65).

Warren walked on to the Pirate football team as a sophomore. In the next three seasons he averaged 25.8 yards per reception. Warren averaged 27.4 yards per catch and 9.9 yards per carry and scored 10 touchdowns as a senior.

“Coach Monroe, she steered me in the direction to play college football,” Warren said.

Friends from John F. Kennedy or Suffolk High were Pirate football players either just prior to or along with Warren.

“I didn’t see it so much as challenging or being tougher to (play football) along with track, it was more a challenge to see if I could succeed with this as well,” Warren said.

“With the guys who played ahead of me, it was sort of second nature to play football because it was part of a legacy at Hampton,” he said.

Warren was the first Pirate invited to the NFL Scouting Combine and was chosen by Seattle in the fifth round of the 1993 NFL Draft. Warren was a wide receiver/kick returner for Seattle, San Francisco and Jacksonville before going to the Toronto Argonauts in 1998.

Warren is a personal trainer and coaches at a private school in central North Carolina. As a trainer he works with college athletes looking to go on to the pros. His most famous client is NFL running back Willie Parker.

This is the second class inducted into Hampton’s Hall of Fame. The class will be enshrined on Friday, Jan. 14.

“This outstanding group of individuals symbolizes the essence of success on the national and world stage,” said Dr. Charles Wooding, chairman of the HU Athletics Hall of Fame Board of Directors.

“Those ultimately selected for induction earned the right to be hall of famers by the distinction they brought, not only to the University, but to college athletics in general,” Wooding said.

“When I entered Hampton, I wanted to live up to the expectation that when I left, they would be proud to have me be part of the student body.” Warren said.

After NCAA championships and the NFL, Warren recalls a sandlot football play as his favorite, most memorable moment in sports.

In a Suffolk midget league all-star game, Warren, age 12, caught Dwayne Walker’s halfback option pass and raced for a 69-yard touchdown.

“That’s still my highlight. Whenever Dwayne and I see each other, we nod at each other and remember that play. Grassroots sports, little league, that’s when sports are the most fun. There’s no money. It’s just fun to be on the field with your friends,” Warren said.