The Board of Education honored one of our greatest athletes, the late Jack Tatum, at its meeting on February 29.

Known as one of the fiercest defensive players in the history of the National Football League (NFL), during his professional career in Oakland and Houston, Tatum led Passaic High School to an undefeated season and the State Football Championship in his sophomore year in 1964.  During his time at Passaic High, the football team achieved an outstanding 24-2-1 record and in 1966 he was selected to the First Team New Jersey and High School All American Team.

The Board presented family members with a gold football that was sent to the Board of Education by the NFL to help honor Mr. Tatum.

Mr. Tatum’s #32 jersey was retired by the Board of Education in 2010 in ceremonies before the annual Thanksgiving Day game.  His number was only the third one retired by Passaic High, following those of Craig Heyward and Arthur Harris.

His hard work and commitment to excellence both on and off the field led to a full scholarship to Ohio State University where he was a two-time All American, a three-time First Team Big Ten Conference selection and National Defensive Player of the Year.  Upon graduation, Mr. Tatum was a first round selection of the Oakland Raiders where he played a pivotal role in winning Super Bowl XI, and he was named to the NFL All Pro Team five times.

The gold football will be displayed proudly in the Football Showcase outside the gymnasium where his retired high school football jersey is displayed.