Vicksburg native Christopher Gale has been honored with an induction into the Jackson State Sports Hall of Fame. A 1986 alumnus of Vicksburg High School, Gale’s achievements were celebrated with his official induction on Sep. 21.
Gale grew up in the Openwood Street area and fondly recalls the days of his youth, especially watching Sylvester Stamps, a future inductee into the JSU Hall of Fame, showcasing his football skills.
As Gale transitioned into his teenage years, his prowess in football became evident. Under the guidance of Head Coach Jim Sizemore at Vicksburg High School, Gale showcased his talent early on. Even as a sophomore, he earned a starting spot on the offensive line for the Gators and also played a significant role on the defense. Gale was a key contributor in VHS’s impressive 10-2 season in 1984.
Reflecting on his high school journey, Gale expresses profound gratitude towards his then-defensive coordinator, Alonzo Stevens. He credits Stevens for imparting the nuances and intricacies of football, which molded Gale into the player he became.
“Practices at VHS was harder than JSU and in the NFL,” Gale said jokingly. “Coach Stevens made sure I stayed focused and he kept me in Fellowship of Christian Athletes which was very rewarding.”
Jackson State University:
When Gale arrived at Jackson State University (JSU), he found familiar faces in Kevin Dent and Ron Lewis, both natives of Vicksburg. They took Gale under their wing, treating him like a younger sibling and easing his transition into college life.
At JSU, Gale quickly rose to prominence. Even as a redshirt freshman in 1987, he carved out a niche for himself on the defensive line. Not only did he secure a starting position, but he also played alongside three other linemen who would eventually progress to the NFL. Gale’s talent didn’t go unnoticed. Over the subsequent years, he garnered numerous accolades, including being named to the All-SWAC, receiving honorable mentions as an All-American, and being recognized as a 1st-Team All-SWAC and All-American player.
Gale played a pivotal role in leading Jackson State University to a SWAC Championship in 1990. His prowess on the field did not go unnoticed, as he had the opportunity to play for the New York Giants in the National Football League, albeit for a brief period.
Following his collegiate football career, Gale transitioned into coaching. He took up coaching positions at various schools including Amite County, Heidelberg, Laurel, and Newton. Gale’s passion for guiding and mentoring the youth extended beyond the field, as he is now serving as an assistant principal in addition to his role as an assistant coach at Varnado High School in Louisiana.
Over the summer, Gale received the exciting news that he would be inducted into the JSU Hall of Fame. This announcement marked a significant milestone in his career and was a truly memorable experience for him. The recognition underscored his dedication and contributions to the sport during his time at Jackson State.
“It’s a dream come true and my faith is a huge reason for a lot of this so I must give a shoutout to Coach Stevens because I can never repay for all he’s done,” Gale said.
Gale attributed much of his success to influential figures in his life, notably Coach Robert Erves, who consistently pushed him to reach his potential. Additionally, Tommy Doss played a pivotal role in shaping his journey by introducing him to JSU. These mentors significantly impacted Gale’s path in football and beyond.
With his recent induction into the JSU Hall of Fame, Gale stands alongside an esteemed list of Vicksburg inductees. This distinguished group includes notable figures like Stamps, Eric Strothers, W.C. Gorden, Anna Eatmon, and Dent. Gale’s recognition further solidifies the significant contributions that individuals from Vicksburg have made to JSU’s legacy.See a typo? Report it here.