Three outstanding sports alumni of the Athletic Department at Tyler Junior College have gone on to make TJC proud by becoming more visible in the national spotlight.
The three include: Akeem Shavers, football; Dom Dwyer, soccer; and Jimmy Butler, basketball. All three have been picked up by prominent teams within the last three months. Their time at TJC prepared them for this next step in their athletic careers.
TJC alumnus on the road to success is Akeem Shavers from Red Water, who now plays football for Purdue University.
“He is going on to big things at Purdue, and that is great,” said Associate Head Coach Ryan Mahon. “Most important of all, he is going to graduate. He’ll have a good football career but the sky’s the limit for him.”
Shavers transferred to TJC in 2009 but was red shirted until the 2010 season.
“Brick walls are only there to show you how hard you want something,” said Shavers.
He continued to work hard while waiting to play.
Shavers’ most memorable game at TJC was during the 2010 playoffs when the team faced Blinn. Mahon bragged about Shavers’ two incredible, over 70-yard runs during that game.
In turn, Shavers gave recognition to the quarterback for holding Blinn to under 100 yards.
“We are the only team that ever did that at any level of football,” said Shavers.
“At TJC the coaches cared and let us be as productive as we wanted to be.”
Dom Dwyer, a native from London, England, received recognition after being voted the 2010 NSCAA Junior College Division I Men’s National Player of the year while playing for TJC’s men’s soccer team. Dwyer was Sporting Kansas City’s no.16 overall pick. He is also part of the Generation Adidas class, which encourages a high level of young soccer athletes in the United States.
Dwyer went on to play for the University of South Florida after leading TJCs’ men soccer team to two national titles.
“I loved my time at TJC. I loved the togetherness of the team and the atmosphere in the locker room,” said Dwyer. “The athletic training staff and directors were great and very much involved in everything we did and showed great interest.”
“Dom was a player who worked hard every single day,” said TJC’s Head Coach,Steve Clements. “Whether you were in a conditioning session, in the weight room or training field, Dom would be up front, working hard and with a good attitude.”
TJC made Dwyer tougher, both mentally and physically.
“It built me to be able to compete at the next level and hold my own,” said Dwyer. “It also taught me how to excel in the classroom, which helped me when I took my education further and past junior college.”
Dwyer’s most memorable game at TJC was his last season game, a national championship game. With two minutes left in the game, an obvious win, the coach subbed off all the sophomores and everyone stood and applauded.
“That was the moment that I realized I had accomplished absolutely everything I could at Tyler and had just capped off two perfect seasons,” said Dwyer.
Today Dwyer is living his dream to eat, sleep, and live soccer every single day. He looks forward to playing with some of the best players from around the world.
“People say if you love your job, then you never work a day in your life,” said Dwyer. “And that’s exactly what I am doing right now.”
Another TJC alumnus achieving the dream of success is Jimmy Butler who has been signed by the Chicago Bulls. A first round draft pick in 2011, Butler was also the NBA Draft’s 30th overall pick.
After leaving TJC, Butler played for Marque
tte University. Butler left Marquette as one of 19 players in school history to post at least 1,000 points (1,277) and 500 rebounds (579) and was twice recognized as an All-Big East Honorable Mention selection.
“Jimmy was a leader and his competitive nature was a big reason we were successful,” says TJC Head Men’s Basketball Coach Mike Marquis. “He was a terrific person and a strong student. His contributions to our program go way beyond the court.”
The Athletic Department at TJC continues to encourage players to excel in their studies and on the field as well as taking their talent past the NJCAA.