Scott Talley; Making All the Right Moves… “Former College Football Players”
May 3, 2011 by Staff
(ThyBlackMan.com) Former linebacker makes his biggest hit by teaching kids life lessons through chess…
Unlike Cam Newton, Von Miller, Marcell Dareus and the other former collegiate standouts recently selected by professional football teams, Kevin Fite never experienced the thrill of having his name called on draft day. However, once upon a time, he did share the dream of those fortunate players.
“If you play football in high school or college, or any level for that matter, playing football in the NFL is the dream,” said Fite, who carried his football dreams from Detroit to the practice field of Southern University in the mid 1980s.
Southern University in Baton Rouge, La. has produced a litany of football stars including NFL Hall of Famer Mel Blount and future Hall of Famer Aeneas Williams. Fite had aspirations of making his own special contribution to the school’s football lore, but a reoccurring back injury took him out of the sport in 1986, before he could even play a game for the Jaguars.
Stripped of the strength needed to take down charging running backs, Fite, a former linebacker, still had the power of his mind. And Fite’s mind and love for another game—chess—has allowed him to contribute to society in ways that most professional athletes can only dream about.
“In my wildest dreams I would have never imagined anything like this,” said Fite, who has been coaching chess in 2002 and is the founder of the Detroit City Chess Club.
“I have seen young people transform their lives through chess. The game teaches patience, it teaches you how to think ahead, these are all the things we need to build a successful person in society.”
The roots of the Detroit City Chess Club can be traced back to Duffield Elementary and Middle School in Detroit, where Fite was a math teacher. As Fite has continued his professional journey, and word of the group has spread, the Detroit City Chess Club family has expanded to roughly 500 members.
“We are a family, so once you join you are always a part of the club,” said Fite, who is now dean of students at Washington Parks Academy, a Cornerstone Charter School located in Redford, Mich. “My old students all come back and help. They talk about what they have been able to accomplish through chess, and they also give speeches about the mistakes they have made and some of the pitfalls they have experienced in life.”
Through school and club competitions, students coached by Fite had won five national championships and 13 state titles entering May 2011.