Returning to hometown roots to reminisce and reunite with classmates, friends and former teammates was a pleasure for one of Yerger High School Tigers alumni football legend James Sullivan.

Returning to hometown roots to reminisce and reunite with classmates, friends and former teammates was a pleasure for one of Yerger High School Tigers alumni football legend James Sullivan.

The Henry Yerger High School 17th Reunion was held July 5-8. In previous past Yerger reunions, have traditionally taken place every two years, to attract hundreds of alumni back to their hometown roots of Hope. The last two reunions have occurred in 2013 and 2015, respectively. The theme for 2017 was "Many Paths, One Spirit."

Sullivan of Fulton, is one of many Yerger alumni greats that have gone on to be highly successful as a nationally sports figure as well as having a prestigious college education background.

To be one of many football greats from the area of Hope to play professionally, Sullivan earned the recognition to perform as a guru on the gridiron, he shined during the playing days for Yerger High School Tigers. A 1964 graduate from Yerger, the 6'4'' 245lb defensive nose tackle and defensive end, was All-State, All-American and named to KOKA Dream Team for accolades in high school. He was recruited to play football by several colleges such as Tennessee State, the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff (UAPB) and Lincoln University amongst many more.

Since taking his talents to Lincoln University and joining the Missouri Blue Tigers, Sullivan achieved many accomplishments as one of their all-time great football players from 1964-67 and honored to be inducted into LU Athletics Hall of Fame.

He was one of eight individuals and two teams inducted into the Lincoln Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2013.

A banquet was held prior to the ceremony with family members and LU alumni present to enjoy and witness Lincoln Athletics Class of 2013 Hall of Fame inductees who consisted of James Amerison, Gerald Brown, Wallace Davis, Arvesta Kelly, James Long, Jr., Ted Savage, Boyce A. Smith, James Sullivan and the 1952 and 1953 football teams. They were honored and inducted into the Lincoln Athletic Hall of Fame.

As one of Lincoln University's most outstanding defensive player, Sullivan, was a four-year letter winner with the Blue Tigers (1964-67). He led the Blue Tigers to 24 victories as a defensive tackle. He's a two-time All-MWAA honoree and helped Lincoln defeat St. Mary's of Kansas, 74-0 and Missouri-Rolla 73-0 in 1964, which is considered the two most lopsided victories in the history of Lincoln University's football program.

Lincoln University never had a losing season while Sullivan played for the Blue Tigers, as they finished as the Pittsburgh Courier's No. 5 ranked team in the nation. As another great football player and star at Lincoln University to go beyond to perform on the collegiate gridiron level and play professionally, Sullivan spent time in the NFL from 1968-1977. During his NFL career, Sullivan played with the Baltimore Colts, Green Bay Packers and the Atlanta Falcons. He also spent time playing in the Canadian Football League for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and in the World Football League for the Philadelphia Bells.

Sullivan graduated from Lincoln University with a degree in Health Physical Education, then earning a Master's of Secondary Administration from the University of Missouri.

Once completing his pro football career, Sullivan journeyed back to home roots to work in the public school system in Hope and was the assistant principal at Hope High School from 1977-79.

Now retired from the NFL and the public school system, Sullivan lives in Colorado and currently a famous entrepreneur with his own business as a well-known and established master chef in the barbecue industry called, "Big Jim's Rib Tickler." He known as "Big Jim Sullivan."

His slogan, "Put the South in Yo' Mouth."

According an ESPN.com report several years ago, Sullivan's is very famous for cooking top-notch barbecue in Colorado for the public. Even famous public figures and celebrities have sampled Sullivan's barbecue such as Denzel Washington, Pam Grier and even NFL Hall of Famer and two-time Super Bowl Champion John Elway of the Denver Broncos.

During Sullivan's return to Hope for the Henry Yerger High School 17th Reunion, he commented that he always love to come home and enjoy time seeing and visiting good old classmates, teammates and coaches at Hope High School.