Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Kevin Byard’s No. 20 is Retired

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Story by Britton Barnette/ Assistant Sports Editor

Titans All-Pro safety and MTSU football legend Kevin Byard returned to Murfreesboro to have his No. 20 jersey retired in Johnny “Red” Floyd Stadium.

Byard’s No. 20 jersey joined Teddy Morris’ No. 14 jersey –retired in 1965– as the only retired numbers in MTSU football history.

“Kevin Byard has made a tremendous impact, both on and off the field, during his playing career at MTSU and as a Tennessee Titan,” said President Sidney A. McPhee. “It is in recognition of his sustained excellence, as a player and true role model, that we are elated to announce today his MTSU Number 20 will be just the sixth in the 111-year history of our athletics department to be retired. We are all extremely proud of Kevin.”

Kevin Byard’s impact for the Blue Raiders is worthy of multiple jersey retirements, as he finished his career in 2015 as the all-time leader in interceptions (19), interception return yards (377), interception return touchdowns (4), was a team captain and is one of just nine players in school history with 300 or more tackles.

Byard was a catalyst in giving the Blue Raider’s defense a reputation for forcing turnovers, as he forced or gained 25 turnovers (19 INT, 5 FF, 1 FR) in 49 career games in the Boro.

“This is an incredible honor for any athlete to have their number retired,” said Head Coach Rick Stockstill, “I am very proud of Kevin in what he accomplished here at Middle Tennessee and how he has transitioned into one of the best players in the NFL. More important than his skills as an elite athlete is how he has represented himself, his family, MTSU football and the Titans in a first class manner. KB is very deserving of this honor of having his number hanging in the stadium forever.”

Byard has continued to force turnovers in the NFL as he led the league in interceptions from 2017 through 2019 and snagged five interceptions and a touchdown last season as well.

“Kevin embodies all of the qualities that warrant having a person’s number retired,” said Director of Athletics Chris Massaro, “Kevin is a high character individual who always exhibited a tremendous work ethic. He is a great leader who always gives his all on and off the field. We are very fortunate that Kevin has continued representing our University so well in our local market as a Tennessee Titan. This retirement is in appreciation for all Kevin has done for MTSU and what he continues to do as a Tennessee Titan and beyond.”

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