American astronaut Barry Wilmore is a huge fan of Southeastern Conference (SEC) football, so much so that he’s arranged to watch games during his next stint at the International Space Station.
Wilmore, 51, is about to experience his third tour in space as he prepares to lift off with two Russian cosmonauts at the end of September to command a tour at the earth-orbiting station.
Along with his duties, though, Wilmore said he didn’t want to miss his beloved football.
“I don’t watch a lot of sports–my wife might not agree with that–but I do like to watch football, the SEC Game of the Week, and I try to catch [alma mater Tennessee] Tech every chance I get,” the astronaut said at a NASA news conference.
Wilmore is happy to note that he will be able to watch the games in space over the Internet.
The Navy captain has logged some 259 hours in space and will get the chance to perform his first space walk during this assignment.
Wilmore played football himself as a student at Tennessee Tech. As a freshman linebacker he earned a place in the starting lineup even though he was just a walk-on player and not one sought by recruiters.
“I was small, I was slow and I was fat. But I had a nose for the ball. I had the determination that I could somehow figure out a way to get to the ball,” Wilmore said. As a Golden Eagle, Wilmore amassed an impressive record, making 143 total tackles, the third most for a single season in team history, one year. He also made 21 tackles in a game, ranking second in the team’s record books.
The astronaut was inducted into the Tennessee Tech Sports Hall of Fame in 2003.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at email@example.com