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More Than a Number

April 5, 2018

Thomas “Tommy” Sharp ’88 (MBA ’89) and senior linebacker Tyler “Ty” Summers ’17 have a few things in common. For starters, they both wore jersey number 42 as TCU football players.

In 2015, Sharp was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Throughout his battle, Sharp remains a loyal Horned Frog fan and attends many athletic events.

Last fall, TCU Football Coach Gary Patterson surprised Sharp with a signed #42 jersey.

“We both laughed at how much the jerseys have changed,” said teammate and longtime friend William “Billy” Tommaney ’88 (MS ’91).

In addition to the TCU jersey number, Sharp and Ty Summers wore the same number in high school– 11. From there, the list of commonalities grows: Ty Summers’ father Jerrod Summers and Sharp went to the same high school in Alvin, Texas. Jerrod Summers was a quarterback in the ’80s and Sharp was a defensive back. They’re even recognized as Alvin High School All-Decade Team of 1980. Jerrod Summers and Sharp both have sons named Tyler.

The Sharp and Summers families shared memories in December 2017. Tommy Sharp (center) posed for a photo with son Bryce, wife Marie, daughter Megan, Ty Summers and his parents Jerrod and Kelly. Photo courtesy of Billy Tommaney.

The Sharp and Summers families shared memories in December 2017. Tommy Sharp (center) posed for a photo with son Bryce, wife Marie, daughter Megan, Ty Summers and his parents Jerrod and Kelly. Photo courtesy of Billy Tommaney

Sharp went on to be part of TCU Football Coach Jim Wacker’s first recruiting class in 1983. Football wasn’t Sharp’s only priority; he married Marie in 1984. Sharp nearly quit football after the birth of their daughter Megan, but with Marie’s encouragement, he continued to play and even clocked more game time.

Tommy Sharp (center) shows off his #42 jersey with longtime friend Billy Tommaney and TCU linebacker Ty Summers. Photo courtesy of Billy Tommaney.

Tommy Sharp (center) shows off his #42 jersey with longtime friend Billy Tommaney and TCU linebacker Ty Summers. Photo courtesy of Billy Tommaney

While attending the Valero Alamo Bowl in December 2017, Sharp and Jerrod Summers reunited. Later, Sharp and Ty Summers met each other in person for the first time.

“It was great hearing Tommy and Ty share stories of the bowl game, playing for Coach P and other football-related topics,” Tommaney said.

Ty Summers also signed the jersey Patterson gave Spark at the start of the season.

“TCU is a special place,” Tommaney said. “This story illustrates the bond we share as players no matter what the age. It shows the love we all have for TCU, the friendships, the memories and, most importantly, the brotherhood of TCU Football.”