PHOENIX - A school in Phoenix, will be renamed in honor of former NFL Safety and Army Ranger Pat Tillman. When the school, formerly known as Balsz Elementary School, officially transitions from being an elementary school to a middle school, it will be the Pat Tillman Middle School.
In 2002, Pat Tillman walked away from his multi-million dollar contract with the NFL's Arizona Cardinals, where he was the starting safety. Inspired by the events of 9/11, Tillman joined the Army, and went to Iraq to fight as an Army Ranger.
On April 22, 2004, Tillman was killed in a friendly-fire incident in Afghanistan. To this day, Tillman is remembered for his exemplary character, spirit, and sense of curiosity about the world.
"What people forget about Pat is that he was a scholar and that he was an amazing man that cared about education and learning and was inquisitive," Principal Dr. Chad Smith told Fox 10 Phoenix.
To go with the new name, the school will combine a traditional curriculum with an emphasis on electives, science and engineering, and elite sports training--an approach to navigating the world that Pat Tillman could be proud of.