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Know Your History: Michael Strahan

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The Texas Southern football team hit the gridiron in style for Homecoming 2021 wearing new Riddell helmets donated by TSU football legend and Pro Football Hall of Famer Michael Strahan. With that kindness in mind, we decided to highlight Strahan, a Houston native, for this week’s “Know Your History!”

Television personality, journalist, and former professional American football player, Michael T. Strahan, was born in Houston, Texas on November 21, 1971.

The youngest of six children, he is the son of Louise (Traylor) Strahan, a basketball coach, and Gene Willie Strahan, a retired Army Major and a boxer with a 1–1 record against future heavyweight Ken Norton. He is the nephew of retired NFL defensive lineman Art Strahan. When Michael was 9, his family moved to an army post, BFV (Benjamin Franklin Village), in Mannheim, West Germany.

The summer before Strahan’s senior year of high school, his father sent him to live with his uncle Art in Houston so he could attend Westbury High School. Strahan played one season of football, which was enough for him to get a scholarship offer from Texas Southern University. He then flew back to Germany for the spring term, where he graduated from Mannheim Christian.

Strahan followed in the footsteps of his uncle Art, who also played defensive end at Texas Southern University. Strahan was so dominant he drew double teams, and TSU coaches dubbed Strahan double teaming “Strahan rules.” By his junior season, Strahan began to turn himself into an NFL prospect. As a senior with the Texas Southern Tigers, Strahan was selected All-America first team by The Poor Man’s Guide to the NFL Draft, The Sheridan Network, Edd Hayes Black College Sports Report and the Associated Press. He was also selected Division I-AA Defensive Player of the Year by The Poor Man’s Guide and Edd Hayes Black College Sports Report. In 1992, he was named First Team All-Southwestern Athletic Conference and the SWAC’s Player of the Year for the second consecutive season. He was also named Black College Defensive Player of the Year. As a junior in 1991, Strahan led the SWAC with 14.5 quarterback sacks. His 41.5 career sacks is a Texas Southern record. He was inducted into the Black College Football Hall of Fame in 2014.

Strahan graduated from Texas Southern University in 1993 and entered the National Football League.

He played all fifteen seasons of NFL his career with the New York Giants. A dominant pass rusher, Strahan currently holds the league recognized single season record for quarterback sacks in a season, and helped the Giants win Super Bowl XLII over the New England Patriots in his final season in 2007.

Since retiring from the NFL, he has become a media personality, appearing as a football analyst on Fox NFL Sunday, and later serving as co-host of ABC’s Good Morning America as well as Live! with Kelly and Michael with Kelly Ripa from 2012 to 2016, for which he won two Daytime Emmy Awards, plus guest appearances on game shows and other programs. In 2014, he became a regular contributor on Good Morning America, and in 2016 the network announced that Strahan would be leaving Live! to join GMA full-time.

Strahan was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2014, in his first year of eligibility, and continues to champion charities that benefit youth and community development, among other causes.

He was married to his first wife, Wanda Hutchins, from 1992 to 1996. They have a daughter, Tanita Strahan, and a son, Michael Anthony Strahan, Jr.  In 1999, Strahan married Jean Muggli after meeting her at a spa. They have twin daughters, Isabella and Sophia, born December 2004.

In August 2009, Strahan became engaged to Nicole Mitchell, Eddie Murphy’s ex-wife, but the two ended their engagement in 2014.

Strahan is a true hometown hero dedicated to many charitable causes.