Thom Gossom Jr

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Thom Gossom Jr

Thomas Gossom Jr (born January 21, 1952 in Birmingham) is a communications professional, writer, actor, and former football player.

Gossom grew up in Birmingham and was a standout receiver at John Carroll Christian High School. He was not recruited by colleges and decided to try out as a walk on for the Auburn Tigers football team. He soon earned a scholarship, lettered three times at split end, and became the first Black athlete to graduate from Auburn, with a bachelor of arts in communication. He contributed a regular column, "First and 10 with Thomas Gossom", to the Plainsman during his senior year.

During his junior year at Auburn he and two other Black players were briefly dismissed from the team until they shaved off their mustaches. In the 1974 Iron Bowl, the final game of his senior season, Gossom faked out Alabama defender Mike Washington for a 41-yard touchdown catch that was called back because the backfield judge ruled he had stepped on the sideline before the catch.

After graduating, Gossom played for the Birmingham Vulcans of the World Football League. From there he was offered a television news job with WBMG 42 and briefly served as a news anchor. He left for a position in public relations at BellSouth and completed a master of arts in communication and media studies at the University of Montevallo in 1981. He also began working as an actor in local stage productions. He joined the Screen Actors Guild in 1983 while filming "Rebel Love" in the Birmingham area. He got his break with the role of attorney and City Council member Ted Marcus in 24 episodes of the NBC drama series "In the Heat of the Night", which was followed by a lead role in the 1997 HBO film Miss Evers' Boys. He also played Detective Stern in the 1999 film Fight Club, Coach Hanna in Jeepers Creepers 2 (2003), and Slim's father in Queen & Slim (2019).

Gossom founded his own public relations firm , with BellSouth as a client, in 1987. In 1995 he partnered with sportscaster Matt Coulter as color analyst for the Birmingham Barracudas broadcast team.

Gossom and his wife, Joyce were married in 1997. They merged their respective firms into Best Gurl Inc. in 2004, providing strategy and communications consulting services. He and fellow actor John Nixon co-created the "Speak of Me As I Am" oral history program for Birmingham City Schools. In 2016 he chaired the $1 billion "Because This Is Auburn" capital campaign for his alma mater. In 2019 he was presented with the the Auburn University Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Gossoms reside in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. Their son Dixson Gossom is a hip-hop artist.


  • Gossom, Thom Jr (2008) Walk-On: My Reluctant Journey to Integration at Auburn University. State Street Press
  • Gossom, Thom Jr (2016) The Slice Of Life Collection. Aquarius Press
  • Gossom, Thom Jr () "Speak of Me As I Am" (stage play)


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