Metro Sports Authority Director Emmett Edwards, 1953-2012

Emmett Edwards. Credit Gary Layda/Metro Government of Nashville

A man who for decades held positions just outside the spotlight in state and Metro government has died. Emmett Edwards was 59 years old.

Edwards was a voracious reader and a fly fisherman who grew up in the West Tennessee town of Covington. He graduated in his high school’s first integrated class and went on to student leadership positions at UT Martin. Edwards had a hand in putting on the 1982 Knoxville World’s Fair and was the University of Tennessee system’s first black trustee.

Over the course of his career in government, Edwards worked in the state department of education and labor and on Nashville’s economic development team. Al Gore hired Edwards as an advisor during the 2000 presidential campaign, and Mayor Karl Dean made him executive director of the sports authority.

Emmett Edwards succumbed Monday to complications from lung cancer. A longtime friend, state senator Roy Herron, says he died in the hospital surrounded by family.

Services will be held Thursday in Nashville and Covington. Visitation is Wednesday evening and Thursday morning at Metropolitan Interdenominational Church in Nashville.

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