Legendary TSU debate coach Dr. Thomas Freeman dead at 100

Legendary Texas Southern University Debate Coach Dr. Thomas Freeman has died.

Dr. Freeman taught and was a guiding presence at the school for 70 years, and coached countless students in the fine-art of debate, leading to scores of national and international awards.

RELATED: Highly regarded TSU debate coach turns 100 years old

During his long and storied career, Freeman advised Houston representatives Mickey Leland and Barbara Jordan, actor Denzel Washington for the film "The Great Debaters", and was also a long-time minister at Houston's Mount Horem Baptist Church. 

TSU Interim President Ken Hewitt released the following statement:

“This is, most definitely, a sad day at Texas Southern University. Dr. Freeman exemplified all that is good about our University. His commitment, first and foremost, to his students, across eight decades of service, is what stands out in my mind as one of his greatest legacies. He offered all that he could in the pursuit of excellence. He expected the best from his students and colleagues, and he knew how to bring it out in everyone around him. The number of lives he influenced is beyond measure, like the stars in the sky.”

A TSU spokesperson says Dr. Freeman was taken from his home in the Riverside Terrace neighborhood, in the Third Ward, to a hospital early Saturday, where he was pronounced dead.

“My father’s life ended peacefully,” said Dr. Carlotta Freeman, daughter of Dr. Thomas F. Freeman. “Our family prefers to focus on the life he lived. We will announce the arrangements soon.”

Dr. Freeman is survived by his wife, Clarice, and would have celebrated a birthday later this month. 

He was 100 years old.