Synopsis by Hal Erickson
This BET network documentary series chronicles a single semester in the lives of Grambling State University's celebrated football team (the Tigers) and marching band (the Mighty Tigers). The principal focus is on the footballers' tough, uncompromising head coach Melvin Spears; the equally exacting and demanding bandleader "Doc," and five students drawn from the combined 225 members of both teams. Mancel, a white saxophone player, was kicked off the series and out of Grambling early on because of drug charge; Eva was the only girl on the band's drum-line, and was understandably shy and sensitive; Blue was a walk-on football running back, the resident "gridiron clown," and a single father; Bruce was the star quarterback, weighed down by the fact that his dad was in jail and his family had lost virtually everything in Hurricane Katrina; and Shunnie was the band's master drill sergeant. Giving the series much of its dramatic thrust were the lofty academic standards demanded by Grambling of band members and football players alike; the rigorous training schedule, which could begin as early as four a.m. and extended well past midnight; and the utter refusal of everyone involved -- faculty, student and parent alike -- to accept failure or weakness. Season of the Tiger premiered April 27, 2006.