“Walk-On is for all those people who’ve ever walked on to anything, who decided they wanted to do something and set their minds to do it. Maybe they were uninvited. Maybe the odds were against them. Maybe they got knocked down, but they got up and they achieved.”
Thom Gossom Jr.
A gifted athlete and good student, Gossom was accepted to Auburn University in 1970 and forever left the comfort of his segregated hometown boyhood to enter a world of privilege that was just starting to grapple with desegregation. Loneliness, anger, jealousy and overt racism awaited him on and off the football field.
As Gossom fought for his place on the team and on campus he became a part of the movement to make the world a better place for those who were to come after him and in doing so, became a part of history.
Quotes & Reviews
Thom was another kind of hero a true and courageous leader of men, intelligent and big enough to love a place that didn't always love him back. This memoir is about football, yes, but mostly it is about who we all were back then, when changes were coming fast and furious, dramatically sorting out the sheep and the goats, the heroes and the cowards. Thom Gossom writes beautifully and honestly.”
Rheta Grimsley Johnson
Novelist, Syndicated Newspaper Columnist
“Thom Gossom has captured the mood, the feel, the isolation and loneliness of being a cultural pioneer in the world of Southern football integration.”
Rev. James Owens
Auburn’s first Black football player
“Thom has written a memoir that captures the beginning of one of the biggest cultural changes that the southern sports landscape has experienced.”
Heisman Trophy Winner-Auburn
Head Football Coach Samford University
…Walk-On is at once insightful, heartrending and hilarious. … Walk-On rises above time, place and sports, and becomes inspiration for anyone to grab hold of a dream and fly.
Golden Globe Winning- Actress
"There have been many books written about Auburn Football, but without question, the best and finest book written about Auburn Football is Thom Gossom's "Walk-On."
"Without question..." Walk-On is one of the finest, most touching pieces of work I've ever read. I laughed, I cried, I felt warm all over and at times my heart ached, sometimes all at the same time...what a wonderful piece of work. What a story Thom has to tell and how wonderful and movingly he has told it.
Former Auburn Athletic Director
Director and Journalism Professor
“The story is equally compelling for sports lovers and cultural historians—and it is a story shared by one with rare insight and understanding of himself and his times.”
William Michael Warren
CEO Childrens’ Health System of Alabama