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Mummers' marshal is Olympic gold medalist

October 29, 1998|By KATE COLEMAN

Tate Armstrong says he thought one of his friends was playing a joke on him when he received a letter from Hagerstown inviting him to serve as grand marshal of the 74th Alsatia Mummers' parade.

After talking to members of the Alsatia Club and learning about the tradition of a hometown-all-American-everybody-come-out-to-watch parade, he's honored and excited, and he'll be here Saturday, Oct. 31.

--cont. from lifestyle--

Armstrong was born Michel Taylor Armstrong and says he'll never forgive his mother for using the French spelling that led to his getting in a few skirmishes growing up in Houston. "Tate," using an old family name, attended Duke University on a full basketball scholarship.

He was a member of the Men's gold medal-winning U.S. Olympic Basketball Team in 1976, a critical year, because in the 1972 games, the U.S. had come away without the gold for the first time in history. Armstrong's team regained the gold with seven straight wins.

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He was selected in the first round of the National Basketball Association draft and played two seasons with the Chicago Bulls. He was traded to the San Antonio Spurs for the 1979-1980 season, then signed as a free agent with the New Jersey Nets for '80-81.

Armstrong married his college sweetheart and received a master's degree in business administration from Duke in 1985.

A commercial real estate developer for 13 years, he is president of his own company.

Armstrong has seven children ranging in age from 5 to 16. Yes, he coaches.

"I feel an enormous obligation," he says.

He's happy that his kids are involved in sports, but he'll support them if they lean toward the art side of life.

"In my household, we encourage participation, excellence and the desire to want to be better," he says.

Those are traditional all-American values.

Armstrong should feel at home and have a wonderful time at the parade.

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