Former KSU royalty reflect on reign

Michael Lewis

Senior history major Jenny Tabatabaie is crowned Homecoming queen at the football game last season.

Credit: Steve Schirra



What: Homecoming coronation

Where: Dix Stadium

When: Half-time of the Kent State vs. Miami University football game

What else: Student vote helpsdetermine the King and Queen among the court members. Voting started yesterday at 8 a.m. on Web for Students and will continue until 4 p.m. tomorrow


When Demetric Shaw attended Kent State, he considered himself the “King of Kent” – for a year, that is.

Shaw, who was chosen as Homecoming King in 2001, graduated a year later with a degree in biology. Since then, he’s traveled the world playing basketball, but he still remembers his year wearing the crown.

“When I was called back to pass the crown on, I truly felt like I was part of a legacy,” he said.

That tradition will continue this weekend at Dix Stadium, as Jennifer Tabatabaie and Teddy Wenger III will step down as Homecoming Queen and King. They will relinquish the honor as students watch the coronation of the next Kent State King and Queen.

Serving as Homecoming King or Queen is a leadership position on campus. Three months before he or she passes the crown on, most graduate and move on, finding jobs and pursuing dreams.

Tabatabaie said when she was crowned, she realized her time here meant something special, that all she had done did not go unnoticed. The people, she said, molded her into who she is today.

Pursuing kingly dreams

Wenger, the current Homecoming King, graduated in May with a degree in electronic media production. Currently, he works at Tarulli Video Production, Inc. in Dover, Ohio, as an executive assistant and production assistant.

“When I heard my name announced at the Homecoming football game, I wanted to laugh, cry and thank God all at once,” Wenger said.

Ryan Perry, the 2003 Homecoming King, graduated with a degree in finance in 2004. Right now, he lives and works in Pasadena, Calif., for Western Asset Management Company. Perry said he was completely surprised when he was crowned king.

“I felt awful the following year because I didn’t get to come back to crown Teddy Wenger, my fraternity brother,” Perry said. “It was awesome, though, that Sigma Chi had two consecutive Homecoming Kings!”

Shaw, the 2001 King, is now playing professional basketball in Poland with a team called Astoria Bydoszcz. He traveled the globe professionally, playing in more than five countries. During his journey, he trained with some NBA teams and played against some NBA All Stars such as Steve Nash, Tim Duncan and Tracy McGrady. He still plans on attending medical school on his scholarships.

Like a fairy tale

The 2002 Homecoming Queen was Nicole Eberle, who graduated with a degree in advertising in December 2003. Now, she works at Doner Advertising in downtown Cleveland, where she handles print ads and brochures as an account associate for the ADT Security Services account. When she became Homecoming Queen, there was no vote. The court drew roses and whoever got the odd rose, out of six roses, became Queen.

“I remember opening up the package, seeing the white rose and not believing that the flower was actually white,” Eberle said. “I looked at the other girls in disbelief, and the girl beside me said, ‘Nicole, you have the white rose; hold it up!’ The expression on my face was priceless.

“After I opened the rose, I walked to the center of the field and the 2001 Homecoming King, Demetric Shaw, put the sash around me and placed the crown on my head,” she said. “It was like a fairy tale. I will never forget my years at Kent State and what an honor it was to be Homecoming Queen.”

Contact enterprise reporter Michael Lewis at [email protected].