NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - The 2020 Nacogdoches Film Festival brings in visitors from all over the country, but none may be more recognizable than the world champion boxer, pastor, and entrepreneur George Foreman.
Foreman visited the Fredonia Hotel Friday morning ahead of the screening of a film about his life, which was produced by a Stephen F. Austin State University student.
Many fans of Foreman’s may not know that several of his five sons attended SFA.
“Nacogdoches is an important town for me,” Foreman recalled. “It was [here] that I drove back my uncle to Longview once, and I looked over to the left at Highway 59, and I said to him, ‘I’ve got to get a place here.’”
Foreman said the scenery in Nacogdoches inspired him to buy a country home in Marshall, the city where he was born and often goes to as an adult to get away from the big city of Houston.
“SFA is the best-kept secret in Texas, really. People don’t know what a great school we have right in our midst. People think, oh I need to travel [there]. No, you need to travel here and see this school. Great education, great instructors, professors, and a great facility."
Foreman originally visited Nacogdoches Friday to speak to a class about sports entrepreneurship. The man behind the Foreman line of grills and cookware explained he’s working on a new pain-relief formula that he said will suit his customer base in a way others in the market don’t at the moment.
More than help others, though, Foreman said he’s always trying to come up with something that will keep him active -- mentally and physically.
“As long as I’m alive, I can do something. If I stop doing things, maybe somebody will write one of those obituaries, and I don’t want one of those,” Foreman laughed. “I’ve got to keep active.”
He said he’s also hoping to learn a thing or two from the students he speaks with.
“I think probably they’ll share things with me, because there’s a way of doing questions and answers, and I’ll get a chance to find out something,” Foreman said. “Once I hear a question, I’ll say 'Hmm, I better find out something about this. [But] I’ll share what I’ve done with my life; I’ve had an adventure."
Another thing that’s important to Foreman is his faith. He’s been a minister for the past 42 years of his life, and he can’t remember a time when he didn’t have God in his corner.
“I don’t know how I made it in my years beforehand without my faith in God,” Foreman recalled. “When you get punched in the face -- POW! -- and you don’t have God in your corner, there’s no telling what would’ve happened to me. I would’ve run down the street screaming.”
Foreman plans on sharing many aspects of his life during 'An Interview with George Foreman’, on the second night of the Nacogdoches Film Festival. David Stallings, a graduate from Nacogdoches High School and former Golden Glove boxer, will interview Foreman. The program will include a short video produced by SFA film student Armando Silvas.
“He’s going to do most of the talking,” Stallings joked. “It’s just so interesting to talk to him, we’ve been friends for a long time and I’m really excited about this.”
For more information, you can visit the Nacogdoches Film Festival site for ticket prices and other information. The film festival runs through Saturday, Feb. 22.