Thomas Gatewood was an NFL wide receiver drafted by the New York Giants in the fifth round of 1972 draft, after attending Notre Dame for college football.
Gatewood held Notre Dame’s all-time receptions record until Jeff Samardzija and Rhema McKnight overtook him in 2006. Gatewood also helped lead two Irish teams that participated in Texas’ Cotton Bowl game against Notre Dame.
Early Life and Education
Gatewood was an accomplished student-athlete at Notre Dame, holding almost every receiving record in program history and being honored twice as academic All-American. However, his mission remained clear.
He spoke out passionately against poverty and injustice, working as a messenger for the city controller’s office to carry cash, receipts, and official documents entrusted to him by cashiers and mailroom workers. A man of great integrity.
Law enforcement officials discovered the unresponsive body of Gatewood’s daughter on May 8, 2023 at their family’s residence and later confirmed her death at Sedgewick County Jail. A 51-year-old suspect has since been charged with first-degree murder, four counts of aggravated kidnapping, three counts of child abuse, and endangerment – remaining behind bars at Sedgewick County Jail until trial begins in August. One neighbor, Josh Menke noted how this tragedy had devastated their entire community.
Gatewood, who holds Notre Dame’s career receiving record of 157 catches, was honored with induction into the College Football Hall of Fame this year. He remains actively engaged with his former team’s program and frequently returns to South Bend to play catch with them all again.
Gatewood used education as his top priority when choosing his college. At Notre Dame, he excelled both on the field and in the classroom – earning spots on each Dean’s List semester he attended. Outside the classroom, Gatewood served on the advisory board for Healthy Children, Healthy Futures initiative as well as volunteering with Minority Athletes Networking Etc. Additionally, he owns and is President of advertising specialty company Blue Atlas Productions as well as co-owns Larkspur Lane Ltd, a television production firm.
Achievement and Honors
Thomas Gatewood served as military commandant of the White Mountain Indian Reservation and showed great integrity and respect for Apaches while risking his life to pursue Geronimo and his band of Apache warriors. Unfortunately, however, General Nelson Miles wanted his 6th U.S. Cavalry regiment all of the credit for forcing their surrender.
Gatewood never prioritized football over all else in his life; at Notre Dame he made both on and off-field contributions that earned him honors like making Dean’s List each semester or being honored as two-time All-American and being inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
Gatewood distinguished himself at Notre Dame by not seeking fame or notoriety; instead he used football primarily as a means to an end and his time there proved fruitful in that regard, with him making every Dean’s List and twice receiving first-team CoSIDA Academic All-America recognition.
As a graduate of the university, he was an invaluable member of his community. He served on the advisory board of ‘Healthy Children, Healthy Futures’ initiative and as volunteer with Minority Athletes Networking Etc.
In May 2023, he was arrested in Sedgwick County on 11 charges, including first-degree murder, four counts of aggravated kidnapping, three counts of child abuse, and one count of aggravated child endangerment. He remains in Sedgwick County Jail in lieu of $250,000 bond.
After the death of his daughter, Gatewood is currently facing numerous criminal charges including first-degree murder, kidnapping and child abuse. He is being held at Sedgewick County Jail until his next court date.
Gatewood was an unassuming figure who rarely showed emotion on the football field or displayed any bravado; yet, he became one of the premier receivers in college football.
Beginning his acting career in 2000 with a role in Wonder Boys as Howard, he went on to appear in various television series such as CSI: Miami and Lincoln Heights as well as movies such as The Interpreter and Barbershop: The Next Cut before joining The Originals as Finn Mikaelson/Vincent Griffith in 2014.