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Preserving History & Legacies

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Black College Football history is filled with dynastic performances by premier stars, coaches and legendary teams, coupled with concise historical records, chronicles and some of the most memorable moments in sports.

Revisit the great performances …Select a link below to get started...
Champions/Dynasties  ◊  Hall of Fame  ◊  Records

Eddie, John and Jake...

He would make his rounds at sunrise every morning with a wake up call...coaxing and cajoling his young student athletes about the importance of making it to class on time. No excuses, no pardons. And 408 victories later, Eddie Robinson is revered for his dedication to his young charges and to his professions- football and education. And in the end, he helped elevate Grambling University to the heights they never imagined they could achieve. In his own words: “People could never realize the joy it is to sit at commencement and see those guys walk across the stage …You’ve seen them play, you know from whence they come, and you see them go, and you see them leave with a degree.”

Jake Gaither once said "There is no place in the life of my people for mediocre performances.. They talk about building character. If building character means losing, then I don't want anything to do with it. I can build more character winning than any man can (by) losing." And in his twenty-five years as head coach at Florida A&M, he demonstrated how it took to be a leader, mentor and father figure, as witnessed by the legion of Rattlers who keep his legacy alive. Between these three men, they had 844 victories, sent hundreds of players to the pro leagues and demonstrated to countless others how to become the ultimate professionals in every walk of live. They represent a multitude of coaches, teachers, administrators and supporters who made the sacrifices to elevate their own. They are the ones who help make Black college football.
Legends are written by those who leave an indelible footprint on the game, the people whose lives they touch and their insatiable desire to succeed. John A. Merritt is revered in college football by the numbers- the ones he amassed as a winning coach at Tennessee State University...the numerous championships and players who lives were made better by the principles he instilled in them. He even had a poem written for him:
The greatest Tiger of them all...
Was somewhere on the scene...
Instilling courage and confidence...
Accepting no ‘in-between’...
There’s no battle that can’t be won...
There’s no job that can’t be done…
(From the poem, ‘Big John Merritt, by Richard Rene’ Ross)
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Coaches    Hall of Fame     Champions

Walter, Jerry, Michael...

They walked onto campus with two purposes - get an education and play football. By the time they hung up their cleats, they enjoyed the thrill of competition and lefet at the top of their game- all are Pro Football Hall of Fame members. Many of their peers went on to have impressive careers in sports as well as in business, medicine and education- while filling the need to foster goodwill and earn a living. They may have been overlooked, underestimated and denied an opportunity to perform at the predominately-white schools, and landed at a historically-black college. But, all it did was fuel their desire to prove they belong. Others may not be as recognizable as their Hall of Fame counterparts, but they were stars in their own right and shared successful careers. Enjoy their climatic moments on the gridiron and applaud their off the field achievements.

Most Memorable Moments    Champions     Game Changers    Records     Hall of Fame


THIS MONTH IN BLACK COLLEGE SPORTS HISTORYAugust 14, 1876    Prairie View A&M became the first state supported Black College in the State of Texas…August 28, 1971  First Televised Black College Football Game aired on ABC-TV…the Whitney M. Young Classic, Yankee Stadium…Morgan State vs. Grambling State…The Golden Bears defeated the Tigers, 9-7


 

A Trailblazer ...

Fred “Pop” Long
One of the most admired and decorated early leaders in Black College football, "Pop" Long's ledger looks like this: a star athlete at Millikin University, he was their first Black graduate in 1918. He became an outfielder for the Detroit Stars of the newly formed Negro National League from 1920-25. His football coaching career at began at Paul Quinn College (1921-1922), Wiley College from 1923-47. He coached at Prairie View A&M University in 1948 and at Texas College from 1949-55 before returning to Wiley which lasted from 1956-65. His overall record in 45 years: 227–151–31. Long was inducted into the NAIA, Texas Black Sports, SWAC Hall of Fame and was posthumously honored with the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) 2009 Trailblazer Award in 2010.
see more Leaders...

#47 on ESPN's SportCentury 50 Greatest Athletes

Setting the Tone...
One of the unbelievable stories emanating from the track and field world was about a Olympic star Edwin Moses who (with his college teammates) had to train on high school track fields around Atlanta, Ga. because his college didn't have adequate facilities. In contrast to the full armada of training sites, medical resources and financial support available today, it pales in the straights of reality.
Moses went to Morehouse College on an academic scholarship and majored in physics and industrial engineering, while competing for the Maroon Tigers track team. Moses competed in the 120-yard hurdles and 440-yard dash, but found his niche in the 400m hurdles, and propelled himself into the spotlight in March 1976, when he qualified for the U.S. team in the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal. This began his 10-year dominance in the 400m hurdles from 1976-86. In his first Olympic meet, Moses won the gold medal while setting a world record of 47.63 seconds. In all, Moses won two Olympic Gold medals (and a bronze), two World Champions and 3 IAAF World Cup and a gold in the Goodwill Games  in 1986. His tally for his career included 122 consecutive races.
Moses was instrumental in reforming international and Olympic eligibility rules

and creating the Athletes Trust Fund. Among his many accolades, Moses was the1980 Track & Field News Athlete of the Year. In 1981, he became the first recipient of USA Track & Field's Jesse Owens Award as outstanding U.S. track and field performer. He received the AAU's James E. Sullivan Award as outstanding amateur athlete in the United States in 1983, and the ABC's Wide World of Sports Athlete of the Year in 1984.  He shared Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year with American gymnast Mary Lou Retton in 1984, and took the Athlete's Oath for the 1984 Summer Olympics.
After his retirement from track, Moses showed his competitive versatility when he competed in a 1990 World Cup bobsled race at Winterberg, Germany where he and long-time US Olympian Brian Shimer won the two-man bronze medal.
Moses received an MBA from Pepperdine University in 1994 and was inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame.   Moses has chaired the Laureus World Sports Academy since election in 2000, which seeks to promote and increase participation in sport at every level, and to promote the use of sport as a tool for social change around the world.
In May 2009, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Massachusetts -Boston for his efforts in promoting Olympic sports and sports as a tool for positive social change.