BLACK COLLEGE SPORTS HISTORY & LEGENDS

Preserving History & Legacies

Penn Relays: Black Colleges Reigned Supreme

Since 1895, the oldest and largest track and field competition in the United States is the Penn Relays. The annual event held in April is held on University of Pennsylvania’s Franklin Field in Philadelphia. It has 116 events which attracts more than 15,000 participants competing in more than 300 events over five days. They come from high schools, colleges, and track clubs throughout North America and abroad.
Overtime, the event has been credited with popularizing the running of relay races and the attendance typically tops 100,000.
DID YOU KNOW?
Black colleges made their debut in 1941 when the Xavier University Gold Rush men’s captured the 4X100 championship. The squad consisted of Herbert Douglas, Howard Mitchell, Clarence Doak, Edward Culp, William Martin and head coaches Giles and Ted Wright.
Read more PENN HIGHLIGHTS

Xavier men’s track championship team 1941

Drake Relays:
America's Athletic Classic

Billed as America’s Athletic Classic, the Drake Relays is regarded as one of the top track and field events in the United States. Originally named Haskins Field, it began in 1910 as a midwest regional event in Des Moines, Iowa.
Tennessee State’s star sprinter Wilma Rudolph competed in the 100 meters when women’s events were added in 1961. Since then, more than 113 former athletes have gone onto compete in the Olympic Games.
Black colleges begin to build a championship pedigree in 1983 when Alabama State won their first relay title.
See the BLACK COLLEGE HIGHLIGHTS

In Memoriam

The Southwest Athletic Conference and Grambling State mourn the passing of three great Tiger legends. 

Billy Manning
 – May 4, 2020

Grambling State

Assistant Football Coach
GSU Hall of Fame

Willie Davis
July 24, 1934 – April 15, 2020

Grambling State

(Green Bay Packers)
SWAC Hall of Fame
Grambling Hall of Fame

Pro Football Hall of Fame

Roosevelt Taylor
July 4, 1937 –May 29, 2020
Grambling State

(Chicago Bears)
SWAC Hall of Fame
Grambling Hall of Fame

Pro Football Hall of Fame

He was the Best of His Era

In the pre-World War II era, Jimmie McDaniel was heralded as the greatest black tennis player. A four-time American Tennis Association singles champion. Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, he attended Manual Arts High School and was offered a track scholarship by Olympian Ralph Metcalfe, who had assumed the role of track and field coach at Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans.
It didn’t take long before he would switch to his first love – tennis. A talented player, he went on to win multiple championships among the then-

segregated ranks of black tennis players in the American Tennis Association (ATA). This was the only sanctioned club that black players could compete in.
One of the highlights of his career came in 1940 when he accepted a challenge against
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A Celebration of Black College History in Sports

BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS

Legendary Moments

In 1983, the Virginia Union Ladly Panthers made women’s basketball history. The 15th-ranked team upset no. 1 ranked (and defending champions) Cal Poly Pomona, 70-63 to earn their first national championship. Led by All-Amewrica center Paris McWhirter and  

THIS MONTH IN HISTORY

1920   SOUTHWESTERN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE …was established. The charter members were: BISHOP COLLEGE. PAUL QUINN COLLEGE, PRAIRIE VIEW A&M, TEXAS COLLEGE and WILEY COLLEGE

1950   JOHN BROWNNORTH CAROLINA COLLEGE ( 1946-49)…was the first CIAA player drafted in the National Football League (Los Angeles Dons)

1950   JOE BUCKHALTER, TENNESSEE STATE (1955-58)became the first Tiger drafted into the National Basketball Association by the St. Louis Hawks in the 12th round…he went on to play for the Cincinnati Royals (1961-63) and later the Harlem Globetrotters.

1961  CLEO HILL, WINSTON-SALEM STATE (1957-61)…was  the 8th overall pick in the first round of the 1961 National Basketball Association draft by the St. Louis Hawks… only the fifth Black college player to be taken in the first round of an NBA draft.

1970,73    WILLIS REED, DICK BARNETT …were key members of the New York Knicks first National Basketball Association championship team in 1969. Reed (GRAMBLING STATE), Barnett (TENNESSEE STATE) and EARL “THE PEARL” MONROE (WINSTON-SALEM STATE) were stars of the 1973 National Basketball Association championship team…the first and only team with three Black college stars in the lineup.

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