BLACK COLLEGE SPORTS HISTORY & LEGENDS

PRESERVING HISTORY & LEGACIES

Setting the Record Straight

John thompson

John Thompson
Georgetown University
Div. I Champions 1984

Bighouse Gaines

Clarence “Bighouse” Gaines
Winston Salem State University
Div. II Champions  1967

John B. McLendon, Jr.

John B. McLendon, Jr.
Tennessee A&I University
3x NAIA Champions

Lucias Mitchell
Kentucky State University
3x NAIA Champions

John Thompson was one of those bigger than life characters in sports. He became the first African American head basketball coach to win the NCAA Division I championship when he led the Georgetown Hoyas to the title in 1984.
He was a central figure in the fight for change against academic bias relating to Proposition 48 along with John Chaney, a Black college alumni and head coach who gained prominence at Temple University.
When announcing his passing recently, the media proclaimed he was the first African American head coach to win a national title (later corrected). That struck a chord within the Black college community because it gave the impression no other black coach had ever achieved this. But, pure historians will quickly offer an amendment that has historical proportions to back them.
First, let us be clear: before the 1950’s, few black players were even allowed to play at major colleges and it took a monumental effort by black colleges to force their way into the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).
The NCAA permitted black players on white teams, but did not admit black colleges. But, the tide changed dramatically in the 1966 championship game when an integrated Texas Western team trounced the powerful Kentucky team with an all-black starting lineup.
Meanwhile, Black college teams were proving their championship merits in the NAIA.      
READ MORE 

In Memoriam

William C. Gorden (June 30, 1930 – October 23, 2020) 

From 1976 to 1991, W.C. Gordon became one of the most prolific coaches in the Southwestern Athletic Conference. He forged a championship era at Jackson State while competing against some of the most formidable programs and coaches, namely Eddie Robinson and Grambling, Marino Casem and Alcorn State, Archie Cooley and Mississippi Valley State and Houston Markham and Alabama State.
Gorden compiled a career record of 119-48-5. His Tigers dominated the conference during the eighties, winning eight SWAC titles – four in a row from 1985- and played in  nine NCAA Division 1-AA semifinal games- although all ended in losses.
Gordon played football at Tennessee State University before joining the football staff as an assistant coach in 1966. He was asked to take the head coaching reins during the 1976 season that ended dismally. From 1977 -79, the Tigers finished behind Grambling in the conference but finally went on a three year run at the top of the SWAC. During the 1980s, Jackson State won 28 straight SWAC games and only had one losing season (1984). They regained their swagger as they put together an impressive streak of No. 1 finishes and 6th consecutive NCAA Division 1-AA playoff appearances.
They were the only SWAC team to beat Eddie Robinson and Grambling State four consecutive years.
Under Gordon leadership, the Jackson State University football team, led the nation in football attendance in Division I-AA from 1983-1994 (11 straight years).
The Tigers achieved the highest average for attendance in Division I-AA history when it averaged 38,873 fans in 1977.
In 1980-81, the first NCAA comprehensive graduation rate scorecard had JSU the leader in the state of Mississippi with a 61.9% graduation rate (followed by the University of Mississippi with a 45% graduation rate among football players).
By the 1981-82 season, JSU had 21 former student-athletes playing in the NFL, which was among the top five schools producing professional football players in the nation.  READ MORE 

(Above) Walter Payton; (Below) Jackie Slater

slater,jackie.jackson.state.2

A CELEBRATION of BLACK COLLEGE HISTORY in SPORTS

BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS

Legendary Moments

The rest of the country probably never heard of Ben Jobe, the head basketball coach of Southern University -Baton Rouge, but in the Southwestern Athletic Conference they knew the mastermind behind one of the most entertaining men’s basketball teams in the nation. And in the 1993 NCAA tournament, they made a statement that announced their arrival on the big stage.
In the first round Southern University was the 13th seed in the West Region which meant they would be offered up to the no.4 seeded Georgia Tech Bulldogs, and they pulled off on of three major upsets that day as they upset the Bulldogs, 93-78. No. 15 Santa Clara, led by Steve Nash beat No. 2 seed Arizona and No. 12 George Washington defeated No. 5 New Mexico. (GW defeated Southern in the second round, 90-80).
Jobe, a highly respected basketball mind crafted the Jaguars into one of the highest scoring teams led by a talented group including all-American forwards Jervaughn Scales, Leonard White and freshman guard Terry Thames.

SEE MORE          Also  VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS

Ben Jobe, Southern

Ben Jobe, Head Coach

Jervaughn Scales, Forward

Terry Thames, Southern

Terry Thames, Guard

jervaughn Scales, Southern

NEW! BOOKSHELF CORNER

Catch up on your reading with this exciting collection of HBCU early history and game-changing events!                                                  SEE MORE

THIS MONTH IN HISTORY

1901

Grambling State University opened as the Colored Industrial and Agricultural School…founded by the North Louisiana Colored Agriculture Relief Association (organized in 1896 by a group of African-American farmers who wanted to organize and operate a school for African Americans in their region of the state). Charles P. Adams was the first president.

Grambling State

1919

HOWARD UNIVERSITY and LINCOLN UNIVERSITY of PENNSYLVANIA played a THANKSGIVING DAY CLASSIC. 

1924

MAGIC CITY CLASSIC The first football game between Alabama A&M and Alabama State became an annual tradition in post-war 1945 at Legion Field in Birmingham (Alabama State leads the series 42–39–3. The series began on October 31 and ASU  defeated AAM, 30-0. See Classics

1928

FIRST BLACK COLLEGE HOMECOMING GAME was played between Howard University and Virginia Union University.

1948

MARYLAND STATE COLLEGE and Albright College played one of the first intercollegiate football game between an historically black institution and a majority-white institution.

1948

ALICE COACHMAN, a protégé’ of Tuskegee Institute head coach Cleve Abbott was the first African American woman to win an Olympic Gold Medal. She won the High Jump event with a leap of 5’6”.

Alice Coachman, Tuskegee

1956

MILDRED McDANIEL was the second Tuskegee star to win an Olympic Gold Medal. She won the High Jump event with a 5’9 ¼ leap.

Mildred McDaniels, Tuskegee

Jackson State: 1968 Milestone

Despite the fact that Jackson State went 3-6 in their regular season, the Tigers sent 11 players to the National Football League, (which was a record at the time for most players selected in an NFL draft in a single season from a school in the state of Mississippi).
They were coached by Rod Paige who went on to become the United States Secretary of Education in the George W. Bush administration. 

Tom Funches
John Outlaw
Sidney Ellis
Jimmy Smith
Doug Chatman
Harold Jackson
Cephus Jackson
Edgar Whipps
Willie Turner
Jimmie Holifield
James Jackson

OT
DB
DB
TE
DE
WR
DB
OT
RB
DB
OT

Boston Patriots
Boston Patriots
Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati Bengals
New York Giants
Los Angeles Rams
Los Angeles Rams
Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns
New York Giants
Baltimore Colts

First Tigers in Post-Season Classics

North-South All-Star Game
Willie Richardson, WR 1963
College All-Star Game
Willie Richardson, WR 1963
Blue Gray Game
Lem Barney, DB       1966