PRESERVING HISTORY & LEGACIES
Track (and Field) is Alive and Well
Super Scout, Super Person
The Class of 2021 roll call is impressive: Charles WOODSON, Michigan; Drew PEARSON, Tulsa; Peyton MANNING, Tennessee; John LYNCH, Stanford; Calvin JOHNSON, Georgia Tech; Tom FLORES, Pacific; and Alan FANECA, Louisiana State. Perhaps none are more interesting than Bill NUNN, the “Super Scout” of his time with the Pittsburgh Steelers during their dynasty years of the 1970s. Highly respected, Bill Nunn was a true trailblazer.
West Virginia State College
Senior Scout, Assistant Director of Player Personnel Pittsburgh Steelers 1968-2014 (46 years)
Before William “Bill” G. Nunn, Jr. became a renowned sportswriter and super scout in the National Football League, he had already been a part of an amazing experience.
Nunn was a stand-out basketball player on a very talented West Virginia State team that went 26-0 in his senior season. He played alongside future NBA Hall of Famers Chuck Cooper and Earl Lloyd.
Nunn was recruited by the Harlem Globetrotters but decided to pursue a career in the newspaper business.
He joined his father, William Nunn, Sr. at the Pittsburgh Courier, one of the top Black newspapers in the country. He worked as a sportswriter and eventually took over the managing editor desk in the 1960s.
Nunn joined the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1967 as a part-time scout and was instrumental in building the Steelers’ dynasty of the 1970s. Some of his Black college draftees: JOHN STALLWORTH (Alabama A&M), MEL BLOUNT (Southern), DONNIE SHELL (South Carolina State), L.C. GREENWOOD (Arkansas AM&N), and ERNIE HOLMES (Texas Southern)…(three are in the Hall also). He had a knack for finding other small college talents like JACK LAMBERT at Kent State University.
Honors: Nunn is a member of the Inaugural Class of the Black College Football Hall of Fame. He was enshrined in the Steelers’ Hall of Honor in 2018.
Class of 2020
Harold CARMICHAEL, Wide Receiver, Southern University Winston HILL, Tackle, Texas Southern Donnie SHELL, Safety, South Carolina State
A CELEBRATION of BLACK COLLEGE HISTORY in SPORTS
[Enlarge video for full view]
At Delaware State University’s 1985 homecoming football game, John Taylor, the Hornets star wide receiver/punt returner/kickoff returner put on a show to remember. It was just one of many performances which made him the third-round draft pick of the San Francisco 49ers in the 1986 NBA Draft, which was ranked by ESPN as the 25th Greatest NFL Draft Steal
of all time.
Taylor played for the 49ers from 1987 to 1995 and maybe best known for catching the winning 10-yard touchdown pass from Joe Montana during the final seconds of Super Bowl XXIII in 1989. See John
1868 HAMPTON INSTITUTE
…founded by Gen. Samuel A. Armstrong, Superintendent of the Freedmen’s Bureau of the Ninth District of Virginia, in association with the American Missionary Association.
1955 TEXAS SOUTHERN
The Tigers, led by head coach ED ADAMS, made the first appearance by a Black college in the NAIA National Invitational Tournament.
1958 TENNESSEE STATE A&I
…won their second NAIA Men’s National Basketball Championshipled by MVP Dick Barnett. The Tigers defeated Western Illinois, 85-73.
1961 GRAMBLING COLLEGE
Head coach Fred Hobdy, MVP Charles Hardnett, and All-All-American center Willis Reed led the Tigers to the NAIA Men’s Basketball Championship with a 95-75 victory over Georgetown, KY.
CENTRAL STATE, OHIO
The Marauders won the first of their two NAIA titles, led by All-American and 1965 MVP center Ken Wilburn, defeating Oklahoma Baptist, 85-51. In 1968, the Marauders won a close game over Fairmont State, VA, 51-48.
Led by All-Americans Travis Grant and Elmore Smith, the Thorobreds recorded the second triple consecutive championships in NAIA history with victories over Central Washington, 79-71; (1971) 102-82 over Eastern Michigan; (1972) 71-62 over Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Grant was named MVP in 1971 and ’72.
1977 TEXAS SOUTHERN
The first Black college to make an appearance in the NAIA tournament in 1955 became the last Black college to win the prestigious title. The Tigers defeated Campbell College, NC, 71-44 behind head coach Ed Adams and All-American Alonza Bradley.
1894 HOWARD UNIVERSITY
The Bison defeated
Kendall College, 6-1 in the first interracial college baseball game.
1957 TENNESSEE STATE A&I
…became the first Black college to win the NAIA Men’s Basketball Tournament with a 92-73 defeat of Southeast Oklahoma State. They were led by Hall of Fame coach John B. McLendon, Jr. and 3x All-Americans Dick Barnett and John Barnhill.
1959 TENNESSEE STATE A&I
The Tigers won their third straight NAIA Men’s National Basketball Championship, led by Tournament MVP Dick Barnett and head coach John B. McLendon, Jr. They overcame Pacific Lutheran, 97-87.
1962 PRAIRIE VIEW A&M
The Panthers followed Grambling with their first
NAIA Men’s NAIA title.
All-America center and Chuck Taylor MVP Zelmo Beatty led the Panthers to a 62–53 victory over Westminster (PA)
1969 MARYLAND STATE
Behind MVPJake Ford, the Hawks made it to the NAIA Tournament Championship Game, but fell to Eastern New Mexico, 99-76 in the Finals.
1976 COPPIN STATE …captured their first NAIA championship as head coach Ron “Fang” Mitchell and MVP Joe Pace led the Eagles to a 96-91 win over Henderson State, AR.
1981 KENTUCKY STATE (WOMEN’S)
The Lady Thorobreds defeated Texas Southern, 73-67 in the Finals to capture their first national championship. It was the first meeting of two Black college women’s teams in the tournament.
1988 CLAFLIN COLLEGE
Miriam Walker, the top scorer in the NAIA and MVP, led the Lady Panthers to the finals and a loss to top-seeded Oklahoma State, 113-95. They were coached by Hall of Famer Nelson Brownlee.
HAMPTON INSTITUTE was founded by Gen. Samuel A. Armstrong, Superintendent of the Freedmen’s Bureau of the Ninth District of Virginia in association with the American Missionary Association to establish the school.