PRESERVING HISTORY & LEGACIES
Div. I Champions 1984
Clarence “Bighouse” Gaines
Winston Salem State University
Div. II Champions 1967
Setting the Record Straight
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.
John B. McLendon, Jr.
Tennessee A&I University
Coach of the Year 1958
Kentucky State University
Coach of the Year 1971
Lou Brock: A National Treasure (June 18, 1939 - Sept. 6, 2020)
It has been 41 years since Lou Brock hung up his cleats and thirty-five years since hs induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
In one of the most fabulous careers in any sport, he exemplified a life that embraced his professional art and service to his community.
Born into poverty on June 18, 1939 during the rising tide of World War II, the lad from El Dorado, Arkansas grew up picking cotton on a plantation. Back in those days, life was simple and there was little exposure to the outside pressures of the world. His passion was following the exploits of his heroes – Jackie Robinson, Don Newcombe and Roy Campanella -three All-Star Negroes on his favorite team, the Brooklyn Dodgers. Although with limited training and resources, he managed to play high school baseball and was offered a chance to play for head coach Bob Lee at Southern University in Baton Rouge, LA.
A CELEBRATION of BLACK COLLEGE HISTORY in SPORTS
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 forward Jervaughn Scales, Leonard White and freshman guard Terry Thames.
Ben Jobe, Head Coach
Jervaughn Scales, Forward
Terry Thames, Guard
THIS MONTH IN HISTORY
Morehouse College founded as Augusta College in the basement of Springfield Baptist Church in Augusta, Georgia, and relocated to Atlanta in 1879.
Notables: Dr. Martin L. King, Edwin Moses, Julian Bond, Donn Clendenon, Spike Lee, Samuel Jackson, Maynard Jackson
Natchez Seminary (Jackson State University) founded by the American Baptist Home Mission Society of New York and moved to Jackson, MS in 1882, and renamed Jackson College.
Notables: Walter Payton, Rod Paige, Lem Barney, Robert Brazile, Jackie Slater, Coy Bacon, Archie Cooley, Lindsey Hunter.
Florida A&M University founded as the State Normal College for Colored Students.
Notables: Althea Gibson, Bob Hayes, Ken Riley, Vince Coleman, Willie Galimore, Nat Adderley, Marquis Grissom, Meadowlark Lemon, Clemon Johnson, Eugene Milton.
Johnson C. Smith University organized its First Men’s Basketball Team.
Notables: Fred “Curly” Neal, Eddie McGirt, Earl Manigault, Shermaine Williams, Twiggy Sanders, Richard Spencer, Vincent Matthews, Henry Hill, Pettis Norman, Calvin Grover
First All-Black District 29 organized by the NAIA in the first step towards breaking the color barrier in college basketball. Al O. Duer, the executive secretary of the NAIA accepted the petition of the Black Coaches Steering Committee which led to the integration of the national basketball tournament. John B. McLendon, Jr. led the Tennessee State A&I Tigers to three consecutive championships in 1957, ’58 and ’59. Notables: Dick Barnett, John Barnhill
Circle City Classic was established in Indianapolis, Indiana as an annual football classic featuring two HBCUs and became one of the most successful events in HBCU history. The first contest was a wild shootout won by Mississippi Valley State 48 – 36 over Grambling State before a crowd of over 60,000 fans.