Sep. 29, 2018

Bear Booster 2018, Reflecting Back

The last Morgan State College Football historical period of dominance that I can personally remember happened between years of 1962-1968. The  Morgan State Bears, coached by Hame of Famer Earl Banks and his incredible football staff completely dominated the CIAA Conference during this period. Our Morgan State College Bears won 6 CIAA Conference Championships. The team also secured a National Small College Championship. However, there was nothing small about our Morgan State College Bears. In 1966, after ending the year unbeaten and un-scored upon they traveled to Orlando Florida and broke the color line. They beat West Chester State on December 10, 1966. During that period Morgan State College football’s total record in those epic  6 years of college football was an amazing,  50 wins and only  3 losses. Morgan State College simply dominated the black college football scene they eclipsed the great black college football powers of that era teams that included Grambling College, Florida A&M, Tennessee State, Jackson State, Howard, and North Carolina A&T.  It was during that period that they took down both the Florida A&M Rattlers coached by Jake Gaither in 1965 in the most famous bowl game in Black America the Orange Blossom Bowl in 1965. They capped off this period of football domination when Our Morgan State Bears took down the mighty Tigers of Grambling State win Yankee Stadium in 1968. It’s been 50 years since the end that victory in Yankee Stadium. The road to excellence in college football excellence during 1962-1968 was located at the famous Hurt Field, named after the legendary coach and educator Eddie Hurt.  

Oh, since that period there have been some highs in Morgan State College, now Morgan State University’s football history. However, the dominance on a national scale ended just as the integration of blacks into America’s majority white colleges and university’s football programs was beginning. As our great black athletes once segregated away from these football programs were recruited away from our black institutions of higher learning. Some say, and I agree that integration killed black college athletics. I cannot disagree because given a choice between the tremendous resources available at those institutions along with national media coverage. Our poor black colleges and universities hardly stood a chance. Personally, I wished that before we integrated into the majority American population. The states in this nation would’ve been mandated to make black schools truly equal in available resources against those white colleges and universities. Then given choices of equal resources as well as opportunities to compete against these schools. One has to believe that black college athletics would have not only survived but would have prospered.

Morgan State University will be celebrating homecoming this week and I will be reminiscing back to that period of time when our Morgan State College Grizzlies reigned supreme on the field of play. When the odds were stacked against us when it came time to compete. When our young brothers excelled for the love of Morgan State College. When our black communities in Baltimore were honored to be partnered with the greatest college football team in the entire state of Maryland. I just focused on this 6 year period not meaning to exclude the other periods of domination which have occurred at my alma mater. Maybe this period is so close to my heart because during this period of domination on the football fields by Morgan State College. The fraternity I pledged in 1974 was in its infancy having been founded on the steps of Hurt Gymnasium in 1963. It is Grizzly Time again at fair old Morgan. The time when all the alumnus looks back at Morgan Excellence and think ahead for future periods of Morgan Excellence to come.