Oct. 22, 2019
Banks, Gaither, Merritt, & Robinson
Today, I want to do something special by going back to a period of extreme excellence on 4 black college campuses when the doors of opportunity were closed to 4 great generals of the gridiron. These four men were incredible leaders who lead their respective schools to athletic excellence year and year out. I will be posting 5 photos one that includes each coach and the other 4 that will be an individual photo with a significant quote. I hope that you will enjoy my turnback on black historic athletic history.
In a time when any of these men could've major major corporations, or headed athletic departments of major white universities. These coaches were restricted to playing the games under the rules of Jim Crow which limited the opportunities not only available to them but also limited the opportunities available to their coaching staff as well as their players. They had limited budgetary resources, limited financial support from rich alumni, and restricted laws which in many cases allowed for little or no maneuverability like coaches at the white institutions. Yet, time after time these men outpaced the obstacles and developed football players' who excelled on the field of play as well as in their college classrooms.
Eddie Robinson, Jake Gaither, Big John Merritt, and Earl Banks all broke the mold and created dominance for their respected schools. They actually put their schools in the national limelight because of the excellence that they demanded of their staff as well as their players. Even if their players couldn't compete against the white colleges and universities it didn't stop the professional teams from rushing to these schools practices and games to catch a glimpse of future National Football League stars and Hall of Famers.
I know that other HBCU's were also enjoying success and had great coaches and players. However, when you think of regional success you think of Morgan State as the eastern power, Tennessee State as the midwestern power, Florida A&M as the southeastern power and Grambling as the southwestern power in the legion of historically black colleges and universities. So, join me on Tuesday, October 22, 2019, as I pay homage to these great men who lead each of their schools to athletic greatness.