Learn More About Our Black History Month HBCU Athlete Hall of Fame Honorees!
1. HBCU Black History MonthSource:Urban One
HBCU Black History Month hbcu black history month
2. Walter Payton, Jackson State UniversitySource:Urban One
Those lyrics come from Walter “Sweetness” Payton famous verse from the Super Bowl Shuffle. Payton and the Chicago Bears went on to defeat the New England Patriots 46-10 in front of a capacity crowd at the New Orleans Superdome, but before he ran with the Bears, he was an alum of Jackson State University.
Payton originally committed to Kansas State University but ultimately decided to attend JSU and play for the Tigers where his older brother Eddie played. Payton rushed for more than 3,500 yards and set the school record for career rushing touchdowns with 65 during his time with the Tigers. Payton also won the coveted Black College Player of the Year twice.
3. Wilma Rudolph, Tennessee State UniversitySource:Urban One
Wilma Rudolph overcame a number of struggles as a kid including pneumonia and scarlet fever, and she contracted infantile paralysis at the age of five. Rudolph wore a leg brace but eventually learned how to walk without it. In High School, Rudolph excelled in basketball and track but during her Senior year who gave birth. During a Basketball game in High School, she was spotted by legendary track coach Ed Temple, of Tennessee State and the rest was history.
4. Andre Dawson, Florida A&M UniversitySource:Urban One
Andre Dawson was born in Miami, Florida where he played high school Baseball and Football. A knee injury during his senior year caused scouts to worry. He didn’t receive a scholarship from the University of Miami and Florida State. However, Dawson eventually played for the Rattlers of Florida A&M University and legendary Head Coach Costa “Pop” Kittles. His time at FAMU led to Dawson being drafted by the Montreal Expos in the 11th round (pick #250) of the 1975 Major League Baseball draft.
5. Doug Williams, Grambling State, UniversitySource:Urban One
One of the greatest HBCU athletes of all time, Doug Williams’ career started as a Freshman at Grambling State University under legendary head coach Eddie Robinson. Williams was a four-year starter for GSU, leading the Tigers to a 36-7 record, three Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) titles and was awarded the Black College Player of the Year twice.
6. Michael Strahan, Texas Southern UniversitySource:Urban One
Sports was in Houston, Texas-born Michael Strahan before he was born. His mother, Louise Strahan was a basketball coach. His father, Gene Willie Strahan was a retired Army Major and a boxer. He is also the nephew of retired professional football player Arthur Strahan. He didn’t play organized football until 1985 when his father sent him to Houston with his Uncle Arthur to play high school football. He did well enough to be offered a scholarship by the Tigers of Texas Southern University.
7. Earl Monroe, Winston-Salem State UniversitySource:Urban One
Vernon Earl Monroe grew up wanting to be a soccer player but by his teenage years, he grew to 6’3 and developed a love for Basketball. Monroe developed his shake and bake style in his South Philadelphia neighborhood but after high school and Prep-School, he went on to play with Winston-Salem State Rams and famed College Basketball coach Clarence “Big House” Gaines.
8. Willis Reed, Grambling State UniversitySource:Urban One
Willis Reed attended Grambling State University, averaging 26.6 points per game and 21.3 rebounds per game during his senior year. He led the Tigers to one NAIA title and three Southwestern Athletic Conference championships.
9. Steve McNair, Alcorn State UniversitySource:Urban One
McNair was pursued by the University of Florida but like a lot of Black High School Quarterbacks, he was offered a scholarship to play another position. Wanting to stay at his desired position of QB, McNair decided to play football for the Braves of Alcorn State University in rural Lorman, Mississippi.
10. Althea Gibson, Florida A&M UniversitySource:Urban One
Althea Gibson started her sports career at the age of 12 in 1939 playing Paddle tennis. Gibson quit school at the age of 13 and according to legend used the boxing skills she learned to engaged “street fighting” and girls basketball. Some of Gibson’s neighbors helped raise money to pay for Tennis lessons for her. After dismissing the sport, she eventually gained a love for Tennis and became an elite player and won her first tournament in 1941. After winning more amateur titles, Gibson would land a full scholarship to Florida A&M University.