The first day of February marks the beginning of Black History Month, which Noontime Sports is looking forward to celebrating by producing one post every Monday through Friday on the men and women that have made their mark in athletics, both recently and in the past.
And in honor of Super Bowl week, we’ll keep the focus on football for the next few days, beginning with one of the first African Americans that competed in the National Football League (NFL): Frederick Douglass “Fritz” Pollard
Getting to know Fritz Pollard:
- Fritz, who played quarterback, halfback, and running back, was born on January 27, 1894 in Chicago, Illinois. His mother was Native American and his father was a professional boxer during the Civil War.
- He attended Lane Tech High School (Chicago, Illinois) and Brown University. Pollard initial began his collegiate career at Bates College.
As a student at Brown, Pollard majored in chemistry and the led the football team to the 1916 Rose Bowl against Washington State. Brown lost to Washington State by a score of 14-0.
- Fritz Pollard was the first African American running back to compete for the Brown football program – he was also the first black tailback to be named to the Walter Camp All-America team in 1916.
- Professional football teams Fritz Pollard played for several teams, including the Akron Pros and Akron Indians, and coached four teams, including the Chicago Black Hawks in 1928. He was named a First-Team All-Pro in 1920 and concluded his career with 11 rushing touchdowns and one receiving touchdown.
- In 1930, Fritz Pollard founded his own professional team: the Brown Bombers. The team existed for eight seasons before folding in 1938 due to The Depression.
- In 2005, Fritz Pollard was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Ten years later – 2015, to be exact – he was inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame.
Articles and Links on Fritz Pollard: