PHOTO (L-R): Tim Peeler, NC State historian; Charley Young, Enloe High, NC State and Dallas Cowboys alumnus; Tom Shanahan, Michigan State historian and author of Raye of Light and The Right Thing To Do.
Thanks to Raleigh Sports Club photographer Robert Birch for the photos,
Visit my website homepage, TomShanahan.Reporrt
By TOM SHANAHAN
NC State historian Tim Peeler and NC State ground-breaking running back Charley Young joined me to discuss the Wolfpack football legacy that Earle Edwards established as the school’s head coach, 1954-70. The March 8 event was part of the Raleigh Sports Club’s weekly luncheons.
RALEIGH PORTS CLUB
Subject: NC State football history under Earle Edwards
Panel: Tim Peeler, Charley Young and Tom Shanahan
Click here for video from the luncheon.
NC State’s first Black player was Marcus Martin in 1967 followed by Clyde Chesney in 1969. The Wolfpack’s first two scholarship African Americans recruited out of high school were Charley Young and Willie Burden. Young, a first-round draft pick of in 1974 of the Dallas Cowboys, and Burden, a member of the Canadian Football League Hall of Fame, were teammates at Raleigh’s Enloe High. Burden died in 2015.
Edwards arrived after NC State suffered through a 1-9 record in 1953 that was the Wolfpack’s fifth losing mark in six seasons. He revived it the remainder of the decade and then desegregated the program in 1967. Of the eight ACC members in the 1960s, NC State was the third football program to integrate following Maland (1963) and Wake Forest (1964).
He retired following the 1970 season with 77 wins, a total that remains the school record. Current Wolfpack coach Dave Doeren, with 72 victories, enters the 2023 season within range of topping the mark, but Edwards’ influence on NC State football extends beyond numbers.
Edwards coached with Duffy Daugherty on Biggie Munn’s staff, 1949-53. Daugherty, who came to Michigan State from Syracuse with Munn, was promoted to head coach when Munn retired after the 1953 season to take over as the Spartans’ athletic director.
Edwards was among the Michigan State coaches who followed the Daugherty blueprint of expanding opportunities for African Americans in major college football. Although Daugherty’s integration leadership is focused on his Underground Railroad teams that recruited the segregated South, Daugherty also smashed the unwritten quota system that college football powers followed into the 1960s.
In 1962, the Associated Press reported the Spartans’ 17 Black athletes was the most in major college football history. By contrast, USC won the 1962 national title with only five Black players and the 1967 national championship with only seven. As I stated at the luncheon, it takes effort in an area as populous and diverse as Los Angeles to only have single-digit Black players on your roster until the late 1960s.
The myths and outright fiction that were crafted in the 20 years after the 1970 USC-Alabama game has unjustly directed credit to Alabama coach Bear Bryant and USC away from Daugherty and the players who were pioneers at southern colleges.
Schools began to follow Daugherty’s model after the a record TV audience of 33 million saw the contrast of Michigan State and Notre Dame rosters in the 1966 Game of the Century. The Spartans numbered 20 Black players, 11 Black starters, two Black team captains, College Football Hall of Famers George Webster and Clinton Jones, and the South’s first Black quarterback to win a national title, Jimmy Raye of then-segregated Fayetteville, N.C.
Daugherty’s teams also featured the Hawaiian Pipeline. Bob Apisa was the first Samoan All-American pick as two-time choice at Michigan State, 1965 and 1966
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Click here for my story on the 1962 Rose Bowl and Segregation awarded first place by the Football Writers Association of America.
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I tell untold stories on Michigan State’s leading role and the true pioneers of college football integration. Click here to read a summary.
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RAYE OF LIGHT
Jimmy Raye, Duffy Daugherty, the 1ntegration of College Football and the 1965-66 Michigan State Spartans
Foreword by Tony Dungy