Atlanta, GA – South Carolina State head football coach emeritus Willie Jeffries was among eleven individuals inducted into the Black College Football Hall of Fame Saturday (Feb. 19), during the organization’s second annual enshrinement ceremony at the Four Seasons Hotel in Atlanta. Making up this year’s Class were eight players, two coaches and one sports information director.
Jeffries, who retired from SC State in 2001 after a 19-year tenure — which included two stints (1973-78 & 1989-01), is one of two coaches in the Class. The other is a contemporary – the late Earl Banks, who was coach at Morgan State for 14 seasons.
Other members of the 2011 Class are DB Lem Barney, Jackson State; DB Mel Blount, Southern; OL Roosevelt Brown, Morgan State; LB Willie Davis, Grambling State; WR Bob Hayes, Florida A&M; RB Joe Kendall, Kentucky State; OL Art Shell, Maryland Eastern Shore; QB Doug Williams, Grambling State; and Collie Nicholson, SID, Grambling State.
Jeffries, who also coached five years each at both Wichita State and Howard, compiled a 179-132-6 record, won seven Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference titles and four national black college championships during his 29-year college coaching career. In 1979, he became the first African-American head coach at an NCAA Division I-A football program when he was hired at Wichita State.
Saturday’s honor was the latest in a long list of accolades for Jeffries, who last year, was named head football coach emeritus at his alma mater, had the field at SC State’s Oliver C. Dawson Stadium named in his honor, and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. The Union County native is in several other halls of fame, among them the MEAC, South Carolina and SC State.
ESPN Monday Night Football analyst Jon Gruden served as Master of Ceremonies for the enshrinement ceremony. Baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron, Atlanta Falcons Owner and President & CEO of AMB Group Arthur Blank, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and Mayor of Atlanta Andrew Young, and Kasim Reed, current Mayor of Atlanta, are serving as an honorary chairmen of the event.
The Black College Football HOF was established in 2009 by football pioneer quarterbacks Pro Bowl MVP James “Shack” Harris and Super Bowl MVP Doug Williams. The Hall of Fame is based in Atlanta, Georgia, and honors outstanding football players and coaches from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Contributors are also recognized.