THE GOLDEN ERA OF HBCU FOOTBALL

Their Game, Their Times Podcast Docuseries will drop in Fall of 2024

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Their Game, Their Times Podcast Docuseries

HBCU Football History

Many Football Hall of Famers played HBCU football. Those players include Walter Payton, Deacon Jones, and Jerry Rice, some of the most enduring names in pro football.

Although the history of major NCAA football programs and the careers of their star players are well documented, the same is not true for HBCU programs.

Because of this, The Game Before the Money is producing Their Game, Their Times: An Oral History of the Golden Era of HBCU Football.

The first phase is a podcast docuseries supported by Humanities Texas. Interviews with several former HBCU stars, include Hall of Famers Charlie Joiner, Art Shell and Elvin Bethea. See below for the up to date list.

The series is slated to drop in the fall of 2024.

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Stories Build History

The interviews with players and coaches highlight moments in time including:

  • Significant games and plays
  • Personal journeys
  • Impact on society and culture

It’s an honor to have interviewed the following, thus far, for the series:

** = Former NFL Player
*= Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductee

Alphonse Dotson – Grambling, First small college player to make major All-American team #
Alvin Reed** – Prairie View A&M, National Champion 1964
Art Shell** – Maryland State, First modern day Black head coach in NFL
Art Strahan** – Texas Southern, uncle of Michael Strahan
Charles Garcia – Prairie View A&M, 1953 and 1954 national champion
Charlie Joiner** *– Grambling, retired as NFL’s all-time leading receiver
Charlie Stukes** – Maryland State, Super Bowl champion
Joe Washington, Sr – Prairie View A&M, started high school football program as a teenager
Dr. Rod Paige – Jackson St – head coach of 2 HBCU teams, later U.S. Secretary of Education
Eddie Jackson – Sports Information Director for Jake Gaither at Florida A&M
Eddie Payton** – Jackson St – older brother of Walter Payton
Elvin Bethea** – North Carolina A&T
James Harris – Grambling, first full-time Black starting QB in NFL, first Black starting QB to win a playoff game

Jerry Izenberg – Sportswriter, Documentary Filmmaker – In 1960s, he directed and produced a film on Grambling football, was personal friend of Eddie Robinson
Jim Marsalis** – Tennessee State, national champion, Super Bowl champion
Ken Houston** * – Prairie View A&M, national champion, 12x Pro Bowl
Larry Little** * – Bethune-Cookman, Super Bowl champion, College head coach
Robert Brazile** * – Jackson St. NFL first-round draft choice
Albert “Sonny” Davis** – Tennessee State
Upton Bell – NFL scout for Baltimore Colts who scouted HBCUs in the 1960s
Willie Lanier** * – Morgan State, Super Bowl champion
Willie Mitchell** – Tennessee State, Super Bowl champion
Willie Alexander** – Alcorn, national champion
Willie Irvin**– Florida A&M – first player from Florida A&M drafted by an NFL team
Garland Boyette** – Grambling, first Black middle linebacker in NFL (1962)
Alvin Hollis – Sports Information Director at Florida A&M for 30 years
Kenny Burrough** – Texas Southern, Led NFL in receiving yards

Dr. J. Kenyatta Cavil

Jafus Kenyatta Cavil currently serves as the Acting Dean and Interim Associate Dean of Academic Affairs in the College of Education at Texas Southern University.

Michael Hurd

Michael Hurd is an author and historian who recently retired as director of the Texas Institute for the Preservation of History and Culture at Prairie View A&M University.

Jackson Michael

Jackson Michael is the director and founder of The Game Before the Money Oral History Foundation, a Texas nonprofit. He also produces the Texas Sports Hall of Fame podcast.

HBCU Football History Partners

Humanities Texas provided foundational funding for the research and development. Partners will be a part of an unprecedented account of HBCU football history that recognizes its contribution to college and pro football, as well as American History.

We’re seeking partners interested in aligning with this important work.

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Articles on HBCU Football History