A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
Honoring More HBCU Legends
This year’s class includes South Carolina State head football coach emeritus Willie Jeffries and former Maryland-Eastern Shore standout Emerson Boozer. They and four others will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame during the Enshrinement Festival, July 16-17, in South Bend, Ind.
WILLIE JEFFRIESThe first African-American to be hired as a head coach at a Division-I school (Wichita State), Willie Jeffries finished his career as the winningest coach in South Carolina State and MEAC history.
During a 19-year coaching career at SC State, which included two tenures – 1973-1978 and 1989-2001 – Jeffries achieved unparalleled success, winning more football games than any other coach in school history. He compiled an enviable record of 128-77-4 during his two stints as Bulldog head coach.
The Union, South Carolina native and 1960 alumnus, also owns more MEAC victories than any other coach in the long history of the league.
During his remarkable 29-year collegiate head-coaching career – which included five-year stints at both Wichita State and Howard — he compiled a 179-132-6 record, a winning percentage of over sixty percent.
A three-time Black National Championship winner, Jeffries is credited with inventing the “Freeze Option” offense and is the only person in history to coach against College Football Hall of Famers Paul “Bear” Bryant and Eddie Robinson. Jeffries won the MEAC conference title seven times, six with SCSU and one with Howard. He has also coached College Football Hall of Famers Harry Carson and Donnie Shell.
Named coach of the year on eight different occasions, he was given the lifetime achievement award by the Black Coaches Association in 2002. An inductee in both the MEAC Hall of Fame and SCSU Athletic Hall of Fame, Jeffries was awarded the Order of the Silver Crescent in 2001, South Carolina’s highest honor for Outstanding Community Service.
Jeffries was recently named head coach emeritus at South Carolina State and will serve as a liaison between the university, its alumni and other constituents. He currently resides in Elloree, S.C.
EMERSON BOOZERA four-year letterman and storied halfback under legendary coach Vernon “Skip” McKain at Maryland Eastern Shore (formerly Maryland State College), Emerson Boozer ran over opposing defenses to secure a spot in the 2010 College Football Hall of Fame Class.
A two-time First Team All-America by the Pittsburgh Courier, Boozer amassed 2,537 yards and 22 touchdowns during his career.
He averaged a remarkable 6.78 yards per carry and was named a Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) All-Conference pick in 1964 and ’65. He was also inducted into the University of Maryland Eastern Shore Hall of Fame in 1982.
The New York Jets selected Boozer in the sixth round of the draft, and he played with the franchise for 10 seasons. He was named the 1966 Pittsburgh Courier AFL Rookie of the Year and was twice named a Pro Bowl selection. He also helped the Jets defeat the heavily favored Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III.
After his time in the pros, Boozer worked with CBS as an NFL analyst. He has been inducted into the State of Georgia and Suffolk Sports halls of fame. Now retired, he lives in Huntington Station, N.Y.