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Donald Hudson

High school and college football coach and athletic director Donald Edward Hudson was born on November 20, 1929, and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Westinghouse High School in Pittsburgh, where he participated in football and gymnastics. He went on to play football at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri, where, in 1953, he received his B.S. degree in physical education and commission as a second lieutenant in the United States Army Engineers.

Hudson served his military obligation at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri as a platoon leader for the first eight weeks of basic training. He then spent the next year and a half on the DMZ in Korea, where he served as a first lieutenant platoon leader. After military service, he earned his M.Ed. degree from Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Hudson first worked at Lincoln University in the 1950s and 1960s, where he taught in the Health and Physical Education Department and was an assistant football coach, assistant basketball coach, assistant track coach and head golf coach. In 1968, he became the State of Minnesota’s first African American high school head football coach when he was hired at Central High School in Minneapolis.

In December of 1971, Hudson was appointed head football coach of Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota, becoming the first African American head football coach at a predominantly white university in the United States in the modern NCAA era. He also served as assistant chairman of the Department of Physical Education and as the men’s head track coach. While at Macalester, he testified before the U.S. Congress on behalf of the NCAA National Summer Youth Program, which he also directed for six years.

Hudson left Macalester College in 1975 and returned to Lincoln University in 1976, where he served as head football coach, head girls track coach, and athletic director for three years. He was later hired as athletic director of Smoky Hill High School in the Colorado Cherry Creek school district, where he worked until 2000.

Hudson was honored for his accomplishments during the half time of a Macalester football game on October 6, 2007. The mayor of St. Paul, Minnesota declared that day “Don Hudson Day” and Hudson was given the keys to the city. In addition, the football offices at Macalester College have been named after Hudson.

Hudson and his wife, Constance, reside in Charlotte, North Carolina. They have six children, ten grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Hudson passed away on September 30, 2018.

Donald Hudson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 12, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.185

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/12/2014

Last Name

Hudson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Edward

Schools

Westinghouse Academy

Lincoln University

Springfield College

Belmar Elementary School

Baxter Elementary School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Donald

Birth City, State, Country

Pittsburgh

HM ID

HUD06

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Beaches

Favorite Quote

Let's Do It Over Again.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

North Carolina

Birth Date

11/20/1929

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Charlotte

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Bananas

Death Date

9/30/2018

Short Description

College football coach Donald Hudson (1929 - 2018 ) served as the head football coach of Macalester College from 1971. He was the first African American head coach at a predominantly white university in the modern NCAA era.

Employment

United States Army

Lincoln University

Central High School, Minneapolis

Macalester College

Smoky Hill High School, Colorado

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Donald Hudson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Donald Hudson lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Donald Hudson describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Donald Hudson describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Donald Hudson talks about his maternal family's church band

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Donald Hudson describes his father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Donald Hudson talks about his parents' early relationship

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Donald Hudson remembers his neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Donald Hudson describes his likeness to his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Donald Hudson remembers the Great Depression

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Donald Hudson describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Donald Hudson talks about the influence of Don Hutson

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Donald Hudson remembers his first football team

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Donald Hudson recalls his experiences at Belmar Elementary School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Donald Hudson remembers Ahmad Jamal

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Donald Hudson recalls his football practice routine, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Donald Hudson remembers playing football at Westinghouse High School in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Donald Hudson describes his experiences of discrimination at Westinghouse High School

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Donald Hudson remembers his positions on the football team at Westinghouse High School

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Donald Hudson describes his social activities at Westinghouse High School

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Donald Hudson remembers his aspirations to attend college

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Donald Hudson recalls his football practice routine, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Donald Hudson remember his football coach at Westinghouse High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Donald Hudson recalls his recruitment to Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Donald Hudson remembers his footballs heroes

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Donald Hudson describes his experiences of size discrimination on the football team at Lincoln University

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Donald Hudson talks about his knowledge of football strategy

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Donald Hudson remembers Coach Dwight T. Reed

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Donald Hudson describes his experiences of discrimination in the U.S. Army, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Donald Hudson describes his experiences of discrimination in the U.S. Army, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Donald Hudson describes his U.S. Army service in the Korean War

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Donald Hudson remembers playing football in the U.S. Army

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Donald Hudson recalls the racial tensions during the Korean War

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Donald Hudson remembers becoming an assistant coach at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Donald Hudson recalls his master's degree from Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Donald Hudson recalls the changes in the football team at Lincoln University

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Donald Hudson talks about Lincoln University's football league

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Donald Hudson recalls being hired as head football coach at Minneapolis Central High School in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Donald Hudson talks about his search for assistant coaches at Minneapolis Central High School

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Donald Hudson recalls his struggle to keep players on the football team at Minneapolis Central High School

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Donald Hudson remembers his early games at Minneapolis Central High School

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Donald Hudson describes his roles at Minneapolis Central High School

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Donald Hudson talks about his experiences at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Donald Hudson remembers coaching the Macalaster College football team

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Donald Hudson remembers recruiting black players for Macalaster College's football team in St. Paul, Minnesota

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

4$1

DATitle
Donald Hudson remembers becoming an assistant coach at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri
Donald Hudson recalls being hired as head football coach at Minneapolis Central High School in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Transcript
You got out in '54 [1954], right?$$I guess that's right.$$Finished in '54 [1954]. And what were your prospects? What did things look for you when you, when you got out? Where were you going? I think you came to Chicago [Illinois], but how did that ha- well, how did that happen? How did that happen?$$Well, I had a couple of friends, and they had heard--the word had gotten around that I was getting out of the [U.S.] Army, and I didn't have a job. And one of the guys I had asked, I think he's been here. No, he couldn't have been here. I asked him, you know, and he said yeah, he knew of a job. Well, I went over and applied for the job, and this is another job. I went over and I applied for the job, even though that they had, the [U.S.] Army had brought me out to put me in the, you know, the spot, I get the job as director at the OFC--no. I get the job, and lo and behold--as platoon leader, another platoon leader--and what do they do but send me over the--get ready to send me over to Korea again. And in the meantime, we get up a little basketball team and so forth. And I don't know how this happened. They took me out of the baseball team. I can't even play baseball. They took me out of that baseball team and brought me back to the camp. And I guess it was really a few days later that I ended up getting my divor- discharge. I don't know why, don't know how.$$Okay. So that's when you came to the United States, back (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Um-hm.$$--back to the states? And, so you worked with George Pruitt, you said, of Washington Park [Chicago, Illinois]?$$Um-hm.$$Okay. And George Pruitt was associated with the Chicago Bears in some way?$$Unh-uh.$$Nope?$$When I was a teacher at Lincoln [Lincoln University, Jefferson City, Missouri] I came to Chicago, and I recruited George Pruitt to play basketball for Lincoln University.$$Okay, okay.$$He turned out to be a very, very great player. And he didn't play with the actual Glo- Globetrotters [Harlem Globetrotters], but he ended up, he did play with the team next to them [Kansas City Steers], whatever that was.$$The Generals, the Washington Generals (laughter)?$$(Unclear) I have no idea. And he, of course, had that (unclear) that little cup they gave him to take out. You know, I don't know what was in it. But anyhow, he played for the Army for three or four years. And I saw him maybe three or four times. He is probably the best guy I ever recruited. Yeah, as a, as an athlete.$$Okay.$$Then he died.$$And, but he played for Lincoln. You recruited him--$$Yeah, for Lincoln.$$--for Lincoln, okay. All right, so, what I was trying to figure out is when you got out of the Korean War--I mean the Army in '54 [1954], did you go back to Lincoln first, or did you go to Chicago? Well, let's just get--well, let's just take you up from Chi- from Lincoln then--$$Okay. I think--$$--when--$$--I went back to Lincoln.$$Yeah, okay. So when you went back to Lincoln you became the assistant football coach?$$Yes.$$All right, okay. All right, but you also taught track, gymnastics, swimming.$$Oh, yeah.$$It's a lot of things, right (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Yeah.$In the interest of our time, I'm going to just ask you about Macalester College [St. Paul, Minnesota]. We're going to get right to this historic time pe- period here. Now you were the head coach at Minneapolis Central High School [Minneapolis, Minnesota] from '68 [1968] to '72 [1972]. And tell us how you found out about the job at Macalester.$$I found out through Bill McMoore [Donald "Bill" McMoore], a friend of mine who lived in Minneapolis [Minnesota] (clears throat). He wrote me and told me that the job was open, and he knew I should--he said, "You should apply for the job." And he said, "They don't have any black coaches in the school except the assistant coaches." And he said, "They're trying to go on the move," so he said, "Why don't you apply?" So I did apply.$$Okay. So this is for the job at--$$At Minneapolis Central.$$Okay. Minneapolis Central, okay, all right. (Laughter) It's like--okay, all right.$$Yeah.$$So, well, tell us about what, what happened in Minneapolis Cen- Central. Were you successful?$$Do you really want to know (laughter)?$$Yeah.$$All right, when I first got to Minneapolis Central, of course, they had me fill out some papers and stuff. And they wanted to know what my experience was and so forth. And for the most part, I had had more experience than any of the coaches that were already there. I had coached something like ten, fifteen years. And they were much less than that. And then I had coached in college against high school, although I had coached some high school ball before I got there. So as the story goes on at Central, they moved a guy up to be the athletic director. He was a very nice guy. And he came to me, and he asked me if I had any coaches that I would be bringing, and I said no. I was just coming myself as the head football coach. So he said, "I'll take you around." And he showed me around and all that kind of stuff. And we finally got down to the nitty gritty there. And I said, "Well, you know, how many coaches--?" They had had something--I think they had ten coaches. I said, "How many coaches will I have?" He said, "None." I said, "What do you mean none?" "They all quit because you got the job." And I said, "Well, can I have maybe--maybe I need to see a superintendent or the athletic director of the city. And here you, you know, here we are with a football, high school football team who's had a very good record, who has been known to have a good record, and all the football coaches on the team quit because you hired me." And, you know, I'd been all over the country, not necess- you know, coaching at different schools and so forth. And, you know, it's not like I don't know what I would be doing. So anyhow, they went a couple of days and said that they would have to check on some things. Make a long story short, I was still the head coach. And they hadn't come back yet. They hadn't made up their mind.

William Maurice Bennett

Distinguished athlete and coach William Maurice Bennett was born on October 15, 1915 in Richmond, Virginia. His mother worked in a tobacco factory and his father was a barber. His parents separated when he was a small child and his mother moved to Hampton and remarried. Bennett received his early education in Richmond at the Moore Street school until he moved to Hampton to live with his mother. He earned his high school diploma from I.C. Norcom High School in Portsmouth, Virginia, where he was a stellar a track and football athlete. While in high school he set a state record for the 440 that stood for twenty years.

Following his high school graduation, Bennett attended Virginia State University on a football scholarship. While at VSU, Bennett won two CIAA track championships, honors in the Penn Relays, three varsity letters in football and was selected to play in the College All-Star game against the Chicago Bears in 1941. Bennett received his bachelor’s of science degree in physical education in 1941. That same year he was also drafted into the army and stationed at Ft. Lee, Virginia. He served in the military until 1945, and while a soldier he developed an interest in boxing and was named the lightweight boxing champion. Following his honorable discharge from the army, Bennett earned his masters degree in education from Columbia University in 1946.

Shortly after marrying in 1946, Bennett received a job as a biology teacher and football coach at Phenix High School in Hampton, Virginia. He left Phenix in 1953 when he was offered the head football and track coach position at his alma matter Virginia State.

Bennett coached football and track at Virginia State for over thirty years, a duration in which he coached nearly 50 All-Americans including Wilber “Pony” Wilson. In 1954, under Bennett’s leadership, Wilson broke the long jump record and qualified for the Olympic Trials. Bennett also led the VSU Trojans to victory in ten conference championships and two CIAA championships. Bennett was named Coach of the Year in 1962, 1972, 1977, 1979 and 1983. In 1982, Bennett was inducted into the CIAA Hall of Fame.

Bennett passed away on June 6, 2007 at age 91.

Accession Number

A2004.106

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/22/2004 |and| 10/13/2004

Last Name

Bennett

Maker Category
Middle Name

M.

Schools

I.C. Norcom High School

Virginia State University

George Washington Carver Elementary School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

William

Birth City, State, Country

Richmond

HM ID

BEN02

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hampton, Virginia

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

10/15/1915

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Steak

Death Date

6/7/2007

Short Description

College track coach and college football coach William Maurice Bennett (1915 - 2007 ) was recognized by the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association hall of fame for his work as head football and track and field coach at Virginia State University. In his thirty-year career, Bennett coached nearly fifty All-Americans, won ten conference championships and two CIAA championships.

Employment

United States Army

Phenix High School

Virginia State University

Favorite Color

Blue

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of William Maurice Bennett's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - William Maurice Bennett lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - William Maurice Bennett describes his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - William Maurice Bennett describes his stepfather, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - William Maurice Bennett describes his stepfather, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - William Maurice Bennett describes his extended family

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - William Maurice Bennett describes his earliest memory

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - William Maurice Bennett describes special memories and holidays from his early childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - William Maurice Bennett describes his childhood neighborhood in Richmond, Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - William Maurice Bennett describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood in Richmond, Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - William Maurice Bennett describes his experiences at Moore Street School in Richmond, Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - William Maurice Bennett describes his experience attending Moore Street Missionary Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - William Maurice Bennett describes his childhood interest in sports and living in Portsmouth, Virginia as a teenager

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - William Maurice Bennett talks about playing sports at I.C. Norcom High School in Portsmouth, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - William Maurice Bennett describes his experiences at Virginia State College in Petersburg, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - William Maurice Bennett talks about playing sports at Virginia State College in Petersburg, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - William Maurice Bennett talks about his football and track coaches and balancing sports with academics

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - William Maurice Bennett recalls graduating Virginia State College in Petersburg, Virginia in 1941 with plans to be a teacher

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - William Maurice Bennett describes being drafted into the U.S. Army and boxing while in the Army

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - William Maurice Bennett talks about meeting his wife, Katherine Bennett

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - William Maurice Bennett talks about being a coach and teacher at George P. Phenix School in Hampton, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - William Maurice Bennett talks about being hired as a coach by Virginia State College in Petersburg, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - William Maurice Bennett talks about coaching Wilbur "Pony" Wilson

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - William Maurice Bennett describes changes at Virginia State University during his decades of coaching

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - William Maurice Bennett talks about preparing for big games against Virginia State University's rival Hampton University

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - William Maurice Bennett describes influences on his coaching style

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - William Maurice Bennett describes his typical routine as a coach

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - William Maurice Bennett reflects upon his successes as a coach

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - William Maurice Bennett describes what he looks for in a potential athlete

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - William Maurice Bennett reflects upon the quality of athletes at historically black colleges and universities

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - William Maurice Bennett reflects upon the quality of the athletic programs at historically black colleges and universities

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - William Maurice Bennett talks about the benefits and shortfalls of attending a historically black college or university

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - William Maurice Bennett reflects upon how to measure a coach's success

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - William Maurice Bennett describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - William Maurice Bennett offers advice for those who want to pursue coaching