Remembering Roy Coleman

The Jackson Free Press last week reported the passing of Roy Coleman, who it said was the first black high school quarterback to receive a scholarship to Ole Miss.

In 1972 Ben Williams became the first black football player at Ole Miss. A minority scholarship currently bears his name.

The first black athlete, basketball player Coolidge Ball, was already on campus, having enrolled in 1970. I had the chance to interview Ball a few years back, and that was a lot of fun, a neat discussion.

In 2006 the university honored the first athletes of all their respective sports. Coleman was listed as the school’s first black baseball player in 1976 with the notation that he was recruited to play football.

Though Coleman was a successful high school quarterback, leading Jackson Callaway to a perfect season in 1975, he played wide receiver at Ole Miss. The story implies he was not happy about that, and it’s certainly not a stretch to believe that would be the case.

Denham Springs, La., native, Mississippian since 1989 with a stop in Meridian before arriving in Tupelo. Daily Journal beat writer since 1996, covering Ole Miss since 2002. Proud Northeast Louisiana alum. Follow me on Twitter @parrishalford and listen to John Davis and myself daily with The Ole Miss Beat on Rebel Sports Radio.

Posted in Football Tagged with: , ,
  • matchbox20

    Slight typo when speaking of basketball’s Coolidge Ball. I’m sure you meant ‘1970’.

  • How about James Reed RB? I think he was with Gentle Ben on Ken Cooper’s teams. JB

  • Parrish Alford

    Thanks Matchbox. It was either 1970 or he was playing games in the Colosseum in Rome and not Tad Smith Coliseum. I guess those venues could be similar in age, though.

    • matchbox20

      So true about venues. New digs for the hoopsters should be elevated to the top of the priority list.

  • ostrogoth

    Roy played QB during the first year of the Sloan era, before Fourcade took over.

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