Thursday, May 5, 2005
College Hall of Fame to honor running back
MORRISTOWN, N.J. -- Running back Prentice Gautt, Oklahoma's first black football player, will be honored posthumously by the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame.
Gautt, who died March 17, was selected to receive the Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Football Award, the foundation announced Thursday. The honor will be presented at a luncheon Dec. 6 in New York City.
Gautt led Oklahoma in rushing in 1958 and 1959 and was an all-Big Eight selection both seasons. He rushed for 94 yards and a touchdown on only six carries and was named the MVP of the 1959 Orange Bowl, which Oklahoma won 21-6.
"A true pioneer in his day, Prentice showed remarkable will and determination, which allowed him to break the color barrier at Oklahoma," foundation Chairman Jon F. Hanson said. "As Jackie Robinson did for baseball, Prentice left a civil rights impression on the school and sport of football that will never be forgotten."
Gautt also played in the first integrated high school football game in Oklahoma and was the first black player in the state All-Star game. He played seven seasons in the NFL with the
Cleveland Browns and St. Louis Cardinals before returning to the
college ranks as an assistant coach at Missouri.
Gautt joined the Big Eight Conference in 1979 and was elevated to the role of special assistant to the Big 12 Commissioner by the
time he died.