FAM U vs. Univ. of Tampa Historic Game Revisited

Members of the 1969 Florida A&M football team.
Members of the 1969 Florida A&M football team.

This story has been a long time coming.  This historic football game has gone under the radar for so long, someone had to pull this information out and share what was a turning point in football.

In southern football, before this game, no game would be played between white schools and black schools.  The coaches, Jake Gaither (Florida A&M)  and Fran Curci (University of Tampa) set out to change this rule.   And remember, this is a mere 40 years ago. 

This momentous game has gone without mention for some time, but was one of the most important games ever played in football… the first interracial football game in the South.

The Spartans vs. the Rattlers and Gaither invited Grambling’s royalty of football, the esteemed coach Eddie Robinson.  The whole point of the game was to end the racial segregation of the sports teams and show that black teams were competitive on and off the field.

According to the New York Times, FAM U revisited the legacy of the coaches’ plan to end segregation during this year’s FAM U homecoming.  Nearly 725 people were in attendance at the homecoming gala, and coach Curci “repeated the generous words he had spoken to reporters back on Nov. 29, 1969: his team had been outplayed and he had been outcoached.” Gaither has long since passed in 1994, at the age of 90.

Read more on this historic occasion here.

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