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Who Was Fritz Pollard?

5 Things To Know About The First Black Head Coach and QB in the NFL

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From Brown University’s Library

Pollard was the First Black To Play Football for Brown University

Pollard’s dream was to follow in his brother’s footsteps in attending Dartmouth. But according to Brown University’s library, he was swayed during a brief stop in Providence in January of 1913. Fritz laid eyes on Brown’s famed Van Wickle Gates and knew the school was the place for him.

The 5-foot-9, 165-pound running back immediately made an impact for Bears—earning the nickname “human torpedo.” He helped Brown become the first school to earn victories over Ivy League powers Harvard and Yale in the same season and lead the school to a Rose Bowl appearance in his freshman year. Pollard was the first African-American to play in the “Granddaddy of them All” in Pasadena. Adding to his long list of firsts, he was named to the Walter Camp All-America team— the first black player to be featured in its backfield.

After leaving Brown, he would go on to pursue dentistry and coach briefly at Lincoln University before pursuing a pro football career.

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