Condredge Holloway; The SEC’s First Black Quarterback –



Fifty-one years in the past, in 1971, a seventeen-year-old African American younger man set foot on the College of Tennessee campus. His presence could be felt everywhere in the Southeastern Convention. Soccer followers known as him the “clever dodger.” His title was Condredge Holloway. He was to be the primary black quarterback in SEC historical past. His story in Massive Orange Nation is a legend. As a scholar on the college and a fledgling Vol fan, I watched Condredge Holloway play. He earned his moniker and was my introduction to his groundbreaking profession and faculty soccer within the South.


Condredge Holloway’s story is the story of our era that grew up in a time of serious change within the South. In our highschool and faculty years, Nixon resigned amidst scandal, the battle in Vietnam was raging, and ladies have been burning bras. African American people have been lastly recovering within the aftermath of the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and John and Robert Kennedy. It was a time of upheaval. Change was coming.

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Within the South, the place soccer is king, an distinctive younger man was about to forge a brand new path. School athletics would by no means be the identical.

The colour barrier within the South’s main conferences was damaged when Darryl Hill stepped on the sector for the ACC’s College of Maryland in 1963. The Southeastern Convention turned built-in in 1967 when Nate Northington performed within the College of Kentucky’s 1967 season opener towards Indiana College.

Taking a look at Holloway’s household story is like evolving American historical past. His paternal grandfather was born into slavery however was emancipated whereas nonetheless a boy in 1865. His mom, Dorothy Holloway, was employed by the Marshall Spaceflight Middle in 1962. She was the primary African American worker of NASA. The household lived in Huntsville, the place his mom labored. Breaking down racial limitations was not one thing new to the Holloways.

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Huntsville was a progressive city for the South within the Sixties. NASA had introduced in extremely educated folks to run its area applications. Nonetheless, it was nonetheless not with out its challenges for a younger black man. Condredge Holloway hardly ever talks about his growing-up years and racial prejudice. He says there are components he tries to neglect.

Life was not simple for a younger black man within the South within the Sixties and Nineteen Seventies, however younger Condredge had one thing many didn’t. He was an excellent highschool three-sport athlete, proving his talent in soccer, baseball, and basketball. He was so good in baseball that in 1971, simply out of highschool, he was picked fourth total within the MLB draft and provided a significant league baseball contract by the Montreal Expos. At solely 17, he was too younger to signal, and his mom refused to. She needed him to go to school.

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Holloway’s subsequent finest provide was from the younger head coach on the College of Tennessee. Invoice Battle knew it will be a controversial transfer, however he noticed Condredge Holloway’s potential as a quarterback. Holloway took the athletic scholarship provide and started follow with the Tennessee Volunteers soccer program within the late summer time of 1971. Instantly coaches have been impressed. In these days, a freshman couldn’t play as varsity, so he led the freshmen staff. His taking part in drew in record-breaking numbers of followers to freshmen soccer. In later interviews, Battle says that Holloway might simply have began for the varsity in his first 12 months if NCAA guidelines allowed. In his sophomore 12 months and past, he performed varsity. He introduced velocity to the operating recreation and was correct in his passes.

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Though he was standard on campus with different college students, he endured racist feedback from followers and different groups. He was shy about his skill on the sector, however followers seen. Successful video games and watching the skillful “clever dodger” lastly gained the critics over.

Different groups and gamers, in and outdoors the SEC, continued to harass him on and off the sector. Holloway took consolation in his staff’s assist and infrequently discusses that a part of his faculty athletic years. He additionally performed baseball on the College of Tennessee. The basketball coach on the time, Ray Mears, mentioned that Condredge ‘s athletic skill was so good that he might simply have gained a spot as the place to begin guard on his staff. Holloway caught to simply taking part in baseball and soccer.

Holloway left the College of Tennessee after three seasons (1972–74) as a varsity soccer starter. He led the Vols to bowl video games annually and had an total document of 25-9-2. He ended his profession with the most effective interception-to-attempt ratio in Tennessee historical past, throwing solely 12 interceptions in 407 makes an attempt. He accomplished 236 of 407 passes for 3,102 yards and 18 touchdowns. He rushed 351 occasions for 966 yards and 9 touchdowns. He was a real dual-threat quarterback.

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Holloway’s faculty baseball profession was as stellar as his soccer profession. He was the primary black baseball participant on the College of Tennessee. His faculty profession batting common was .353. He was all SEC and all American as a shortstop in 1975 and nonetheless holds the document at Tennessee for a 27-game hitting streak. He’s the one athlete in class historical past to be named to Century groups in two sports activities, baseball and soccer.

On the finish of his faculty soccer profession, Holloway was drafted by the NFL within the twelfth spherical as a defensive again. Black quarterbacks, even within the NFL, have been unusual in these days, and Holloway took a special possibility. As a substitute of the NFL, he selected to play for the Canadian Soccer League, the place he had an excellent profession as a quarterback for the B.C. Lions, Ottawa Tough Riders, and Toronto Argonauts. His CFL stats have been as spectacular as his faculty numbers. He handed for 25,193 yards aND 155 touchdowns and rushed for one more 13. He was inducted into the Canadian Soccer League Corridor of Fame in 1999.

Kenny Chesney, nation music star and a critical fan of Volunteer athletics, narrated a movie concerning the groundbreaking participant, “A Shade Orange: The Condredge Holloway Story.” It was produced by ESPN in 2011 and featured the school athletic profession of the Tennessee legend. Chesney says he was a fan of Holloway rising up and that as a seven-year-old, he by no means seen Holloway was black. He simply needed to play like him.

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In the present day Holloway resides in Knoxville. He retired in 2019 as an assistant athletic director at his alma mater, the College of Tennessee. He’s a reserved man who doesn’t discuss a lot about his groundbreaking profession there. As of late his model is in comparison with Michael Vick. Holloway laughs this off and says he got here first, and Vick ought to be in comparison with him. Holloway was undoubtedly one of many nice barrier breakers in sports activities.

We’re blessed in East Tennessee to have Condredge Holloway right here. I’ll always remember watching him play these a few years in the past. I didn’t suppose a lot about his story on the time. He was only a gifted quarterback main his groups to some signature wins, bowl video games and making inroads into athletics. Wanting again, I used to be privileged to be a witness to his improbable profession and watch a person who made his approach into Tennessee and Southeastern Convention athletic historical past.

Lagniappe a little something extra

The College of Tennessee soccer program has performed many black quarterbacks since Condredge Holloway’s day there. Tee Martin, Josh Dobbs, and this 12 months’s beginning quarterback Hendon Hooker all observe in Holloways’ brave footsteps.

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