The Sport and Exercise Psychology program offers numerous classes that range from professional issues, psychological perspectives to sports in American society. One class focuses on the history and sociocultural contributions to sports in America, specifically historical figures who are African American.
“As a student, their presence in class today and listening to their speeches was very inspirational, motivating and knowledgeable. Their golden experiences are a reminder for this generation to understand the history and its importance," said Farhan Shaikh.
African Americans in Sports (SEP 373) presented a panel of five historical African-American pioneers during the November 13 class. Each panelist discussed his/her life story and elaborated on the historical, cultural and diversity differences from individual experiences
The class heard from Shirley Robinson, the first African-American athlete to participate on the WVU Women’s tennis team, joining the team in 1981. Robinson currently works for the Office of the Provost as an administrative assistant for Undergraduate Academic Affairs. In addition, Robinson serves on the West Virginia Staff Council as the Advisory Council of Classified Employees representative.
Morgantown native Charles C. Blue, Jr. lettered in both football and track all four years at Morgantown High School. During his time at WVU, Blue assisted in creating a positive and supportive environment for African-American students, faculty and staff.
Other panelists included Cathy Parson, who became the first woman to be inducted into the WVU Sports Hall of Fame in 1996. She was the first women's player to have her basketball jersey retired.
John Mallory played for the West Virginia Mountaineers as a defensive back from 1965-1967, and was selected All-Southern Conference first team and Associate Press all-America honorable mention defensive back his junior year. He ranked among the nation's best punt returners. He was drafted in the 10th round by the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles, where he played in all 14 games of his rookie season. He was traded to Atlanta and became their all-time punt return leader.
Lastly, former Morgantown mayor (1991-1998) Charlene Marshall joined the conversation. Marshall served as the first African-American female mayor in West Virginia. Marshall received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from West Virginia University in 2015.