Hall of Fame exhibit spotlights integration of college football

When Jeremy Swick digs through the archives at the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame, he’s not just looking for artifacts — he’s looking for stories.

"I start with a notebook," Swick says.  "And I start writing ideas."

And in tackling the Hall’s newest exhibit, called "Blood, Sweat and Tears," the historian and curator searched for very specific stories: those of the trailblazing players of color who helped integrate college football.

"There wasn't necessarily a Jackie Robinson moment where someone broke the color barrier. Rather, it was over time, maybe one player here, one player there," he says.

One of those players is Terry LeCount.  And to find his story, Swick didn’t need to rifle through boxes; all he had to do was take a walk around the building.  

Today, LeCount is the fan ambassador quality assurance lead at the College Football Hall of Fame, a job about which he’s crazy.

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I tell most people that I could probably work here for free," he says with a laugh. But once upon a time, he was just a football-obsessed kid in Jacksonville, Florida.

"Lived and breathed it.  I knew that I wanted to be a professional football player," LeCount says.

He ended up at the University of Florida in 1974, becoming just the second Black quarterback in Gator history. But even with his jersey on the wall as part of the new exhibit, LeCount says what he thinks about are the blood, sweat, and tears of the players who came before him.

"I look at the guys that's in here and try to think about what it would be like to be the only person on that football field.  I look at William Lewis that played in the 1800s, I look at Fritz Pollard, the very first Black ballplayer.  So, to be surrounded amongst greatness, I'm just privileged to be here."

Click here for more information on "Blood, Sweat and Tears" at the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame, which runs through summer, and the Hall’s current web series, "Not Your Average Hero," featuring interviews with more of the sport’s legendary pioneers.

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