Frederick Fritz Pollard, First African American Head Coach   Leave a comment

This article is about the African American football pioneer. For his son, the Olympic hurdler, see Fritz Pollard, Jr..
Frederick Douglass Pollard
No. 35     Free Agent
Running Back
Halfback / Quarterback
Personal information
Date of birth: January 27, 1894(1894-01-27)
Place of birth: Chicago, Illinois
Date of death: May 11, 1986(1986-05-11) (aged 92)
Place of death: Silver Spring, Maryland
High School: Lane Tech (IL)
Height: 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m) Weight: 165 lb (75 kg)
Career information
College: Brown
Debuted in 1920 for the Akron Pros
Last played in 1926 for the Akron Indians
Made coaching debut in 1921 for the Akron Pros
Last coached in 1925 for the Hammond Pros
Career history
 As player:

 As coach:

Career highlights and awards
  • 1x NFL Championship (1920)
  • 1x First-Team All Pro (1920)
  • Inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame (2005)
Career NFL statistics as of 1926
Touchdowns     16
Stats at
Pro Football Hall of Fame
College Football Hall of Fame

Frederick Douglass “Fritz” Pollard (January 27, 1894 – May 11, 1986) was the first African American head coach in the National Football League (NFL). Pollard along with Bobby Marshall were the first two African American players in the NFL in 1920. Sportswriter Walter Camp ranked Pollard as “one of the greatest runners these eyes have ever seen.”

Professional football player

He later played pro football with the Akron Pros, the team he would lead to the NFL (APFA) championship in 1920. In 1921, he became the co-head coach of the Akron Pros, while still maintaining his roster position as running back. He also played for the Milwaukee Badgers, Hammond Pros, Gilberton Cadamounts, Union Club of Phoenixville and Providence Steam Roller. Some sources indicate that Pollard also served as co-coach of the Milwaukee Badgers with Al Garrett for part of the 1922 season. He also coached the non NFL team Gilberton in 1923 and is believed to have had some coaching duties with Hammond in 1923 as well.

Pollard, along with all nine of the black players in the NFL at the time, were removed from the league at the end of the 1926 season, never to return again. He spent some time organizing all-black barnstorming teams, including the Chicago Black Hawks in 1928 and the Harlem Brown Bombers in the 1930s.


In 2005, Fritz Pollard was inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He appears as a free agent in Madden NFL 09 and is also a part of the game’s Hall of Fame feature.

Pollard’s son Fritz Pollard, Jr. won the bronze medal for 110 m hurdles at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin.[1]

The Fritz Pollard Alliance, a group promoting minority hiring throughout the NFL, is named for Pollard.

Brown University and the Black Coaches & Administrators co-sponsor the annual Fritz Pollard Award, which is presented to the college or professional coach chosen by the BCA as coach of the year.[2]

 See also

Portal icon Biography portal


  1. ^ Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named sol1936; see Help:Cite errors/Cite error references no text
  2. ^ Brown University – Brown University and the Black Coaches Association establish annual Fritz Pollard Award February 18, 2004

 External links


Posted February 15, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in First to Accomplish, Sports

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