FAMU legends fondly remembered

In commemoration of The Famuan’s many years of serving Florida A&M University, we, the staff, would like to reflect on those who were influential and had an uncompromising effect on the storylines and reporting of the budding journalists in the arena of sports.

Alonzo Smith Jake Gaither- many know him as the one for whom Gaither Gymnasium is named in commemoration, but have yet to delight themselves in learning about the person who was “the man” when it came to anything on the field.

Long before being named one of the 50 most influential Floridians of the 20th century, Gaither was born in 1903 in Dayton, Tenn. He took a job as a high school football coach just as he was finishing college to provide for his family after the death of his father.

In 1945, Gaither took on a job that the University president of that time could not find anyone else to fill – head coach of the football team. In his 25 seasons of demanding players to be “mobile, agile and hostile,” Gaither won over 200 games, touched many hearts and inspired his players, including 45 of them who went on to play in the NFL. What many classify as his single most important contribution is the Split-Line T formation, which was duplicated by almost every successful coach after its appearance in 1963.

Before his death at the age of 90, Gaither spoke these words to his biographer: “I run into people who have no deep sense of morals – people who got a price tag on them, who’d sell their soul. I want to find the man who has no price tag on him. I’m not for sale.”

Althea Gibson- She was born August 25, 1927 in Silver, S.C. She began amateur career in early 1940’s. Soon after Gibson became the leading woman in the amateur during the 1950’s. She broke the color barrier in the American Lawn Tennis league in 1956. After that, she went on to take both French and Italian titles. In 1957, Gibson became the first black tennis player to win at Wimbledon. She was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame and the International Sports Hall of Fame.

Contact Tenicka Morning at thefamuansports@hotmail.com.