The University of Memphis football program will honor Glenn Rogers Sr., the first Black player to integrate the team in the spring of 1968, at halftime of the team’s game against Tulsa on Thursday, Nov. 10 at Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium at 6:30 p.m. Rogers integrated the Tigers team as a walk-on and made history 50 years ago when he became the first Black player on the Memphis Tigers football team that spring.
Rogers initially joined the team as a tight end but was moved to defensive back. In the fall of 1969, Stan Davis joined the team and the pair made their debut as the first Black players to appear in a Memphis game. The team’s opponent was Ole Miss. During the game, racist chants were directed toward Rogers and Davis, according to a University of Memphis news release.
Glenn Rogers Sr. Is A Trailblazer
“Glenn Rogers Sr. was a trailblazer for not only our football team, but the University of Memphis and I couldn’t be prouder to honor him at our game against Tulsa,” Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Laird Veatch said in a news release. “His courage and determination helped pave the way for so many and his contributions to the community have been incredibly impactful.”
Rogers Sr. played for the Tigers from 1969-71. “I am truly thankful to have received the news about being honored and recognized at the Nov. 10 home game versus Tulsa as the first African American to play football for Memphis,” Rogers Sr. remarked. “It’s been a long journey, but I’m grateful for God’s grace, Glenn Jr. and all parties involved in making this monumental ceremony happen for me while I’m still alive and in my right mind. I pray that my desire to follow my dream of playing college football in my hometown has been a beacon of hope for other young men to follow their own dreams.”
Following his playing career, Rogers Sr. coached for 14 years at Southside High School and later became an administrator at both Hillcrest High School and Tunica Middle School. At the Memphis game against Tulsa on Nov. 10, Rogers Sr. will be an honorary captain for the Tigers and the program will recognize him in a halftime ceremony. His name and number 26 will also painted on the field at Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium.