Black History Month: Tennessee State Tigersharks a Team to Remember

Tennessee State Tigersharks

Black History Month: Tennessee State Tigersharks a Team to Remember

As we continue to celebrate Black History Month, here is a brief look at a special team in history:

The Tennessee State University Tigersharks finished the 1960-61 swimming season with a 6-1 record, losing only to Indiana’s Ball State University, one of two white schools which was willing to compete against TSU. The first time the schools met in the 1950s, TSU won. Co-captain Clyde James was a finalist in the NAIA National Championships in the 100-yard butterfly. James went on to become a legendary coach at the Brewster Recreation Center and Martin Luther King High School in Detroit. Tennessee State started its swimming team in 1945 and its coach, Thomas “Friend” Hughes, was the first African-American accepted as a member of the College Swimming Coaches Association in 1947.

The team members can be seen in the accompanying picture. They were: Left to Right, First Row: Captain Meldon Woods, Co-Captain Clyde Jame, Ronnie Webb, Jesse Dansby, Osborne Roy, Cornelias Shelby, Frank Oliver, James Bass and Roland Chatman. Second Row: Cecil Glenn, William Vaughn, Raymond Pierson, Robert Jenkins, George Haslarig, Leroy Brown, Frank Karsey, John Maxwell and Coach Thomas H. Hughes.