On This Day in Sports: First African American Wins the Heisman Trophy
1961 was a special college football season for a man from the University of Syracuse. Running back Ernie Davis was named the Heisman Trophy winner, the first African American to win the award.
Davis had himself a tremendous season that year. He carried the ball 150 times, totaled 823 yards, and 12 touchdowns in 11 games. The team went 8-3 that season finishing 16th in the nation.
The Heisman voting that year was as followed:
- Ernie Davis-Syracuse (179 1st place votes)
- Bob Ferguson-Ohio State (122 1st place votes)
- Jimmy Saxton-Texas (81 1st place votes)
- Sandy Stephens-Minnesota (104 1st place votes)
- Pat Trammell-Alabama (76 1st place votes)
This was such a big deal that in 2008 Hollywood made a very inspirational movie about Ernie Davis' life and the adversity's he faced called The Express.