, a 2000 Olympic gold medalist, seven time
All-Star and a member of the 2006 NBA champion
, and five athletes from the peninsula
, Lisa Rice,
, Ron Springs, and Walt "Fuzzy" Ward headline the list of 2011 inductees into the
African American Sports Hall of Fame. The class will be feted on November 5, 2011 at the Renaissance Hotel in Portsmouth, VA.
Also joining Mourning, Kirby, Rice, Slade, Springs, and Ward in the Fifteenth Anniversary Class of inductees are Darren Perry, who elevated the defensive back position with his play in college and the pros; Morris Smith, an outstanding high school coach and trainer of champions in track and field; James Church, a successful athlete and business man who has a passion for mentoring and coaching young men and women in the Hampton Roads region; Ken Whitley, one of the most notable sports figures in the region who, as a player, teacher and coach, made a positive impact upon the lives of many African American students and athletes; the late William "Shorty" Gray, one of the leaders of the Booker T. of Norfolk 1956 VIA State Championship football team and an All-CIAA running back at Maryland State College; William Lassiter, a nationally recognized basketball coach and ambassador; and Argyle "A.B." Whitfield, a highly accomplished scholastic athlete at Norcom High School who earned All-CIAA honors in football, wrestling, and track and field at Elizabeth City State University.
Mourning, now an executive with the Miami Heat, led his basketball team to 51 straight victories and a Virginia State
championship as a junior in 1987 at
's Indian River High School. He was the first player to be named national high school player of the year simultaneously by Gatorade, Naismith, Parade, and
. He was the MVP of the Mc Donald's All- American game and the center on the
AAU team's to win it first AAU national championship.
At Georgetown University Mourning continued to refine his game under the tutelage of
. He led the nation in blocked shots his freshman year and was named an All-American his senior year. In 1992, Mourning became the second overall selection in the 1992
by the then Charlotte
. He was named to the league's All-Rookie First Team during the 1992-1993 season averaging 21.0 pts, 0.3 rebounds, and 3.47 blocks. Mourning also posted the highest scoring average of any rookie in Hornets' history and shattered Charlotte's blocked-shots records, becoming the Hornets' all-time career leader in the 49th game of the season.
After three years in Charlotte, Mourning was traded to Miami Heat in 1995, where he played for the Heat for the next seven seasons. Mourning was the centerpiece of the
-coached Heat, averaging close to 20 points and 10 rebounds per game, and dominating the paint with his intimidating shot-blocking. In 1999 he earned the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award. After the 2000 season, Mourning repeated as the NBA Defensive player of the Year and was named to the All-NBA First Team. Mourning also earned a gold medal as a member of the 2000 USA Olympic basketball team. Alonzo Mourning is number four on the Virginian-Pilot's list of "50 Greatest Athletes of South Hampton Roads."
Terry Kirby was one of the most highly touted football players in the nation during his high school playing days at Tabb High School in York County. A bruising running back with phenomenal stamina, Kirby led Tabb to a VHSL Group AA State Championship in 1987. In 1989, he was selected to Parade 's All-America Team. He also was selected as the National Football Player of the Year.
By the time Kirby graduated high school he held numerous VHSL football records. Many have been broken but he remains to this day in the top ten in many categories. Those categories include: career scoring, rushing yards and touchdowns; single season scoring, rushing yards and touchdown. His records for most career attempts, 100-yard games and the streak of 26 consecutive games rushing 100-yards still stands today. At the University of Virginia, Kirby rushed for a school record 3,348 career yards. He averaged 5.9 yards per carry and scored 24 touchdowns. Kirby had 14 100-yard rushing games during his career. In 1992 Kirby had his best season, rushing for 1,130 yards, averaging 6.5 yards per carry. He was an All-
selection in 1990, 1991 and 1992. He was named to the ACC's All-Academic team his senior season. Kirby has had his jersey (42) retired by Virginia.
Drafted by the
in 1993, He played ten
seasons: Miami (3), San Francisco (3),
(1), and Oakland (3). Kirby scored 43 touchdowns and rushed for 2,875 yards, and played on the 2002
squad. Kirby was inducted into the Virginia High School Hall of Fame in 2007.
Lisa Rice will be remembered in the annals of Hampton Roads sports history as one of the most prolific basketball players in the south Atlantic region. Her legendary ball handling skills allowed her to set records at both the high school and collegiate levels at Gloucester High School and Norfolk State University, respectively. Combining quickness and dribbling skills with an uncanny ability to see the open player, Rice raised the level of play around her. A tenacious defender, her ability to pressure the ball handler created steals and turnovers that altered games. Rice led Gloucester High School to two York River District Championships finals appearances in 1986 and 1987 and to two ensuing York River District Championships in 1989 and 1990. She was a four-time member of the All-York River and All-Region first teams and a selectee to the 1989 and 1990 All-State first teams. Rice also was selected by the Daily Press as the 1989 "female Player of the Year". In 1990, she was named Gloucester High School Female Athlete of the year.
She is Norfolk State University's all-time career assists leader with 1,067. She finished her NSU career as the all-time leader in assists in
Division II. Rice also shares NSU's single game assist record of 20 set in 1995. She holds the CIAA Tournament assist record (43) that was set in 1993. Rice led NSU to three consecutive CIAA Championships in 1992, 1993, and 1994, and to four NCAA Division II Tournaments. Under Rice's leadership, NSU advanced to the national quarterfinals in 1993 and 1994. Rice was named the CIAA Player of the Year in 1995. She captured the CIAA Tournament's MVP Award in 1992, 1993, and 1995. Rice was a four-time All-CIAA selection, a two-time Black College All-American, and a two-time Kodak Division II All- American honorable mention.
Among the other awards/honors earned by Rice were the following: Portsmouth Sports Club "Player of the Year" (1995); and Peninsula Sports Club "Most Outstanding Female Athlete in a Virginia College" (1995).
Rice also has been inducted into the following halls of fame: CIAA (1999); Gloucester High School (2005); and Norfolk State University (2009).
Chris Slade, along with his cousin Terry Kirby, led Tabb High School in York County to the 1987 VHSL Group AA State Football Championship. He was a standout lineman and set a school record with 47 sacks.
Slade established himself as one of the greatest pass rushers in University of Virginia and Atlantic Coast Conference history. A four- year starter at defensive end, he helped Virginia win its first ACC championship in1989 and played on three bowl teams at UVA. He was the first Cavalier football player to earn first-team All-American honors for two seasons (1991 and 1992). He set Virginia and ACC career records for quarterback sacks. sacks with 40, including 31 unassisted. Slade was named Defensive Player of the Year in 1992 by Football News. Slade finished fifth on UVA's list for career tackles with 299. He was an All-ACC selection in 1990, 1991 and 1992. Slade has had his jersey (85) retired by Virginia. He was selected in the second round of the 1993
. Slade helped the Patriots to Super Bowl XXXI in 1997 and played in the 1997
He played nine years in the NFL. Nearly seven years after his retirement, Slade stands sixth on the New England Patriots' all-time sack list.
Slade retired in 2001 after spending his final season with the
. Slade always will be remembered for his mindset. Getting to the quarterback was his goal on every play.
Chris Slade was named to the Virginia High School Hall of Fame in 2007.
Ronald Springs is a 2011 Posthumous Inductee into the HRAASHF. Springs was a two sport athlete who excelled in football and track at Williamsburg's Lafayette High School. He led Lafayette to the Group AAA state championship game in the school's first year in 1973. As a senior, Springs gained national attention after rushing for 1875 yards and 25 touchdowns. As a track star, he was one of the Commonwealth of Virginia's leading sprinters.
Springs was a natural leader and a gregarious presence in locker rooms. After graduating from Lafayette in 1975, Springs attended Coffeyville Community College in
. He rushed for 2,047 yards, which still remains a school record. The following year, he was recruited by Coach Woody Hayes of
. During the 1977 season, Ron led the Buckeyes in both rushing (1,166 yards) and receiving (16 catches for 90 yards). He was elected co-captain in 1978.
Springs was selected by the
in the fifth round of the 1979 NFL draft. For six years, he was the leading rusher and outstanding blocker. He proved invaluable to the Cowboys, blocking for
, the Hall of Fame tailback. In 1985, Springs signed with the
and spent two seasons before retiring. During the eight outstanding years of Spring's professional career, he gained 2,519 rushing yards. had 2,259 receiving yards, and scored 28 rushing touchdowns.
Following in his father's footsteps,
, a defensive back, played for Ohio State and in the NFL for the
, Washington Redskins, and New England Patriots. In 1990, Springs was diagnosed with
; followed by numerous physical complications, which included
. In 2004, he was placed on the National Transplant list. Three years later in 2007, his former Cowboy teammate and best friend, Emerson Walls, donated one of his
to Springs. The following year, Springs and Everson shared their story with the world during a conference at Medical City in Dallas, Texas. Since then, these two friends developed The Gift for Life Foundation, an organization committed to educating the minority community on the illnesses that cause chronic kidney disease, including ways to prevent it and the donor process. The Foundation provides
and diabetic testing, as well as opportunities for children to attend Camp Renal, a camp designed for kids who suffer from kidney related diseases.
In 2003, Springs was among the first inductees into Lafayette's Athletic Hall of Fame along with football greats
and Mel Gray. In 2007, Springs entered a Dallas, Texas hospital to have minor surgery in order to remove a cyst from his arm. During surgery, he suffered
and fell into a coma. Springs remained in a coma until he passed away four years later on May 12, 2011.
In addition to his son, Springs' survivors include his wife Adrianne; two daughters, Ayra and Ashley, and at least two grandchildren.
Walter "Fuzzy" Ward also is a 2011 Posthumous Inductee into the HRAASHF. Ward will be remembered in the annals of
's sports history as one of its best all-around basketball players. He was outstanding on offense and defense. Ward played 86 consecutive games and closed out his collegiate career in brilliant style by scoring 23 points to break Hampton's all-time scoring record. He finished his four-year stay at HU (then Hampton Institute) with 1574 points.
Ward began his basketball career playing with the "Baby
" at Hampton's George P. Phenix High School (1954-1957). It was there that he gained popularity and fame for his keen competitive spirit and superior sportsmanship. Ward led Phenix to some memorable victories against teams comprised of future HRAASF inductees such as Earl Faison-Huntington and John Hobbs-Booker T. of Norfolk.
Ward was a three-year captain of Hampton's basketball team. During his senior year he was selected as the team's MVP and earned All-CIAA first team honors. Joining Ward on the All-CIAA first team were such CIAA legends as Bruce Spraggins and Jackie Jackson from Virginia Union, Lawrence Hancock from
, and Cleo Hill from Winston Salem.
Ward was the first player ever drafted into the NBA from Hampton University when the
selected him in the 8th round of the 1961draft. He was simultaneously drafted by the Washington, DC franchise of the now defunct American Basketball League. Walter was unable to accept either offer as he was required to comply with the military draft.
From 1961 to 1963, Ward served in the
as a Physical Activities Specialist and Athletic Coach in Wildwood Station, Kenai, Alaska. While on active duty, he played basketball for the Wildwood Station Post Basketball Team and was recognized as "being virtually a one man scoring machine". In the Elmendorf Tournament in 1963, Ward unanimously won MVP honors and triggered the tournament's biggest upset. The Cheechako Alaska News claimed that "he had an unstoppable jump shot and was murder on the boards". After his tour of duty with the Army, he continued to play his favorite sport with the Courtsmen in the Rucker Professional Tournament and other tournaments throughout New York City and the Tri-State area. Ward also played for the Allentown
in the Eastern Professional Basketball League.
Ward earned a B.S. degree in Physical Education from Hampton (Institute) University and a M.S. degree in Special Education from Manhattan College. He dedicated his life to excellence in education for over 35 years. He taught, coached, and mentored hundreds of students in New York City and Westchester County public school systems.
Walter Ward passed away on November 28, 2007. He is survived by his wife of 43 years Lorraine Scott Ward, and sons, Kenneth and Donald. Darren Perry began his football career at Deep Creek High School in Chesapeake, VA. A student of the game, he excelled on both sides of the ball. As a Deep Creek Hornet, Perry was an All-Southeastern District and second team All-State selection at quarterback. He threw for 2,970 yards and 23 touchdowns in his high school career and rushed for 1,167 yards and 14 touchdowns. Perry also was a team captain for the football, basketball, and tennis teams.
An exemplary athlete, he switched positions in college and became one of the best defensive backs to put on a uniform at
where he developed into an All-American. As a Nittany Lion, Perry was the second leading all-time interceptor with 15. He also holds Nittany Lion records for 299 interception return yards and three interceptions for touchdowns. Perry had six interceptions his senior year and returned two for touchdowns. He was named a first team Football Writers All- American.
An eighth-round pick of the
in 1992, by the time his initial NFL camp was over Perry had won the starting free safety position. He intercepted six passes. Perry was the first rookie since 1955 to lead the Steelers in interceptions. He also was earned the 1992 "
Great Performance Award", given to the outstanding Steelers rookie. The pairing of Perry with Pro Bowler
in the secondary helped create one of the NFL's most effective and durable secondaries. Perry went on to start the first 110 games of his career including Super Bowl XXX.
Perry played seven seasons with the Steelers then sat out the 1999 season with a neck injury. He finished his playing career in 2000 as a New Orleans Saint. His coaching resume includes stints with Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and Oakland. Perry began his second season with the
in 2010 as secondary-safeties coach, his ninth season coaching in the NFL.
While coaching defensive backs over the past nine years, Perry has tutored a Pro Bowl player in five of the last six seasons. Perry spent four seasons coaching defensive backs in Pittsburgh under Bill Cowher, the team and coach for whom he played the majority of his career. He was the Steelers' assistant defensive backs coach in 2003 and was promoted to defensive backs coach in 2004. In 2005, Pittsburgh won Super Bowl XL.
Perry is credited for assisting the rapid development of Pittsburgh safety
. The versatile Polamalu was AP All- Pro pick twice (2004, 2005) with Perry as his position coach.
Among up-and-coming assistants, Perry is a core member of the next wave of potential NFL head coaching candidates. He guided the defensive secondary in the Packers' 2011 Super Bowl victory. Many people around the League believe it is only a matter of when, not if, Perry ascends the next step to defensive coordinator.
Among the Virginia Pilot's 50 Greatest Athletes of South Hampton Roads, Darren Perry is listed as number 33.
Morris Smith has been a champion, championship developer, and team leader for most of his athletic related career. He was a star on the
High School of Norfolk 1958 State Championship Football team and a member of the 1959 State Champion mile relay team.
From 1959 to 1963 as a collegiate, Smith continued to excel in track and football at
. He ran track for two years and played football for four years. For three years, Smith was a two-way starter as an end, split end, defensive end, and defensive back. He led the football team in receptions for two years and served as a team captain in 1962.
After graduation, Smith returned to Norfolk and embarked upon an outstanding forty two years of teaching, coaching, and mentoring student athletes. His first assignment from 1963-1970 was at his alma mater Ruffner Junior High School. During his tenure at Ruffner, Smith led the track team to its first city-wide championship in 1968.
From 1971-1977, he was a counselor and track coach at Mergenthaler Vocational/Technical High School in Baltimore, MD. In 1977, Smith led varsity and junior varsity track and field squads to division and Maryland Scholastic Association (MSA) Championships. As a result of Smith's leadership, Mergenthaler was the first school in the sixty year MSA history to win both championships. In 1976, Smith was recognized as the Track and Field Coach of the Year by the Baltimore Public Schools Coaches Association.
From 1977 to 1990, Smith served as counselor and coach of the volleyball and track and field teams at Southern High School in Baltimore. During the 1979-1980 season, he was the first male coach to win a City-Wide Girls Varsity Volleyball championship. At Southern, Smith was able to develop a track and field dynasty without an outdoor training facility. His teams overcame this and other obstacles and went on to win four cross country and five track and field championships. During the 1980's, Smith coached the fastest relay teams, and the best sprinters and jumpers in the state of Maryland. The following times attained by Smith's team members remain among the fastest in the State of Maryland: 100 meters-10.4 sec.;110 meter hurdles-13.8 sec; 400 meter relay-42 sec.; long jump-24'6"; and high jump-6"8".
from 1990 to 1998, Smith continued to develop champions and win team championships. Among the highlights of BCCC's track and field performances during this period are the following: 1992 Women's Cross Country District and Region 26 (MD, NJ, NY) Championship; and Team Indoor District and Region Championships. At BCCC, Smith developed and coached ten National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) male and female All- Americans.
Morris Smith retired from the Baltimore City Public School System in 2006. He has received numerous awards recognizing his accomplishments as a teacher, counselor, and coach.
In October 2009, Morris Smith was inducted into the St. Augustine's College Athletic Home of Fame.
James Church is a 2011 Inductee into the HRAASHF as a Community Contributor. Born and raised in Hampton Roads as the youngest of 10 children, Church has found a way to combine his passion for mentoring with his love of football and his business skills.
His work ethic, leadership ability, and athletic skills first emerged during his high school years at Booker T. Washington in Norfolk, Virginia where he was named to the 1st Team All Tidewater and All Regional in football. Church took those same qualities to college when he was awarded a full scholarship and played wide receiver for the University of
. James was named MVP in 1987 for the Richmond Spiders and still holds the record for the most receptions in one season and number ten for the most in a career.
After graduation, Church began a ten year career with
. After leaving Ford Credit, he began the pursuit of his dream to own a business and joined the Freedom Automotive team. Church quickly moved up the ranks beginning first as a sales consultant and working as a finance manager, finance director, used vehicle manager, general manager and in 2002 was promoted to President of Freedom Automotive, a position he holds today.
Church believes strongly in helping others along the way, a lesson he learned from his parents. His image in the business community has afforded him the opportunity to establish affiliations with such organizations as Volunteer Hampton Roads, the Boys and Girls Club, the STOP Organization, the Urban League of South Hampton Roads, the Chesapeake YMCA, and the Hampton Roads Automobile Dealers Association. In November 2010, Church was appointed by Governor McDonnell to serve on the board of the Fort Monroe Authority.
When Church isn't at the office or mentoring a group of young people, he can usually be found speaking before a group of high school students about the importance of a good education, washing cars during Teacher Appreciation week at a local elementary school, cutting ribbons at neighborhood revitalization projects, or serving as Grand Marshall at local parades.
Church recently has received the following awards: Inside Business Top 40 Under 40 Recognition, MLK Humanitarian Award, League Magazine's Executive of the Year, the AFR'AM Achievement Appreciation Award, and the Norfolk chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Honorary Man of Tomorrow. In March 2011, he received an Unsung Hero Award from the National Pan-Hellenic Council.
Ken Whitley also is a 2011 Inductee into the HRAASHF as a Community Contributor. As a leader and role model, Whitley has made a positive impact upon the live of many students and athletes. He has served as a friend and role model for numerous area African American athletes including at least two HRAASHF inductees: Andrew Heidelberg (2006) and Larry Stepney (2009).
In 1959, Andy Heidelberg was one of 17 black students selected to integrate Norfolk public schools. He was one of seven blacks attending all white Norview High School. Heidelberg was bombarded daily with racial slurs. He made the football team is senior year and finally felt that he was a full-fledged member of the student body. Ken Whitley was the captain of the football team and was one of the few teammates who welcomed Andy to the team and supported him as a teammate and friend. Their friendship remains true to this day.
Larry Stepney is just another of the many African American males that consider Whitley as either a mentor and/or a father figure.
Whitley's tireless devotion to developing strong young men produced numerous top quality athletes, coaches and individuals. He coached the first predominately black wrestling team in the state of Virginia and led that team to the 1975 State Championship. He coached 6 All-State African Americans in football and numerous other district and regional champions and runner-ups. His unassuming demeanor and straight forward methods of communication contributed greatly to the success of his student athletes. Forty Seven (47) former students have received wrestling scholarships and countless more have received football scholarships.
Ken Whitley sat on the panel for "The End of Massive Resistance Commission" for the city of Norfolk. The Commission was established to look back on the past and to envision the future. It helped to plan the commemoration of the 1959 end of "massive resistance-Virginia's tactic of shutting down its public schools rather than integrate them.
Whitley attended Norfolk's Norview high school from 1957 to 1962. Among his high School accomplishments are the following: earned twelve letters in baseball, football, and wrestling; 3 time All District in baseball; in football, he was 2 time All State, 2 time All Region, 3 time All District, and 1st Team All American; in wrestling, he was a 2 time State Champion.
At Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Whitley was a Three year Letterman in football and wrestling. In 1968, the Roanoke Times elected him as the outstanding wrestler in Virginia and he qualified for the NCAA Championship. In football he was All State and Honorable Mention All American. In 1990, Whitley was inducted into the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame.
As a teacher and coach in the Norfolk and Virginia Beach school systems for 35 years, Whitley earned the following awards: Norfolk Sports Club Scholastic Coach of the Year; Chesapeake Athletic Coach of the Year; Virginian Pilot's 70's Decade Coach of the Year; Two Time VHSL Coach of the Year; Eastern District Coaches Association, District Coach of the Year; and in 2004, induction into the Virginia Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Service to Wrestling.
William "Shorty" Gray is a 2011 Posthumous Inductee into the HRAASHF. He helped lead the 1956 VIA State Champion Booker T Washington "Fightin Bookers" to an unbeaten and untied season. It was at Maryland State College (now University of Maryland Eastern Shore), as a freshman understudy to the great Johnny Sample, that Gray's accomplishments were a harbinger of performances to come.
In Gray's first two games as a sophomore starter, he took over the rushing leadership in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) averaging 13.5 yards per carry. He earned All-CIAA honors for the 1958-1959 season and was a key member of Maryland State's 1959-1960 CIAA Championship team. By the time William "Shorty" Gray wrapped up his collegiate career he was known as William "The Shadow" Gray and as "The Gray Ghost".
Following his senior year at Maryland State, Gray was drafted by the NFL
but he never discussed contracts with them. Instead, he signed with the Saskatchewan Rough Riders of the Canadian Football League. Gray quickly became one of Saskatchewan's most potent offensive weapons.
With his dazzling style of running and excellent pass catching ability, he was "Mr. Big" of the Roughriders backfield. For the first seven games of the 1963 season, he gained almost 600 yards. 316 of these were rushing yards. Later in the 1963 season, he was felled by a crippling knee injury and never fully regained his ability to run with reckless abandon. He played with Saskatchewan until the 1966-1967 season.
After his Canadian League experience, Gray returned to the States and played for the Orlando Panthers of the Continental Football League, where he was an All-CFL defensive back. Gray ended his playing career with the Norfolk Neptunes as a running/cornerback.
Gray returned to his alma mater in 1973 as an assistant football coach and assumed the responsibilities of the defensive coordinator from 1974 to 1977. He also coached defensive backs at Norfolk State University briefly.
Throughout his career, Gray worked tirelessly to improve the lives of African American youth in his native Hampton Roads region of Virginia. He was a founding member of the Hampton Roads African American Sports Hall of Fame, a nonprofit organization established to encourage youth to pursue personal and collective excellence. In 19930, Gray was elected as its first president.
Gray was inducted into the University of Maryland Eastern Shore Athletic Hall of Fame in 1982.
William "Shorty" Gray passed away on June 23, 2002. He is survived by his wife of 38 years, Shirley Hounshell Gray, daughters Dr. Valerie Turner and Euler Edler, and son William C. Gray.
William Lassiter is a nationally recognized basketball coach and ambassador. During his coaching career at Indian River High School, he won four Regular Season Championships, appeared in eleven Regional Championships, and won one State Championship.
Lassiter began his coaching in the Hampton Roads region at Indian River Junior High School in Chesapeake. From 1974-1977, he won 72% of his junior varsity games and went undefeated during the 1976-1977 season.
In 1978, Lassiter was promoted to Head Boys Basketball Coach at Indian River High School. During the next fifteen years, he compiled an impressive record. Lassiter won four regular season championships and nine of ten District Championships. His 1987 team won the Virginia High School League (VHSL) Basketball Tournament. Lassiter's 1988 team had a 51 game winning streak and lost in the semi-finals of the Virginia State Tournament. His 1988 team also won the Sporting News Shootout Tournament held in St. Louis, MO and the Southwest Missouri State Tournament in Springfield, MO.
Lassiter's record garnered national attention. Consequently, he became a ten year consultant to the Boo Williams Summer League and Traveling Squad and was invited to serve as an Assistant Athletic Director at the
ABCD Camp in Princeton, NJ. He also has served as a clinician at the Annual Binghamton Basketball Coaches Clinic. While Lassiter was invited by the
to conduct basketball clinics in Turkey in 1990 and in Togo and Mali in 1991, he had to decline because of unrest in those countries.
Argyle "A.B." Whitfield was a highly accomplished scholastic and collegiate athlete. He enjoyed a distinguished high school career at I.C. Norcom High School in Portsmouth, VA. Whitfield on to become a three sport letterman at Elizabeth City State University.
, he was a four-year starter on the
' football team, captain of the wrestling team, and a member of the track and field team. Since he did not wrestle in high school, his excellence in this sport at the collegiate level is a testament to his intelligence and athleticism.
Whitfield set a Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) pass receiving record as a freshman and in 1964, as a senior, broke the then receiving record. He was the first ECSU CIAA heavy weight wrestling champion. Whitfield also was the CIAA discus champion for two years. In his junior year, he earned All-CIAA honors in football, wrestling, and track and field. Whitfield also received All-American recognition in these sports. He was selected as Elizabeth City State's Most Outstanding Athlete in 1964 and 1965.
Upon graduation, Whitfield played professional football with the Montreal Alouettes, Dallas Cowboys,
, and the
A. B. Whitfield has been inducted into the I. C. Norcom High School and Elizabeth City State University Halls of Fame. He was inducted into the CIAA Hall of Fame in 2007.