Posted: 1:59 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013
As Al Featherston pointed out to us, while the upcoming Duke-Pitt game is unlikely to make history, that wasn’t always the case: in 1950, Pitt came to Duke, and for the first time, a black player took the field in what is now known as Wallace Wade Stadium and the first integrated game in North Carolina.
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Back then, Wallace Wade was the coach, and he called a team meeting to gauge player’s reactions or concerns. There were none, and the game went off without a hitch.
Wade and President Hollis Eden issued a statement:
“Yes, we have heard that Pittsburgh has a Negro on its squad. The coaches of each team have the unquestioned right to play any eligible man they choose to play. We have neither the right nor the desire to ask a coach to restrict or limit his team’s participation on the grounds of creed or color.
“Duke students and fans have a fine record of treating visiting teams courteously. We have every reason to believe this record will be continued.”
The 1976 meeting was not historic, but did feature future Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett,who, according to some present, gave the Duke crowd the middle finger during the game.