It should not come as a surprise that two gentlemen that have paved new ground during their athletic careers would maintain that pattern in their respective post playing days. Former Grambling State quarterbacks James “Shack” Harris and Doug Williams (both proteges of legendary head coach Eddie Robinson) were both trained to never settle for less than excellence. This duo established “The Shack Harris & Doug Williams Foundation”, a 501 (c)(3) back in 2005, implemented their annual Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in 2010 and in a short period of time have partnered with the Pro Football Hall of Fame to bring recognition to deserving contributors from Black Colleges.
The PFHOF is in the midst of a $900 million improvement of their existing facility in Canton Ohio, and earmarked to become a permanent component of the expanded venue will be the Black College Football Hall of Fame. “We’re excited about the vision of David Baker (PFHOF-CEO) and Joe Horrigan (PFHOF Executive Director) to see that Black College Football is so significant to the history of the game” stated “Shack” Harris. “We’re excited to make Canton Ohio and the PFHOF our permanent home”. The Monroe, La native was the first Black signal caller to begin the season as a starting quarterback in the pro league. He would go on to become the first African American quarterback to start and earn MVP of the NFL Pro Bowl (1974). Shack serves as a Trustee of the BCFHOF as well
Williams became the first Black quarterback to play in a Super Bowl (XXII) and would go on to re-establish the passing standards in the 42-10 victory over Denver. Also a Trustee of the BCFHOF, he stated “we’re in a position now with our hall of fame that once we get to Canton, our contributions will never be forgotten because it’s in good hands. We have a great number players (that played at HBCUs) that have been recognized, but so many more that have not. So we still have a lot of work to do”.
Horrigan added “David Baker and I agreed that Black College Football players are a big part of our heritage. So (in conjunction with the expansion of the PFHOF) we pitched that aspect to our Board of Trustees and they thought that it was a good idea as well