Fritz Pollard was an early pioneer of professional football and was one of the first two Black players in the NFL. Among Pollard’s achievements, his most notable is the distinction he owns as the league’s first Black coach.
Born Fredrick Douglass Pollard on January 27, 1894 in Chicago, Ill., Pollard grew up in the German-Immigrant neighborhood of Rogers Park. One account says that Pollard earned the nickname “Fritz” from people in his neighborhood.
As one of the few Black families in Rogers Park, Pollard combated racism but excelled as a multi-sport athlete in high school at Lane Tech High.
Pollard won a Rockefeller Scholarship to the Ivy League institution, Brown University as a chemistry major. Starring for the university’s football squad, Pollard became the first Black player to star in the Rose Bowl after it was selected at the end of the 1915 season.
After leaving Brown, Pollard considered a…
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