Bobby Marshall

Recent Articles

Early Black Gopher athlete earned place of honor


If statues of an old sportswriter, a fictional television character, and comic strip figures can be put up all around town and at various sports venues, surely one honoring the U of M’s first Black athlete could be erected and installed outside the Gophers football stadium as well. History Professor Steven Hoffbeck, in a 2004 Minnesota History Magazine article, included several accolades he discovered in newspapers of the early 1900s: Bobby Marshall was called “one of America’s greatest all-around athletes.” The local Minneapolis newspaper in 1999 named him 51st of the top 100 sports figures of the 20th Century and 10th greatest in Minnesota state history. As a Minnesota Gopher football player, Marshall “catapulted into the realm of sports legends in Minnesota,” wrote Hoffbeck. His performance in a 1903 game against Michigan helped his school earn its second-ever Big Ten title. He once was carried off as a hero after he kicked a game-winning field goal. Continue Reading →

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Another Black athlete gets posthumous recognition

William Henry “Bill” Binga until last weekend was resting in an unmarked grave for over 60 years. Now, that is no longer the case. Binga (1869-1950) played professional baseball before he and players like him were banned solely because of their skin color. As a result, he played barnstorm ball throughout the Upper Midwest and on teams based in Chicago, Philadelphia and Detroit. He also played on the Minneapolis Keystones (1908) and the St. Continue Reading →

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Was it Tubby Smith’s fault?

Gophers miss 2014 NCAA Basketball Tournament


A year ago this month, the Minnesota Gophers Men’s Basketball team played in the NCAA Basketball tournament. The African American Head Coach, Tubby Smith, had retooled the team. It was on the move again. But even when 15-1, Star Tribune started a series of negative, anti-Tubby columns. To his credit, Sid Hartman didn’t agree (writing the day before Smith was fired that it would be a “big mistake by the Gophers”). Continue Reading →

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