Complete A-Z list

Complete list of sources

Recent Additions / Updates

About NKAA

NKAA Brochure

African American Library Directors in the USA

Links of Interest


staff only

University of Kentucky Libraries

Notable Kentucky African Americans Database

<Martial Arts>

Return to search page.

Carr, Fletcher
Birth Year : 1950
Fletcher Carr, a native of Erie, PA, was the first African American, full-time head coach at the University of Kentucky (UK). He was also one of the first African American head wrestling coaches at the college level in the U.S. In 1973, Carr had been hired as an assistant football coach at UK and continued in that capacity, and also became the head wrestling coach in 1973 after starting the UK wrestling program. He did both coaching jobs until 1976, after UK won the Peach Bowl, then Fletcher Carr became dedicated solely to wrestling. He recruited his brothers Joe Carr and Jimmy Carr to the UK wrestling team. During Fletcher Carr's tenure, the UK wrestling team won two SEC Championships (1976 & 1977), was runners-up in 1980, and Fletcher Carr was twice named SEC Coach of the Year. The first SEC Championship was won in 1976, the UK team defeated Florida 89-82 1/2. The top performers were Kurt Mock, Tim Mousetis, and Joe Carr. Coach Fletcher Carr had also been a champion wrestler when he was a student at the University of Tampa. He was All-American and NCAA College Division Wrestling Champion in 1971 and 1972.  He was a two time Division II National Champion in 1972 and 1973. His college career record was 73 wins and the 1 loss that occurred during his senior year. He had 69 pins and set the record at the University of Tampa for the fastest pin at 0:25. In addition to playing football and wrestling at the University of Tampa, Fletcher Carr was the 1973 Southeastern Karate Champion. When he was a high school student at East High in Erie, PA, Fletcher Carr was All-City in football, earned four letters in track, and was the Erie City Wrestling Champion. He chose to attend college in Florida, and Fletcher Carr graduated from the University of Tampa in 1973. I was during the earlier part of 1973, that UK head football coach, Fran Curci, recruited Fletcher Carr to become an assistant football coach at UK [source: "Star gets coach post before finishing college," Jet, March 29, 1973, p.53]. Fletcher Carr was a former player for Coach Curci when he was head football coach at the University of Tampa from 1968-1970. Fran Curci was also a native of Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh) and had played both high school and college football in Florida. He was head football coach at UK from 1973 to 1981 which was the end of his college coaching career. Fletcher Carr left UK in 1983, which was the same year that he was inducted into the Tampa Spartans Hall of Fame. In 2016, Fletcher Carr was selected as an inductee to the Pennsylvania Wrestling Hall of Fame, Class of 2017. For more about Fletcher Carr's personal career see his entry at the Tampa Spartans Hall of Fame website.  See also Fletcher Carr in Fifty Years of the University of Kentucky African-American Legacy, 1949-1999; 100 Pioneers: African-Americans Who Broke Color Barriers in Sport by R. E. Lapchick; "Black Head Coaches: taking charge on major campuses," Ebony, May 1982, pp.59-62 [online at Google Books]; NCAA Official ... national collegiate championships records, 2000; Black Sports, v.2, 1972, p.44; and "Title IX eliminates an eleven year program and leaves the wrestling team pinned in a hold they can't escape," 1983 Kentuckian, pp.273-274 [online at Explore UK]. This entry was updated at the request of Fletcher Carr via phone interviews in November of 2016.

 

  See images of Fletcher Carr and the UK Wrestling Team 1973-1983, and find more information and records in Explore UK.
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Football, Migration North, Track & Field, Wrestling, Wrestlers, Martial Arts
Geographic Region: Erie, Pennsylvania / Tampa, Florida / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Dillon, Celita L.
Birth Year : 1967
In 2009, Master Celita L. Dillon, from Louisville, KY, became the first African American woman master from Kentucky to be inducted into the USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame. At the time, she had studied martial arts for almost two decades, and taught martial arts at the Newburg Boys and Girls Club. For more see D. Poore, "Newburg woman scores first in martial arts," Courier-Journal (Louisville), Neighborhoods section, 04/22/2009, p. 11A.

See video of Master Celita Dillon performing Pyong 2 on YouTube.
Subjects: Martial Arts
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Kelly, James M. "Jim"
Birth Year : 1946
Death Year : 2013
Born in Millersburg, KY, Jim Kelly was a martial artist who co-starred in the film, Enter the Dragon, starred in Black Belt Jones, and acted in other movies. He was also a professional tennis player and was a tennis coach. Kelly was an athlete in high school and participated in several sports. He briefly attended the University of Louisville, but left school to study karate. In 1971 he won the International Middleweight Karate Championship. Jim Kelly resided in San Diego, California. His family is from Millersburg, KY, where they resided for more than a century, and includes Kelly's great-grandparents William and Lizzie Lewis, both born in the 1840s according to the U.S. Federal Census. For more see Jim Kelly (II); and Jim Kelly (martial artist) a Wikipeida web site.

See Jim Kelly, Actor In 'Enter the Dragon," Dies, a NPR website.
Subjects: Actors, Actresses, Athletes, Athletics, Migration West, Tennis, Martial Arts, Movies and Films
Geographic Region: Millersburg, Bourbon County, Kentucky / California

 

Return to the search page.