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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
Birth Year : 1910
Death Year : 1960
In 1941, Jack Claybourne won the Kentucky Negro Wrestling Championship from Hallie Samara in Louisville, KY. The following year he lost the title to King Kong Clayton. Jack Claybourne won the Negro World Heavyweight, and the Light Heavyweight Wrestling Titles in the United States. He was a recognized champion in Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. Jack Claybourne was born in Mexico, Missouri, according to author T. Hornbaker in Legends of Pro Wrestling. Jack Claybourne committed suicide in Los Angeles, CA on January 7, 1960. For more on Jack Claybourne see D. Burkholder, "Black History Month: Pro Wrestling's Black Stars, Part 1," OnlineOnslaught.com, 02/05/02; Jack Claybourne in Obsessed With Wrestling; and Black Stars of Professional Wrestling by J. L. D. Shabazz.
Subjects: Wrestling, Wrestlers, Suicide
Geographic Region: Mexico, Missouri / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Los Angeles, California
Mitchell, Jim "The Black Panther"
Birth Year : 1911
Jim "The Black Panther" Mitchell was a popular wrestler said to be from Louisville, KY, as well as several other locations. He began wrestling in the late 1930s. He was a regular in Southern California. Mitchell was the first African American in modern professional wrestling. During the initial years of his career, he wore a mask and kid gloves, and he was only allowed to wrestle Japanese and Hindu wrestlers. He did away with the mask in the 1940s. In 1949, he fought against Gorgeous George and was declared the loser. There were audience members who felt that Gorgeous George had delivered cheap shots and bad sportsmanship, and a riot erupted at the Olympic Auditorium in downtown Los Angeles. A rematch was attempted in the early 1950s. Jim Mitchell continue to wrestle until about 1955, he is listed among the greatest top ten Black Wrestlers. For more see "Coda: Gorgeous George Versus the Black Panther" in The Great Black Way by R. J. Smith; Black Stars of Professional Wrestling by J. L. D. Shabazz; and "Jim Mitchell" in Jet, 12/25/1952, p.64. See photo image of Jim "The Black Panther" Mitchell at the Online World of Wrestling website.
Subjects: Wrestling, Wrestlers, Riots and Protests Outside Kentucky
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County / California
Birth Year : 1943
Harold Poole was born in Louisville, KY. He attended Shortridge High School in Indiana, where he was the starting quarterback on the football team and a star athlete on the track and wrestling teams. Poole was 19 years old when he won the Mr. Universe competition. The next year he was the first African American to win the Mr. America competition. He was the youngest contender in the inaugural Mr. Olympia competition in 1965, and is the only person to have competed in the first three Mr. Olympia competitions. He has won a number of bodybuilding awards. Poole retired from competition in 1992. For more see 2004 IFBB Hall of Fame Inductees; and J. Roark, "Featuring 2004 Hall of Fame Inductee: Harold Poole," Flex, November 2004.
See photo image at Harold Poole.com
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Body Building, Football, Track & Field, Wrestling, Wrestlers
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Indiana