From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Matthews, Steve

(born: 1944) 

In 1963, the University of Kentucky Athletics Board announced that all sports were open to all, regardless of race, effective immediately. Seventy students showed up for the first day of spring football practice in 1964, among them Steve Matthews, a pre-law student at UK and the only African American in the group. His presence made Matthews the first African American to try-out and participate in the off-season drills of an SEC football team.

Matthews was a transfer student from the University of Detroit, where he had tried out for the freshman and varsity teams. He was a sophomore at UK when he tried unsuccessfully to become a fullback on the football team. Matthews was 5' 11" and weighed 200 lbs.

For more see "JPS Note" on the website; and "Kentucky has Negro gridder," Post-Herald, 3/26/1964, p. 2.


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NKAA Source: The Post-herald (newspaper)

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“Matthews, Steve,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 23, 2024,

Last modified: 2020-10-21 18:49:12