Looking back at SRU’s first Black professor

He led track & field to the 1968 PSAC championship

Published by Matthew Glover, Date: March 1, 2023
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Following the first Black student and first Black athlete in 1951, SRU’s first Black professor arrived much later in 1967 when the Rockets needed a new head coach.

Edward Norris taught at SRU from 1967 to 1969 as a professor in the health and physical education department and coached the men’s cross country as well as the track and field teams.

As head coach, he led the Rockets to the 1968 PSAC track and field championship with several wins over West Virginia University and the University of Buffalo. SRU placed 3rd in the meet.

Before coming to SRU, Norris spent most of his career at Texas Southern University teaching in the physical education department.

He first taught there from 1957 to 1968 before going back after his time at SRU for 1972 and 1973. He also taught for one year at Jackson State University in Mississippi before retiring as a full professor from TSU after 30 years.

Norris, a WWII veteran, was born June 9, 1919, in London, Ontario, Canada and married Annie Lee Richardson. He passed on Jan. 10, 2008, after a “lengthy illness.”

He earned his undergraduate from Central State University in Ohio and his doctorate in physical education from Indiana University.

In 2005, SRU athletics honored Norris as the first Black faculty member with a Pacesetter Award.

Little other historic records were found on Norris’ life and career at SRU. Information on his life was gathered from a news article, an obituary, and various university archives. Attempts to find a knowledgable interviewee were not fruitful.

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