Black History Month: First African-American scholarship athlete in Ga.

Emma Collins

Little known to many, Georgia Southern University was the first college in Georgia to offer an athletic scholarship to an African American athlete.

In celebration of Black History Month, it has come to attention that in the fall of 1967, Georgia Southern first began recruiting black athletes. One of those athletes was a native of Savannah, Ga. and a Beach High School graduate and talented basketball player named Roger Moore.

Moore first enrolled in Georgia Southern in the summer quarter of 1967 in what was called a “trial semester.” From the first moment he stepped onto the court, Moore was a star athlete. A year later, only one other African American basketball player had been signed onto GSU’s basketball team—a student named Gene Brown. In 1969, one additional African American athlete had been added to the team, Charlie Gibbons. By 1972, there were a total of five African American athletes on the team.

During his three-year career at Georgia Southern, Moore was tenth on the all-time scorer’s list. He scored 1,200 total points during his time on the team, averaging 14.3 points and 16.5 rebounds as freshman. As a sophomore, he averaged 16.3 points and 13.7 rebounds, and as a junior, he averaged 19.4 points and 13.4 rebounds. He was also named to several tournament teams as well as voted the Most Valuable Player in the Roanoke, Va. tournament.

Moore went on to play for Columbus College in Columbus, Ga. following his departure from the Georgia Southern basketball team.