Stanford University The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute
Ollie Matson, an All-Purpose Football Star, passes away at 80
February 23, 2011

Hall of Fame football player, Ollie Matson, died Saturday, 19 February in Los Angeles, Calif. He was 80.


Matson played football for City College in San Francisco, won a silver and a bronze medal in track at the 1952 Olympic Games and was one of the best all-around players in NFL history. While a student at USF in 1951, he was part of the undefeated Dons football team that was snubbed by postseason bowls, including the Orange Bowl, the Sugar Bowl and Gator Bowl, because two of its players - Matson and Burl Toler - were black. Adopting the slogan “Unbeaten, Untied and Uninvited,” the team stood by Matson and Toler when told they could be invited if the two black players would stay home. With a $70,000 dollar deficit, and no revenue from the bowls, USF shut down their football program, rather than support segregation in college football.


Matson was elected to six Pro Bowl teams and six All-Pro first or second teams, and was a co-winner of rookie of the year honors in 1952. In 1972, the first year he was eligible, he was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and in 1976, he was inducted into the National Football Foundation’s College Hall of Fame.

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