Edward Stanley Temple
Ed Temple was the head coach of the Tennessee State women’s track and field team from 1950 to 1994. His athletes, known as the Tigerbelles, earned 30 national titles. His tutelage led 40 athletes to the Olympics, including track icons Wilma Rudolph and Wyomia Tyus. Ultimately, the Tigerbelles won 23 Olympic medals. Temple was also the head coach of the U.S. Olympic Women’s track and field team during the 1960 and 1964 Olympics.
Carolyn Peck is the first African American woman head coach to win a national championship when she led the Purdue women’s basketball team to a national title in 1999. The Purdue Boilermakers had a 28-1 overall record during the 1998-1999 season. This was her first head coaching job after serving as an assistant coach for Purdue, the University of Kentucky, and Tennessee. She became the Naismith College Coach of the Year in 1999 and she became the youngest head coach to win a national title.
In 1984, Georgetown Hoyas men’s basketball head coach John Thompson became the first African American head coach to win a national title. Two years prior, he became the first Black head coach to get their team to the Final Four. He coached several notable players including Allen Iverson, Patrick Ewing, and Dikembe Mutombo. Thompson was also the head coach of the 1988 Olympic men’s basketball team, leading the squad to a Bronze medal.
Tyra Perry is currently the only Black softball head coach in the Big Ten conference, sitting at the helm of the Illinois at Urbana-Champaign softball team. She has been coaching Division I softball for 20 years, having head coaching jobs with Birmingham Southern College, Western Kentucky University and Ball State. Perry helped the Illini softball team reach the NCAA Regional Qualifier three times. She is a two-time Sun Belt Coach of the Year.