Ollie Matson

Ollie Matson

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Ollie Matson

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Ollie Genoa Matson II (May 1, 1930 February 19, 2011) was an American Olympic medal winning sprinter and professional American football running back who played in the National Football League, in 1952 and from 1954 to 1966. He graduated from George Washington High School in San Francisco in 1948.

College career

Matson attended the City College of San Francisco prior to transferring to the University of San Francisco. While in school, Matson became a member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity. In 1951, Matson's senior year at USF, he led the nation in rushing yardage and touchdowns en route to leading the Dons to an undefeated season. He was selected as an All-American and finished ninth in Heisman Trophy balloting that year.

Despite its 9-0 record, the 1951 San Francisco team was not invited to a bowl game. It was later reported that the Orange, Sugar and Gator Bowls - all in the American South - did not consider inviting any teams that had black players, and the USF refused to play without its two African-American teammates.

Drafted #1 by the Chicago Cardinals, he went on to share 1952 Rookie of the Year honors with Hugh McElhenny of the San Francisco 49ers. During his 14-year career, Matson also played for the Los Angeles Rams (traded by the Cardinals for nine Rams players following the 1958 season), the Detroit Lions and the Philadelphia...
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