By David D. Medina
Stahle Vincent ’72 was among the first African-Americans to play football at Rice and was the first black quarterback in the Southwest Conference. Despite his many accomplishments as a student-athlete, he was ready to quit Rice in his junior year after injuring his arm.
But then he started receiving a barrage of congratulatory letters from teachers, athletes and administrators from around the state. He especially remembered one from an athlete who praised him for making it “cool to be a good student and a good athlete.”
That letter convinced Vincent to stay at Rice. “I realized it was not just about me,” he said. And thanks to that letter, Vincent now encourages his fellow alumni to extend a hand to current athletes “because it’s hard to be a student at Rice and it’s doubly hard to be a student-athlete.”
(From left) Darryl “Doc” King, Goya Qualls, Joseph Callier, Lola Tyler (widow of Mike Tyler), Merritt Robinson, Willis Wilson and Stahle Vincent display their souvenirs from the Trailblazers celebration. Wanna Hadnott also attended the event but was unable to stay for the photo. (Photo by Ray Redding/Texas Redd Images)
Vincent spoke April 1 at “Celebrating Trailblazers in Rice Athletics,” a dinner in honor of 15 black alumni who were among the first to compete in a sport at Rice. More than 125 people, many of them former and current athletes, attended the dinner in Rice Stadium’s R Room.
The event was part of the yearlong celebration of “50 Years of Black Undergraduate Life at Rice” organized by the President’s Office, the Association of Rice University Black Alumni (ARUBA), the Department of Alumni Relations, Rice Athletics and Public Affairs.
Bobby Tudor ’82, chair of the Rice Board of Trustees, said that black athletes have added tremendously to the quality of life at Rice. “We would not be today what …