MGoBlue.com continues its Leaders and Best in 50 States [plus DC and PR] today with the selections that represent Mississippi and Alabama. They include DB Jeremy LeSueur, Michigan's first football player from the state of Mississippi (!!!) and Men's Track and Field athlete Charles Fonville.
Charlie Fonville was born in Alabama, but moved to Chicago at 11 and then Detroit for his senior year of high school. He was the 1947 and 1948 NCAA champion and one time world record holder in the shot put and a member of Michigan's Hall of Honor and the Men's Track & Field Hall of Fame. Based on the information on MGoBlue.com and Fonville's Wikipedia page, the statement below that he was a three time national champion is incorrect. Instead, he was a three time Big Ten champion and twice NCAA champion. Barring a debilitating back injury that he suffered just before the 1948 AAU Championships, he would likely have made the 1948 Olympic team and would have been the favorite for the shot put Gold as he had set the world record that year. Read the Wikipedia page in its entirety. It's chock full of great information on what it meant to be a world class African-American track & field athlete in the late 1940s. Here's an example:
Upon arriving at the Kansas Relays, Fonville and Harrison Dillard of Baldwin-Wallace College were housed at the home of a black family. His son wrote: "Without unpacking they decided to take a walk to the University of Kansas campus where they found the other visiting white athletes being given campus tours and their treatment far different than their own. They both considered leaving but decided to stay and compete. Charles called Ann Arbor, Michigan to tell them that he wanted leave, he got Don Canham who told him that he was 'Sent to Kansas City to represent the University of Michigan,' the conversation was short and clear." Fonville and Dillard both set new world records at the event.
There's also this great anecdote about a feat he and a teammate pulled off in a YMCA meet in the summer of 1945 between high school and his matriculation at Michigan.
Charlie Fonville and Jessie Nimmons competed in the Detroit YMCA Track Championship as a two-man team for the St. Antoine YMCA; Fonville won the 100m, 200m, high jump, and shot put. Fonville and Nimmons won the 440 yard relay, with each of them running 220 yard legs. They were later disqualified for not having four runners. They finished in second place at the meet; their disqualification in the 440 preventing them from winning.
Fonville earned a law degree from Wayne State and practiced law from 1954 to 1994. In 1954, he died at age 67 at the University of Michigan Hospital, a Wolverine to the end.
|MISSISSIPPI: Jeremy LeSueur|
Jeremy LeSueur (Holly Springs)
• Defensive back Jeremy LeSueur (2000-03) is the first U-M football player from the state and still ranks sixth in program history in pass break-ups (27). He played three seasons in the NFL.
|ALABAMA: Charles Fonville|
Charles Fonville (Birmingham)
Men's Track and Field
• Charles Fonville (1946-48, '50), a former world-record holder in the shot put, won three national titles in the event while at U-M.
• Marcus Knight, Football
• Frank Nunley, Baseball
• John Piersma, Men's Swimming and Diving
Charlie Fonville, Wolverine Shot Putter
Next up: Maine, Missouri and Arkansas. Arkansas will not be Ryan Mallett.