Star Athlete Aubrey Lewis Died 15 Years Ago Yesterday


Yesterday (December 10) was the 15th anniversary of the death of Aubrey Lewis, a star athlete (who may or may not have cheated his way onto his high school football team) and a member, in 1962, of the first Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) class to include blacks.

Wikipedia reports how he may have stretched the truth to get on his high school football team: “When he first tried out for the Montclair (New Jersey) Mounties team, a doctor performing a physical exam detected a rapid heart rate. Lewis, who had had a heart murmur since childhood, said, ‘Oh, I ran all the way here from my house.’ He was allowed to play.”

During his football career there, he scored 49 touchdowns and rushed for nearly 4,900 yards while helping lead his team to two state championships. He also played on undefeated basketball teams, The New York Times noted in his obituary.

It’s no wonder he was offered scholarships by 200 colleges!

He chose Notre Dame, where, after using the same ‘trick’ as he had to get on his high school team (he told the college doc he’d run to the exam all the way from his dorm), he played halfback for two years. He also participated in track and field events, and set state records in three different events – and was the first black to be named captain of a sports team at Notre Dame.

He was chosen to play professionally in the 1958 player draft, but an ankle injury prevented him from pursuing that career path.

Unable to play football any longer, he took up teaching, back in his home state of New Jersey. He taught in his hometown (Montclair) as well as Newark and Patterson before, in 1962, he was recruited by the FBI, becoming a member of that agency’s first class to include African Americans.

Five years later, he was offered a position at Woolworth’s as an executive recruiter. He remained with that company, rising to the rank of senior vice president, until he retired in 1995.

Shortly thereafter, though, that heart murmur caught up with him, and eventually contributed to his death in 2001. He was 66.


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