Tommy Woods, ETSU’s first African-American basketball player, to be inducted into Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — Tommy Woods, ETSU’s first African-American basketball player, has been announced as a 2021 inductee of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame.

Woods was informed during a surprise meeting with ETSU Athletic Director Scott Carter, Voice of the Bucs Jay Sandos, and the hall of fame’s executive director, Brad Willis.

After graduating from Hall High Schools in Alcoa, Woods played for ETSU from 1963 to 1967. During his freshman year, he was subject to bigotry and discrimination, but by the time his senior season rolled around, he had become a beloved figure.

The hall of fame says Woods was not only ETSU’s first African-American player, he was also the first African-American player at a non-African-American Tennessee public institution.

Woods still holds the program record for rebounds (1,034), rebounds per game average (10.2), and single-game rebounds (38).

After ETSU, Woods joined the ABA’s Kentucky Colonels but had his career shortened by injury. He spent more than three decades as a probation officer for troubled youth, and following his retirement, as the athletic director of the Louisville, Kentucky Police Department’s athletic program. He is currently a special assistant to the mayor of Louisville.

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