1958 - Charlie Franklin became the first Black basketball player from Oregon recognized on the all-Pacific Coast Conference first team. Franklin averaged a team-best 16.6 points per game in 1956-57 and again led the Ducks with 17.6 points per game in 1957-58. He set a school record with 36 points in a win over Washington State. He made 18 free throws against the Cougars, which is still tied for the school record. Franklin matched his then-school record with 36 points against Washington in 1958. Greg Ballard owns the current school mark with 43 points in 1977. Franklin also was a tenacious on the glass, as his 747 career rebounds is seventh-most in UO history.
1977 - Debbie Adams became the first Black women’s basketball player at Oregon and the first to earn all-district honors. Adams was named all-district and earned all-Northwest Basketball League recognition in 1979, 1980 and 1981. She also competed on the track and field team. She is the first Black woman at Oregon with a 30-point game and the first to reach 1,000 career points. Adams tallied 38 points against Seattle in 1980, which is still tied for third on the UO all-time scoring list.
1991 - One of the best multi-sport athletes ever at Oregon, LaReina Woods became the Ducks’ first Black volleyball player. Woods racked up 1,149 career digs, 10th-most in UO history, and led the team in digs for three straight seasons from 1992-94. She was also a star on the track, where she tied the school record by winning the 1993 100-meter Pac-10 title in 11.58. Woods also ran on the Ducks’ record setting 4x100 and 4x400 meter relay teams.
1997 - Ernie Kent, a former star player at Oregon, became the first Black head coach of any sport at UO when he was named the leader of the men’s basketball team. Kent became the third Black men’s basketball coach in league history to win a Pac-10 regular season title in 2002 and the second to win the Pac-10 men’s basketball tournament in 2003. He was named the league’s coach of the year in 2002. Kent, who led the Ducks from 1997-2010, tallied 235 career wins, the second-most in UO history.
2002 - Edniesha Curry became the first Black Oregon women's basketball player to be taken in the WNBA Draft, going in the third round to the Charlotte Sting. Curry has gone on to be an inspiration for all women in her career. After two seasons as an assistant coach for the University of Maine women's basketball team, Curry was hired to be an assistant for the Maine men's team. When hired, she was the only female assistant coach for an NCAA men's team. “She is extremely talented at developing players, especially within the context of defensive and offensive systems,” said Maine head coach Richard Barron. From there, Curry made an even bigger jump, in 2021, becoming the first ever woman to be an assistant coach for the Portland Trail Blazers.
Directions to next stop - Autzen Stadium
Continue North on University Street into the heart of the UO campus. Take a right on 13th Street and head East back toward Agate Street. Take a left turn on to Agate Street and cross Franklin Boulevard. Keep going North past the new Knight Campus, heading toward the river. Continue on the Ruth Bascom Path and cross over the Dave and Lynn Frohnmayer Bridge, often referred to as the Autzen footbridge. Stay North on the path through Alton Baker Park with your eye on the giant yellow O of Autzen Stadium. Cross Leo Harris Parkway to the South plaza of Autzen Stadium. The home of Oregon Ducks football opened in 1967. The football team played its home games at Hayward Field before moving to its new home on the other side of the Willamette River.