Duffy Daugherty, MSU head football coach from 1954 to 1972, traveled the South recruiting student-athletes—including many who went on to become All-Americans—who were denied an opportunity to play in their home states. By 1966, the Spartan roster included 20 black players—an unprecedented number at a time when many major college football programs remained segregated.
When #1-ranked Notre Dame faced #2-Michigan State in 1966 at Spartan Stadium, the game was watched by 33 million viewers—college football’s largest TV audience at the time. Ending in a 10-10 tie, it became known as the ”Game of the Century.” MSU was awarded its second consecutive national championship, and Jimmy Raye became the first black quarterback from the South to win a national championship.
In the seasons that followed that historic game, college teams across the nation began to fully integrate. MSU and those 20 brave Spartan student-athletes changed college football forever.