Former Eagles Guard First African-American to Sign NBA Contract
Harold Hunter, the first African-American player to sign an NBA contract and the first African-American to coach the U.S. Olympic basketball team, passed away Thursday (March 7) morning at his home in Hendersonville, Tenn. He was 86 years old.
Hunter was a stand-out guard from North Carolina College (now North Carolina Central University in Durham, N.C.). He led NCC to the 1950 Colored Intercollegiate Athletic Association (now the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association-CIAA) Tournament championship. On April 26, 1950, Hunter became the first African-American player to sign an NBA contract. Hunter was cut during training camp and never got the chance to play in the NBA. Hunter would, however, go on to become the first African-American to coach the U.S. Olympic Team in 1968. Hunter would also send 17 players to the NBA while head coach of the Tennessee State University Tigers basketball program. (Hoopedia/NBA.com)
He also coached the women's and men's basketball teams at Xavier, Dillard and Southern universities in New Orleans.
Hunter was inducted into the NCCU Athletic Hall of Fame in 1984, and received a Trailblazer Award from the Department of Athletics during NCCU’s Centennial celebration in Dec. 2009.
Hunter was born April 30, 1926, in Kansas City, Kansas.
Details regarding the memorial service are not available at this time.