RIP Clyde Chesney

A trailblazer in North Carolina State University’s history passed away this weekend.


Clyde E. Chesney, who as a scholar-athlete in 1969 became the first black student to start on N.C. State University’s football team and who later earned a doctorate and became an administrator at Tennessee State University, died Wednesday in Nashville at age 63.

Chesney became director of the Tennessee State University Cooperative Extension Program after working for 24 years with the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service. He had graduated from NCSU in 1972 with a degree in conservation and earned a master’s degree there in recreation resources administration in 1975, the university alumni association said in a notice to members.

In 1980, he earned a doctorate in resource development from Michigan State University.

Chesney was at NCSU on an academic scholarship when he walked onto the Wolfpack field in spring 1969. By the time the 1970 season began, he was on a sports scholarship as a defensive linebacker.

He lettered in 1970, 1971 and 1972. He was coming onto the team and receiving his scholarship just as the first black N.C. State player, Marcus L. Martin, was finishing his years. Martin, also a walk-on, is now a doctor at the University of Virginia Medical School in Charlottesville.

The alumni association said Chesney served as president of the school’s Black Alumni Society from 1987 to 1989 and then moved onto the association’s board of directors.

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3 Responses to RIP Clyde Chesney

  1. TheCOWDOG 04/22/2012 at 5:35 PM #

    And leave it to the N&O to screw up a piece paying respect to a man and our history.

    Clyde was a frequent and welcomed visitor to our ’72 team, but he had exhausted his eligibility in ’71.

    It was very difficult for a kid from Western NY to comprehend that Charlie Young and Willie Burden were the first two, signed African-Americans to State a mere 2 yrs. before setting foot on campus, myself.

  2. choppack1 04/22/2012 at 5:55 PM #

    Wow. These men truly were trailblazers…its hard for us to imagine what it must have been like not that long ago.

  3. highstick 04/22/2012 at 8:11 PM #

    I wish someone could “cough up” the name of the young fellow(that happened to be African-American) that was in my math class in the fall of 1963 who was on the freshman team. Rules were different then with freshman not playing on the varsity team, but I’ve always wondered why he wasn’t given the credit that he was due.

    That’s been so long ago that I cannot remember the details, but he was in that 6 day a week math class with me that fall.

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