Julius Whittier, the primary African-American soccer letterman on the College of Texas, whose household later sued the N.C.A.A. on behalf of him and different faculty gamers who suffered mind accidents, died on Tuesday. He was 68.
The college introduced his dying on Thursday however didn’t say the place he died. No trigger was given, however Whittier had been identified to have Alzheimer’s illness.
Whittier, a standout on the Texas freshman group, joined the Longhorns’ varsity soccer squad in 1970, one season after Texas fielded the final all-white nationwide championship group within the historical past of school soccer. He starred for 2 seasons at guard earlier than switching to tight finish as a senior in 1972, when he caught what he stated was the one landing go the Longhorns threw that season, in opposition to Texas A&M.
With Whittier, Texas received three Southwest Convention titles from 1970 to 1972 and was 28-5 over that span underneath the Corridor of Fame coach Darrell Royal.
Whittier was among the many first black athletes to obtain a scholarship to Texas. He earned a legislation diploma there and have become a longtime prison prosecutor for the Dallas County district lawyer’s workplace.
His sister and caregiver, Mildred Whittier, informed The Dallas Morning Information that Whittier had been compelled to surrender his skilled life as his psychological capacities declined.
Full data on survivors was not instantly obtainable.
His household, attributing his sickness to his soccer profession, sued the N.C.A.A. in federal court docket in 2014 looking for as much as $50 million for faculty gamers from 1960 to 2014 who suffered mind accidents and who didn’t go on to play within the Nationwide Soccer League. The case is pending.
Whittier was born on July 7, 1950, in San Antonio and had been a star participant for the built-in Highlands Excessive Faculty. His father, Oncy, was a physician. His mom, Loraine, was a schoolteacher and group activist who had led protests in opposition to an area grocery chain that prohibited black girls from turning into cashiers.
Whittier’s uncle Edward Sprott had been head of the N.A.A.C.P. in Beaumont, Tex., the place his home was bombed, Whittier informed The New York Instances in 2005.
Whittier’s dad and mom had been afraid of what may occur to him on the Texas campus in Austin.
“My dad was scared for me,” he informed the The Related Press in 2007. “He’d identified some guys who struck off into ‘white’ territory and paid for it with their lives.”
The college dropped its ban on black gamers in 1963, however integration had been sluggish. A couple of black gamers joined the Longhorns, however none stayed lengthy sufficient to make the varsity group in an period when freshmen had been ineligible to play underneath N.C.A.A. guidelines.
Whittier landed in a campus of practically 35,000 college students, solely 300 of whom had been black.
“I’m a loner up right here,” he informed The San Antonio-Specific Information in early 1970, noting that his coaches had been treating him properly however hinting at having issues with a few of his teammates.
“Texas appears to recruit a variety of boys from small cities, and most of them have small minds similar to their fathers,” he stated.
A couple of months later, a gaggle of sportswriters masking the Southwest Convention seemed into his social life. The lead paragraph of a Sept. eight, 1970, article by The Related Press famous that “Whittier, Texas’s black offensive guard, is rooming with a white participant and sometimes dates white ladies.”
However nobody on the college had stated something to him in regards to the relationship, Whittier informed The A.P. “I don’t assume it’s something uncommon,’’ he stated on the time. “Nicely, uncommon, however not irregular.”
Whittier appeared to embrace his position as a trailblazer in his senior season. “I wished to see if the parable about U.T.’s racism was true,” he stated of his choice to attend the college. “If it was, I wished to see what I might do to vary it.”
At Texas, Whittier studied dance whereas incomes a bachelor’s diploma in philosophy, The Morning Information reported. He danced with the Austin Civic Ballet earlier than leaving in 1974 to enroll on the college’s new Lyndon Baines Johnson Faculty of Public Affairs, the place he earned a grasp’s diploma in 1976.
He briefly labored for the Boston mayor’s workplace earlier than returning to legislation faculty at Texas. He graduated in 1980.
By taking part in at Texas, Whittier was in a position to obtain recommendation from former President Johnson, who would invite Coach Royal and some gamers to lunch at his ranch from time to time. It was Johnson who recommended that Whittier proceed his research at his namesake faculty of public affairs.
Whittier’s success opened doorways between Texas and black athletes. In 1971, Texas recruited the highest participant within the state, the operating again Roosevelt Leaks. By 1974 it had signed Earl Campbell, who would win the Heisman Trophy in 1977 and go on to a Corridor of Fame profession within the N.F.L.
Whittier was inducted into college’s Corridor of Honor in 2013.
The New York Instances contributed reporting.