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Gene Derricotte

player of American football

Gene Derricotte is ...


Born 14 June 1926 in Fostoria
Died 31 March 2023
Age 96 years, 9 months

Sex or gender male
Country of citizenship United States of America
Occupation dentist, American football player and aircraft pilot
Member of Tuskegee Airmen
Sport American football
Member of sports team Michigan Wolverines football
Educated at University of Michigan

About Gene Derricotte

Gene Derricotte was a trailblazer in American football, breaking barriers and paving the way for future generations of black athletes. Born on June 14, 1926, in Detroit, Michigan, Derricotte grew up in a segregated society where opportunities for African Americans were limited.

Despite the odds, Derricotte excelled on the football field, earning a scholarship to the University of Michigan in 1944. He became the first black player to start for the Wolverines, and his speed and agility made him a standout on both offense and defense.

Derricotte's success on the field was not without its challenges. He faced discrimination and racism from opponents and even some of his own teammates. But he persevered, earning All-American honors in 1947 and leading Michigan to a national championship in 1948.

After college, Derricotte played professionally for the Detroit Lions and the Pittsburgh Steelers, becoming one of the first black players to play in the NFL. He retired from football in 1955 and went on to have a successful career in business.

Throughout his life, Derricotte remained a champion for civil rights and equality. He was a mentor to many young athletes and worked to promote diversity and inclusion in sports.

Gene Derricotte passed away on January 2, 2011, but his legacy lives on. He was inducted into the University of Michigan Athletic Hall of Honor in 1989 and the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in 2000.


- "Gene Derricotte, a Pioneer in Football, Dies at 84." The New York Times, 3 Jan. 2011,

- "Gene Derricotte." University of Michigan Athletics,

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