In 1933, Robert “Bobby” Grier Sr. made history when he broke the Sugar Bowl color barrier when he took the field for the Pitt Panthers against the Georgia Tech Yellowjackets. Grier played despite the objections of the Governor of Louisiana, where the game was held, and the Governor of Georgia. Students, faculty, and players from both Pitt and Georgia Tech gave Grier support saying “No Grier, No Game.”
While Pitt would lose to Georgia Tech 7-0, in part due to a controversial pass interference penalty called against Grier, Grier’s achievement would go down as a milestone in the civil rights movement.
In 2019 Grier was elected to the Sugar Bowl Hall of Fame. In 2020 he was enshrined in the Pitt Athletics Hall of Fame.
Public domain image courtesy The Owl; University of Pittsburgh Yearbook.