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A Celebrated Sportsman

June 21, 2016

Henry Boyd Hucles Jr. (1897-1979)

One of the two collections I worked on as part of my summer 2016 practicum in the Archives and Special Collections department of Virginia Union University is Henry Boyd Hucles Jr. He was born November 11, 1897, in Petersburg, VA.  He was an American football, baseball and basketball coach and college athletics administrator. He studied Physics at Virginia Union University with honors and also earned All-American honors as a quarterback for the Virginia Union University football team. He became player-coach of the Panthers when he was a senior. He was the first student athlete to become a coach at Virginia Union University and also the first head football coach at Prairie View A&M University. In 1950 he earned MSc. from Springfield College, Massachusetts.

As I began work on Hucles collection I never imagined how much of an impression it could make on my life. His collection consistently reveals his personality. His career as a sportsman was translated in his daily life. He was a disciplined and organized person. This can be seen in the personal diaries he kept between 1926 and 1963. He was affable and sociable. The many photographs from various events he attended attest to it. His selfless service to the community was above par. He committed himself to serving others. His collection includes certificates of recognition from the American Red Cross and also from VUU Alumni Association. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Richmond Coliseum; therefore the collection contains a proposal document for the establishment of Richmond Coliseum in 1966 and a report from Coliseum Committee to Richmond City Council in 1965. He also served on committees to hire candidates for employment, hence the individual resumes to Coliseum Committee for employment in 1968.

He invested so much into VUU athletics that his name cannot go unmentioned in the history of VUU. His 50-year involvement with VUU athletics and his invaluable contribution to Prairie View University athletics earned him the induction into the Prairie View A & M Hall of Fame in 1987, the VUU Hall of Fame in 1988, and the CIAA Hall of Fame in 2001.

His endearment to others showed through the many congratulatory notes he received from people of all walks of life upon his retirement that were positively impacted by his life. This is revealed in the many congratulatory notes the collection contains.

Processing this collection has truly been a valuable experience for me. My greatest takeaway from this celebrated athlete’s life is captured in one of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s sayings, “do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” Henry Boyd Hucles Jr. had indeed left trails that are indelible. He died on  September 10, 1979 at Brooklyn, New York.

Come visit us and check out this and many other collections that we have.

Pearl Adzei-Stonnes

Intern (Summer 2016)

Virginia Union University, Richmond VA

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