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Linwood Sexton

March 23, 2012

  • First African-American to be named to the Missouri Valley All-Conference team three times (1945-46-47)
  • First African-American to graduate with a bachelor's degree in education from the Missouri Valley Conference (1948)

Linwood Sexton set statistical records and broke racial barriers while starring on the football field for the University of Wichita in the 1940s, competing as one of the first African-American football players for the Shockers and in the Missouri Valley Conference.

While competing in a segregated United States, Sexton endured not being allowed to compete in certain road games due to his race and staying in separate travel accom­modations but overcame such challenges to become the school's career leader in rushing and total offense, and a three-time All-Missouri Valley Conference  (MVC) selection.

The Wichita native is one of two Wichita State football players to have their jersey retired. Sexton was inducted into the Shocker Sports Hall of Fame in 1980, the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame in 2001 and most recently he was inducted into the MVC Athletics Hall of Fame in 2011.

While at Wichita, Sexton's average yards per play ranked third nationally in both rushing and total offense during his senior season in 1947, despite not being able to play a handful of games, such as at Tulsa and West Texas State, because of his race. He racked up 1,995 rushing yards in his career and 2,788 yards of total offense.

Sexton graduated in 1948 with a bachelor's degree in education and taught sixth grade for four years at a Wichita elementary school. He remains passionate about the benefits of education.

Sexton has served on numerous boards, including the Kansas Board of Regents and the Wichita State University Board of Trustees.  He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Wesley Medical Center, the Shocker Sports Hall of Fame Board of Directors and is a member of the WSU Foundation's National Advisory Committee.