Notre Dame’s legendary coach Knute Rockne said he had never seen a better punter than Sam Dunlap. Fielding Yost said his University of Michigan team couldn’t slow Dunlap down, much less stop him at running back.
Dunlap broke the color barrier by playing football for what was then Western State Normal School in 1915 through 1917 and again in 1919. This past summer members of Dunlap’s family came to Western Michigan University to remember his place in school history. Historian Tom Dietz, Curator Emeritus for the Kalamazoo Valley Museum, says Dunlap was a standout star from Benton Harbor, and was recruited by University of Michigan. But before he could play a game for the Wolverines, it was discovered that Dunlap “didn’t fit their profile.” That is to say, an African American.