More About the Author
Michael Hurd is an author, freelance writer, and historian who was born in Texarkana, Texas and grew up in Houston, where he graduated with honors from Evan E. Worthing High School in 1967. In January 1968, he began an eight-year stint in the U.S. Air Force as a medic and served one year (1971) at Phu Cat Air Base, Vietnam. He was honorably discharged in May 1976 with the Air Force Commendation Medal.
He attended the University of Texas at Austin from 1976-1979 majoring in journalism. In the spring of his junior year, 1979, he accepted a job as a sportswriter with The Houston Post to begin his professional career, but in 1997 returned to UT-Austin to complete coursework for his bachelor's degree. However, both his parents and several relatives attended historically black colleges - his mother, Emily Hurd, was a graduate of Bishop College (Marshall, Tx.) and his father, James Hurd, Sr., attended Virginia State University (Petersburg, Va.).
At the Post, Michael Hurd's primary beat was covering small college sports, including those involving the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC), a league comprised of historically black college programs. He was compelled by that experience to write his first book, "Black College Football, 1892-1992," (Donning) the only book that comprehensively documents the legacies of football programs at historically black colleges. The book was initially released in 1993 and was updated and revised for a second release in 1998.
Because of his research and writing on black college football, he is recognized as an expert on the subject and for more than a decade served as a member of the National Football Foundation's Honors Court for Divisional Players, the group that selects small college players to the College Football Hall of Fame. The Hall began inducting players and coaches in 1951, but only included "Divisional Players," those from historically black colleges and other small colleges, since 1996. That move was helped by Hurd's research and book, which was used as the primary source for identifying possible Hall of Fame candidates from black colleges.
His most recent book, "Collie J., Grambling's Man with the Golden Pen" (St. Johann Press), was released in February 2007 and is the biography of Collie James Nicholson, the visionary publicist whose press releases and feature stories on Grambling football reached national audiences at a time when black college sports got no exposure, even from local newspapers. As a result, Nicholson put the tiny northern Louisiana school on the map and in the minds of sportswriters, pro football teams, and football fans around the country as legendary coach Eddie Robinson built one of the most powerful programs in college football history. With the help of Nicholson's publicity campaigns, dozens of Grambling players went on to careers in pro football.
Nicholson was also the first-ever African American combat correspondent for the U.S. Marine Corps when he served in the Pacific Theater in World War II.
Hurd has also written for the Austin American-Statesman and for 11 years worked as a sportswriter for USA Today, beginning in 1982 as a member of the newspaper's founding staff. He returned to the American-Statesman in 1993 as an assistant city editor. He has covered an extremely wide variety of sports events, from auto racing and equestrian shows to surfing and volleyball. Most notably, however, he has covered events of the National Basketball Association (including 8 Finals), the National Football League (2 Super Bowls), Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, the 1984 Summer Olympics, and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), including major football bowl games and postseason basketball tournaments including the Final Four.
As a metro desk reporter, he chronicled events such as the Million Man March and has written in-depth stories on social issues such as affirmative action, and the academic performances and graduation rates of black athletes at major universities.
He is co-editor-in-chief for the Texas Black History Preservation Project (www.tbhpp.org) which is documenting the almost 500-year history of African Americans in Texas as an online encyclopedia.
Hurd has spoken on various black history topics to community groups and at high schools as well as the University of Texas-Austin, UT-San Antonio, UT-El Paso, Prairie View A&M, Livingstone College (Salisbury, North Carolina), and PBS. He also was a keynote speaker to the East Texas Historical Association annual convention, and the Prairie View Interscholastic League Coaches Assn. Hall of Honor banquet.
He was featured in the film "First and Goal in the Bronx," a CBS Sports documentary about the first black college football game played in New York City - Grambling vs. Morgan State at Yankee Stadium in 1968, and was included in the video "Rites of Autumn, the Story of College Football."
When he's not researching or writing, Hurd is in the kitchen as an accomplished dessert chef, known as "CinnaMan," specializing in making gourmet cheesecakes.