Murray State Dedicates Stadium Room Honoring University's First Black Student-Athlete

Jan 13, 2021

A photo of Dennis Jackson at Murray State University in the 1960s.
Credit Courtesy Murray State Athletics

  Murray State University is honoring the university’s first African-American student athlete by dedicating a room to be used by student athletes inside the university’s football stadium.

A Murray State Athletics release Tuesday stated the Dennis Jackson Racer Room, to be housed inside Roy Stewart Stadium, will feature a nutrition station for current student-athletes, serve as a place to host prospective student-athletes and their families, and have an area honoring Murray State Athletics Hall of Fame inductee Dennis Jackson. The room is currently under renovation and will be outfitted with audio and video equipment, updated kitchen equipment, and mannequins donning Nike sports gear.

 

Murray State Athletics Director Kevin Saal in a statement said Jackson was a model student athlete who paved the way for thousands after him.

 

“He’s served Murray State University as an active alumnus and his community as a model leader and giver of his time. This naming opportunity continues to further our current and future student athletes’ education in the many years to come,” Saal said. “Through Dennis Jackson’s story, our student athletes will see daily, a defined pathway of tremendous success and impact, which started at Murray State University.  We are incredibly blessed and excited to honor Dennis Jackson and tell his story in the years to come.”

 

Saal in an interview said the idea for dedicating the room came several months in advance, and he hopes the room will be a gathering and recovery place for about two-thirds of the university’s athletes including football, baseball, and track and field. 

 

Dennis Jackson was the Racers’ top receiver on the 1964 football team, leading the team in receptions, yards, and touchdowns. He was an All-Ohio Valley Conference selection and is also known for scoring the game-tying and winning touchdowns in that year’s homecoming game against Tennessee Tech. 

 

Jackson, from Douglass High School in Murray, also excelled in track and field as a 100 yard and 200 yard sprinter. Jackson also served as a high school basketball official for 25 years, eventually being inducted into the Kentucky High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame in 1999. The Murray State graduate was inducted into the university’s athletics hall of fame in 2007. 

 

A celebration for the room dedication will take place March 21 ahead of the Racers’ football game against Tennessee State. 

A collage of photos of Dennis Jackson.
Credit Courtesy Murray State Athletics