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Black Sports History in Alabama: Larry Shears

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Larry Shears in his Charlotte Hornets uniform.

By Dr. Brandon Spradley |

Larry Shears is a 1967 graduate of Mobile County Training School (MCTS). He played four sports while attending MCTS and was one of the star athletes on the 1966/67 state championship football team. Shears received a football scholarship at Lincoln University as a running back and defensive back. After his collegiate career, Shears was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons. He played two years for Atlanta and played a few more years in the World Football League.


Larry Shears (23) in action as a cornerback for the Charlotte Hornets during the 1975 World Football League season.

During Shears’s senior year of high school (1967), a recruiting letter was developed by MCTS’s administration, which was intended to get the attention of The University of Alabama’s head football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. The letter was not successful, as Bryant simply responded that the south was not ready to recruit black athletes.

Name: Larry Shears

Primary Sport: Football

High School: Mobile County Training School (Mobile, Alabama)

College: Lincoln University

Dr. Brandon Spradley is the Chair of Sports Management at the United States Sports Academy. He led efforts in partnering with the Mobile County Training School Alumni Association to develop a black sports history project that captured the stories and recollections of former athletes and coaches from the 1950s – 1980s. 

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