In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Super Bowl, five former football stars -- all graduates of Compton High School -- presented NFL Golden Ball Awards to their alma mater at a special event in the school’s auditorium.
Compton High’s football coach Calvin Bryant also presented the alumni with special Hall of Fame style jackets and Board President Satra Zurita presented them with resolutions in their honor.
The former Super Bowl players included: Marvin Fleming ‘59, Green Bay Packers and Miami Dolphins (Super Bowl I, II, VI, VII and VIII); Robin Cole ’73, Pittsburg Steelers (Super Bowl XIII and XIV); Mike Richardson ’79, Chicago Bears and San Francisco 49ers (Super Bowl XX and XXIV); Roy Jefferson’61, Baltimore Colts (Super Bowl V) -- represented by his sister Audrey Jefferson; and Solomon Miller ’82, New York Giants (Super Bowl XXI). Special guests included the Green Bay Packers’ Datone Jones, who also graduated from Compton High School.
The family of former NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle (Compton High’s Class of ’44), who helped organize the first ever Super Bowl in Los Angeles in 1967, also participated in the event.
“Compton Unified is proud of the great number of students who have gone on to college and careers in athletics,” said Superintendent Darin Brawley.
“Whether it’s on or off the field, Compton High has the great distinction of having alumni who not only made their mark in the world, but who are still making a difference,” he said. “The District looks forward to seeing many more of our graduates making an impact as executives or athletes in professional sports.”
Marvin Fleming (above), who was the first to play in five Super Bowls, shared his personal experience and wisdom with Compton High students. He encouraged them to work hard on their goals.
“I had a lot of great things happen to me. It’s not from luck but from working hard,” he noted.
“You can do much more than I did because you have the resources, but you have to work. Keep doing what you think is best. I live by the motto, 'the harder you work, the luckier you get.’”
Robin Cole (above), who won Super Bowl XIII and XIV with the Pittsburgh Steelers, said he is proud to give Compton High School another reason to be proud by presenting his alma mater with one of five Golden Ball Awards.
“You guys can do anything you choose to do if you’re willing to dream big enough, if you have an imagination that’s big enough, and that you’re willing to do the work after it,” he advised. “You have to have self image, self esteem, and self worth.”
Cole said he wanted to use his experience and accomplishments as examples for students to follow.
“To be able to come back and share, and be a real human being for people to see, especially our youth, and help them believe they can be great…that’s amazing,” he said. “This school has produced people of value like doctors, community leaders, and attorneys. They all graduated from Compton High,” he said.
Michael Richardson (above), who won Super Bowl XX with the Chicago Bears, reminded students to pick the right friends.
“My friends played football, so that’s what I did. You have to watch who you hang out with because you will ultimately do some of the things they do,” he said. “
He also credited his alma mater with teaching him valuable life lessons.
“I didn’t learn how to fall and get back up on the football field. I actually learned that in the classrooms here at Compton High School because I had teachers who cared about me. If I earned a ‘C’ they told me I needed to do better. Football’s been really great to me, but Compton High has been even better.”
In recent years, Compton High as well as other CUSD high schools produced several NFL stars including Dominguez High School and Stanford University graduate Richard Sherman, who won Super Bowl XLVIII with the Seattle Seahawks.
Compton High School is also the alma mater of NBA star DeMar DeRozan of the Toronto Raptors and baseball Hall of Famer Edwin Donald “Duke” Snider, who won two World Series titles with the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers.
CUSD has not only distinguished itself with athletes, but also many scholastic “stars” including Compton High alum Edgar Preciado (Class of 2014) who currently studies at Princeton University on a full-ride scholarship, and Dominguez High School’s two 2015 Gates Millennium Scholars, Luisa Rosa Silva and Amir Teixeira.
“Compton High School’s legacy with the NFL reaches back over 70 years to Commissioner Pete Rozelle and many great athletes including the five men honored today,” said Satra Zurita, Compton School Board President.
“Our community has long embraced the importance of athletics as part of developing the whole child, a tradition that continues today in the Compton schools.”