Bullock, Matthew W.
Football coach: 1904, 1907, 1908
b. 1881, Dabney, N.C.
Born in Dabney, N.C., on Sept. 11, 1881, to Jesse and Amanda (Sneed), Matthew Bullock moved to Massachusetts with his family at the age of eight. Despite the hardships of poverty and discrimination, Bullock distinguished himself as a student athlete in the public schools in Boston and later at Everett High School in Everett, Mass., earning election as captain of the baseball, football, and track teams as a senior in 1900. Everett also served as coach of the football team, making him possibly the first African American coach as a predominantly white high school.
In the fall 1900, Bullock entered Dartmouth College, where he again excelled as both a student and athlete. A member of Paleopitas, the senior honors society, he specialized in broad jump and high jump for four years and was one of the college's top football players for three years.
After graduating from Dartmouth in 1904, Bullock entered the law school at Harvard, earning a LLB in 1907. To pay for school, he worked as a football coach. In 1904, the Athletic Board at Massachusetts Agricultural College raised $251.03 to hire Bullock for the season, making him one the first salaried heard coaches in America and probably the first African American head coach at a predominantly white college. The results for his first year were good as the team ended with a 5-2-1 record against competition that included Holy Cross, Dartmouth, Brown, Wesleyan, and Tufts. The college newspaper, the College Signal lauded Bullock's role: “A student of football and a fine conditioner of men, he put his heart and soul into the task and throughout the season had the team 'coming.'”
With MAC unable to find a salary for him, Bullock coached at Malden High School in 1905 and 1906, which MAC struggled on the field, but in 1907, he was hired back, leading the team to a 5-3-1 record in 1907 and 3-3-3 in 1908, with a comparatively young squad. After his time at MAC, Bullock worked for four years as the Director of Athletics at Atlanta Baptist College (Morehouse), for two years practicing law in Atlanta, and for two years as Dean at the Agricultural and Mechanical College in Normal, Ala. During the First World War, he served as Educational Secretary for the YMCA and in the 369th Infantry in France.
Returning from the military, Bullock enjoyed a long career in public service, including stints as executive secretary of the Boston Urban League (1919-1921), Special Assistant Attorney General for Massachusetts (1925-1926), and as a member of the Massachusetts Board of Parole (1927-1948).
- Berryman, Jack W., “Early Black leadership in collegiate football: Massachusetts as a pioneer,” in Michal F. Konig and Martin Kaufman, eds., Education in Massachusetts: Selected Essays. Westfield, Mass., 1989.
- "Mathew Bullock, Pioneer Coach" Massachusetts Collegian (Nov. 29, 1972) and Part II. Bullock leaves the gridiron Massachusetts Collegian (Nov. 30, 1972)
- Boardman, Arnold, 100 Years of Everett High School Football, 1893-1993. S.l., 1993.
- University Archives (RG 18/2)