One of Florida A&M’s (FAMU) most notable heroes in its 135 year history is Coach Jake Gaither. Alonzo “Jake” Gaither also referred to as ”The Great” is a centerpiece in the history of sports in Tallahassee. His career started in 1945 at FAMU, then called FAMC, where he “served as the head football coach until his retirement in 1969”
While his notable football coaching career is the highlight of Gaither’s life, he also contributed to the city’s other sports. Today, there are several buildings named after the Tennessee native including FAMU’s own Jake Gaither gym and a public golf course.
The golf course poured into the city as the only golf course that African Americans were allowed to play at. Since its grand opening. It has been a beacon of hope for people who felt uninvited into the sport due to the social and political climate.
The course opened in 1956 and 66 years later, it has been added to The National Register of Historical Places. This list includes many high-profile historical buildings such as the house Dr, Martin Luther King was born in.
The course is the center of many old stories including one from a gentleman who has asked to remain anonymous.
“My friends and I used to sneak on [the course] to bring one golf club and take turns hitting it all the time,” the gentleman said.
This course has shown to be a sweet spot for many residents in Gaither Neighborhood and from all over the state and has finally earned its rightful place in history. Tiant Dwint, supervisor of the Golf Course states that “It was a task drawn up by a historian named Scott Edwards who played golf at the course as a little boy and he helped the course get pushed into the registry.” “The best benefit of being featured in the registry is that our history will not be erased” which is ultimately the biggest goal for the course today.
It is vital to the historically rich Black community of Tallahassee that this golf course gets the recognition it deserves and shed light on Jake Gaither’s legacy and impact on the sports world one building at a time and that has finally been done.
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