Before a celebratory gathering outside Hughes Stadium, Morgan State officials removed the tarpaulins shrouding two 6-foot bronze statues.
Welcome back, Earl Banks and Eddie Hurt.
The sculptures of the college’s two iconic football coaches are the first to christen Legends Plaza, a commons area overlooking the football field. Both men led the Bears to greatness. Hurt coached Morgan State from 1929 to 1959, during which the team won 72 percent of its games — including one streak, during the 1930s, of 54 straight games without a loss.
Banks followed. Gravel-voiced “Papa Bear,” as players called him, coached Morgan State for the next 14 years, until 1973. His teams once won 31 in a row and played in four bowl games, including the Tangerine Bowl in 1966, the first postseason game involving a historically black college team. Morgan State defeated West Chester State, 14-6.
The statues were fashioned by George Nock, an alumnus and former running back who played for Banks and, later, in the NFL.