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Walter Gordon


Walter Arthur Gordon

Inducted 1975

Date of Birth



Atlanta, GA


University of California (1916-1918)


A powerful blocker and devastating tackler, Walter Gordon was the University of California's first All-America interior lineman, playing both guard and tackle on the first of Coach Andy Smith's Wonder Teams at Cal. The school had just returned to football after reverting to rugby for several seasons. World War I was on, and Smith hardly passed a week without losing one of his players to active military duty. Despite these frustrating circumstances, Smith began molding winners. In 1918, Gordon's senior season, California rolled to a 7-2 record and began to flash the brilliance which would mark Golden Bear squads throughout the 1920s. Gordon drew attention as a lead blocker on offense and a hard-hitting tackler on defense. In a 33-7 victory over Oregon that year, Gordon tore gaping holes in the enemy lines and drew high praise from his coach. Gordon was a native of Atlanta, the grandson of a slave, and one of the first black football players on the west coast. After obtaining his degree, Gordon joined the Berkeley police force. He was the first black officer on the staff. He went to law school and obtained a law degree in 1922. While practicing law, he took time in the fall to work for the California football staff as a scout and, sometimes, assistant coach. In 1944, he was appointed to the California Adult Authority. In 1955, President Dwight Eisenhower appointed him governor of the Virgin Islands. That same year the University of California named him Alumnus of the Year. In 1959, he was named a federal judge.


Height 6'0

Weight 196

Career Highlights

  • 1918 Third Team All-America
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