Jefferson was hired away from Wilberforce (Ohio) in the mid '20s to build the Bluefield program. The school at the time didn't have more than 100 men enrolled, so Jefferson's teams rarely had more than 30 players.
It didn't matter. He ran the single-wing, and, in 1927 and '28, he led the Blues to back-to-back undefeated seasons and Black College national championships. A 21-game winning streak in that span included a 129-0 crunching of Morristown, when Bluefield gained its record 1,215 yards total offense.
Jefferson left Bluefield in 1930 for North Carolina A&T, but after two years in Greensboro returned to Bluefield for another two seasons, including an 8-0-1 year. He then moved to Virginia State in 1934 and built a CIAA powerhouse, winning league titles in 1936, '38, '39 and 1945. The 1936 team also won the national Black College title with a 7-0-2 record.
He wasn't done. Jefferson moved to Hampton Institute (now University) in 1949. In eight years there, Jefferson's teams went 32-41-3.
He also was the AD at Bluefield, A&T and Hampton. At Virginia State, he was the Dean of Men, among other administrative roles.
It was in that role, in 1946, that Jefferson and legendary basketball Coach John McLendon, then at the North Carolina College for Negroes (now N.C. Central, in Durham), helped to spearhead the establishment of the CIAA Tournament that has become a staple of postseason hoops.
Jefferson later became the CIAA commissioner, retiring in 1965, a year before his death.
Because Jefferson coached at black schools, his legacy is popularly realized, but perhaps his success can be translated in another fashion.
Legend has it that in 1927, after Bluefield's first unbeaten season and Black College title, Jefferson sent a telegram to Notre Dame Coach Knute Rockne, suggesting the Big Blues and 7-7-1 Fighting Irish - recognized by one poll as national champion - meet for a truly national title game.
The Irish coach never responded.
Contact sports Editor Jack Bogaczyk at ja...@dailymail.com or 304-348-7949.