While growing up in the projects of Portsmouth, Ohio, Chuck Ealey realized very early in life that sport was the only vehicle that would help him rise above poverty and be THE driving force that would lead him to getting an education.
His mother Earlene was an influential figure in his life and although she only had an eighth grade education herself, she instilled in Chuck a firm belief that staying in school would allow him to find a better life for himself and to provide for his own family one day in ways that she couldn’t provide for him.
Earlene taught Chuck many valuable lessons in life that would go on to serve him so well in the world. In his own words, she provided him with a strong sense of love and helped him to understand the power of connection, trust, respect and having a vision.
When Chuck reflects back on early days, he is filled with pride in knowing that he had surrounded himself with such a supportive community of athletes while growing up. A few of his pals would go on to play professional baseball, but Chuck’s path led him in a different direction. One fateful day, while tearing it up on the basketball court in a high school match, a University of Toledo scout spotted him and recognized the enormous talent he had. However, it wasn’t a basketball recruiting scout, but instead a football scout. After that game, Chuck was offered a full ride football scholarship as a QB at the University of Toledo and would amazingly go on to having an undefeated record of 35 straight wins which still stands today as the best in NCAA history among starting QBs.
What defines Chuck the most, however, is not his athletic accomplishments or becoming the first African-American QB to win a professional championship in football, but rather the life that he has led away from sport…..getting a university education for himself and being the father, husband, and grandfather he is, as well, the work he has done with his foundation which inspires People To Discover and Embrace Their Undefeated Spirit To Better Themselves and Their Community, One Play At A Time.
Chuck Ealey’s life led him from America to Canada to pursue a dream of setting up a good life for himself and his family. He played professionally for 7 seasons in the Canadian Professional Football League winning one grey cup. He passed for over 13,000 yards and 82 touchdowns in his career. The impact he had on the game inspired a generation of amazing QBs such as Warren Moon, Damon Allen, Tracy Ham, Condredge Holloway and many more to follow in his footsteps.
In 2012 a documentary was made about Chuck’s life and his journey. The documentary is called Stone Thrower- The Chuck Ealey Story which highlights his battle with racial intolerance that led him playing professional football in Canada, where he proudly remains to this day. You can find the documentary online, as well a link to it can be found in the show notes of this episode.
Connect With Chuck
Chuck's Documentary: A Stone Throw