SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME SPOTLIGHT PROFILE
WATCH: Jimmy Black led the most prolific prep football team in the history of Brevard County – the 1972 Merritt Island Mustangs. Black was at the controls of the ’72 Mustang offense that scored 426 points in their 10 regular season games – an incredible 42.6 points per game.
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA (Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame) – Jimmy Black led the most prolific prep football team in the history of Brevard County – the 1972 Merritt Island Mustangs.
Due to youth league weight restrictions, Black didn’t even start playing football until he was in the eighth grade at Edgewood, where he lined up at wide receiver, but by the time he graduated from Merritt Island, he had led a Mustang juggernaut that is considered by many to feature the best backfield in Florida high school football history.
Black joins 2019 fellow Hall of Fame inductee, Waldo Williams and 2014 inductee, Leon Bright, to become the first entire backfield ever inducted into the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame as individuals.
“We were a well-oiled machine and the best-coached team anywhere.”
Head coach Eddie Feely was a big part of Jimmy’s personal success, and to this day, Black marvels at being able to have played for guys like 2012 Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame inductee Gerald Odom and longtime Mustang coach Gerald Hodgin.
Over the course of two seasons, 1971 and 1972, Merritt Island lost one game. That game was a 27-25 defeat to eventual state champion Fort Pierce Central.
“The lessons we learned in defeat benefited us more than I ever imagined heading into that magical 1972 season,” said Black.
“We were focused and razor-sharp from day one and nothing was going to stop us from winning a state title. And nothing did, in fact, nothing or no one came close.”
Black was at the controls of the ’72 Mustang offense that scored 426 points in their 10 regular season games – an incredible 42.6 points per game.
The defense allowed just 6.5 points per game, which means they went 10-0 during the regular season and beat opponents by an average of 36-points per game.
“I played in two fourth quarters during the entire regular season,” said Black.
Coach Feely’s departure from Merritt Island to join the staff at Florida State, and a recruiting visit from future Super Bowl-winning coach Bill Parcells would lead Black to Tallahassee to play college football.
Feely and Parcells also worked their magic on Williams and Bright as well as they also signed on with the Seminoles.
Black attended Florida State from 1973 until 1977, but would nearly walk away from the game and quit following the death of his father, Robert. He returned to FSU in 1976 and won the starting job under new head coach Bobby Bowden.
Black graduated with a degree from FSU with a degree in accounting and then backpacked around Europe and Australia. He would then marry the love of his life, Lucy, in 1985 and backpack around Europe and Australia one more time.
The couple has two children, Alissa, and R.J. and Black is now retired from Boeing.
After being informed of his impending induction into the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame, Black paid tribute to his backfield mates of those glory days long ago.
“There is no way I would be here without Neon ( Leon Bright) and Waldo (Williams),” said Black.
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