CHESAPEAKE - Jerry Gaines, the Churchland senior who made a habit of piling up first places in track meets this spring, recorded two more important firsts Friday. He became the first Negro to sign an athletic grant at Virginia Tech and the first to be given a full grant-in-aid in track and field.
Marty Pushkin, track coach at Virginia Tech, announced the signing.
At Churchland this spring Jerry captained the baseball team and served as co-captain in track. He also lettered in football.
"I first became interested in Jerry during the indoor season," said Pushkin. "I feel he has a lot of track potential on the college level.
"This is the first full grant Tech has given to a trackman to the best of my knowledge. Usually we try to give partial aid. I think if Jerry concentrates on the hurdles and the broad and triple jumps he can do very well.
"I know he has won as many as five events in a dual meet but that's spreading it a little thin. You take the high hurdles. This was his first year in the event and he did 14.9. He'll have to work on his speed but he has strong leg action.
"He has good grades in school and wants to join the corps of cadets at Tech. I feel we're very fortunate to have him with us," concluded Pushkin who has been working to upgrade the track program in Blacksburg.
While Gaines is the first Negro signed by Tech - or by any Big Five school in Virginia for that matter - he is not the first to be sought. Along with Virginia and William and Mary, Tech was after Walter Bowser, the Huntington High football and basketball star.
Gaines transferred from Creswood after his junior year. He was a regular at defensive end on the football team and led the Truckers in scouring in indoor track, competing in the dashes , the jumps and the hurdles.
This spring he scored 160 points in six dual meets and set school records in the low hurdles (19.9), triple jump (45-3.5) and broad jump (22-6.75). He tied the high hurdled record (14.9) and turned in a 22.7 clocking in the 220. A pitcher-outfielder on the baseball team, he hit .315 and compiled a 2.70 earned run average.