Black History Month Banner Program Honoree: Arthur Woodard

Arthur Woodard’s legacy as a football coach in DeFuniak Springs has lived on for 40 years after the school he coached for closed due to integration.

Born in Live Oak, Fla., Arthur lettered three years in football at Florida A&M University, winning one Black National Championship and three Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference titles under the legendary Jake Gaither. He was an All-SIAC selection as a tackle in 1951. Upon graduation, Woodard served as an officer in the U.S. Army.

In 1955, Woodard became the head football coach at Tivoli High School in DeFuniak Springs, a member of the Florida Interscholastic Athletic Association. In his 13-year career at Tivoli, his teams won more than 100 games and were undefeated in atleast five seasons. Tivoli also won the Northwest Florida Big Bend Conference title several times during Woodard’s tenure. He was named Coach of the Year in 1962-63. Many of Woodard’s former students from Tivoli have gone on to become attorneys, teachers, doctors, and judges.

When the FIAA schools integrated in 1968, Woodard moved to Miami, where he served as an assistant football coach and then athletic director at Miami Central High School. He earned a Master’s Degree and a Ph.D. in education administration and became an assistant principal at Miami Edison High School, and later principal at Miami Douglas MacArthur High School North.

Woodard is a member of the FAMU Sports Hall of Fame and is a former president of the Miami-Dade chapter of the alumni association. Inducted in the Florida High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame in 2008. Active in his community, he has been a board member of the Dade County Office of Community Development, a past president of the Model Cities Optimist Club, and director of Civitan of North Miami. Woodard is also a member of the National Alliance of Black School Educators.

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