Clyde E. Chesney, a walk-on player who went on to earn an athletic scholarship and become the first African-American to start for NC State in football, died this week. He was 63.
Chesney, a Fayetteville, N.C., native who earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at NC State, went on to a successful career as a university administrator. He retired in 2009 as the interim associate dean for extension at Tennessee State University.
Before that, Chesney served for 10 years as administrator of the Tennessee State University Cooperative Extension Program in Nashville. He was a 24-year veteran of the N.C. Cooperative Extension System, working as a district leader, natural resource specialist and 4-H specialist. He also worked as an assistant professor of recreation resources administration at NC State.
At NC State, Chesney excelled on the football field and in the classroom. He was on an academic scholarship when he walked on to the football team as a defensive player in the spring of 1969. He earned an athletic scholarship prior to the 1970 season and lettered at NC State from 1969-71. Chesney was selected to the 1971 ACC All-Academic Football Team. (Marcus Martin, a defensive back from Convington, Va., was the first African-American to play for NC State, coming off the bench in a game against South Carolina in 1968.)
Chesney earned a bachelor’s degree in conservation in 1972 and a master’s degree in recreation resources administration in 1975 before getting his doctorate in resource development at Michigan State University.
Chesney stayed connected to NC State, serving as president of the Black Alumni Society from 1987-89 and then on the board of directors of the Alumni Association.
Family will receive friends at 11 a.m. Monday at The Temple Church, 3810 Kings Lane, Nashville, Tennessee, 37218. Funeral services will follow at noon. Internment will be on Tuesday.
In lieu of flowers, charitable donations may be made to The Temple Church Endowment Fund or the NC 4-H Foundation (4-H Retirees Scholarships Fund).