Condredge Holloway was known as the “Artful Dodger” in college at the University of Tennessee, but he’s one Dodger who chose a career in professional football instead of baseball.
A man who has earned more than his share of accolades in life since first stepping foot onto the Knoxville, Tennessee campus in the fall of 1971, Condredge Holloway has the distinction of being the very first African-American member of the University of Tennessee baseball team and the first African-American football quarterback in the Southeastern Conference (SEC).
In high school, Holloway was an outstanding pro prospect from Lee High School in Huntsville Alabama, evidenced by his selection in the first round (4th pick overall) by the Montreal Expos in the 1971 Major League Baseball Draft. Though the Expos put forth an intense campaign to sign Holloway (which included attempts by Negro League legend Buck O’Neil), Condredge opted instead for a two-sport career at Tennessee.
How highly did colleges regard Holloway’s baseball skills? Was football the primary discussion with recruiters and baseball an afterthought?
“Baseball was a part of any and all contact with schools like Alabama, Auburn, Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt, Georgia, Arizona State and of course, Tennessee”, Holloway recently told me.
Besides these schools, Condredge Holloway was also recruited by HBCU schools Alabama A&M (he was born and raised on the A&M campus), Alabama State and Tennessee State.
In football, Condredge Holloway will always be associated in the minds of Tennessee fans with the razzle-dazzle offense he quarterbacked during his undergraduate days of the 1970s. Holloway was a master at packing excitement into every play, whether it developed into a pass or ground-gaining scramble.
In his three seasons (1972-1974) as a starter, Holloway directed the Vols to three post-season bowl games and an overall record of 25-9-2. He ended his football career with the best interception-to-attempt ratio in Tennessee history throwing just 12 interceptions in 409 attempts.
Holloway left Knoxville and went on to play 13 seasons in the Canadian Football League compiling impressive numbers while playing for the Ottawa Rough Riders, Toronto Argonauts and British Columbia Lions. He threw for more than 25,000 yards and rushed for another 3,167 while scoring 155 touchdowns. He was chosen the league’s MVP in 1982.
As impressive of a career Conredge Holloway had in football, his best sport may have been baseball.
Holloway grew up a fan of baseball and most admired Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Mickey Mantle. He would ultimately include Buck O’Neil in this group as his favorite “baseball person, recruiter and friend.”
The decision to accept a scholarship to Tennessee and turn down Montreal’s offer of a pro baseball future was not an easy one. However, as Holloway says, “the choice was between baseball and education, not football.”
On the roster as a freshman in the spring of 1972, Holloway split time between spring football and baseball. By the time he was a senior in 1975, Condredge garnered All-SEC and All-America honors as a shortstop.
Holloway finished his baseball career with a .353 batting average and still holds the school record with a 27-game hitting streak. In tribute of his accomplishments, he was recently named to Tennessee’s All-Century Baseball Team.
After his professional playing days ended, Holloway returned to the University of Tennessee and earned his degree. He currently holds the position of Assistant Athletic Director for Student-Athlete Relations & Lettermen at his alma mater.
In addition to his most recent induction into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, Condredge Holloway is a member of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, University of Tennessee Baseball Hall of Fame and the city halls of fame for Toronto, Ottawa, Knoxville and Huntsville.
Condredge Holloway, Tennessee Baseball
|Year Avg AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI|
|1972 .500 4 1 2 0 1 0 1|
|1973 .323 127 31 41 1 0 5 27|
|1974 .331 142 40 47 9 1 1 15|
|1975 .396 144 32 57 5 0 2 20|
|Totals .353 417 104 147 15 2 8 63|
Our thanks to the University of Tennessee’s John Painter, Associate Sports Information Director and Melissa Anderson, Graduate Assistant Baseball Contact, for their assistance. And a special thank you to Condredge Holloway for his candor in answering my questions.