Black History Month Spotlight: Virginia Union’s Wiley "Soupy" Campbell

Like so many black college heroes from his era, the name Wiley “Soupy” Campbell isn’t nearly as well known as it should be these days. The Rankin, PA native was a four-sport athlete at Virginia Union in the 1930s and 40s, and he was a standout in each sport. He was quarterback on the football squad, shortstop on the baseball field, ran track and was arguably the best player on a VUU basketball team so good, they were known as “The Dream Team.”

Campbell routinely put up 20-plus points when many contest were won with scores in the 40s or 50s.

“The defense was a lot tougher back then,” Campbell told The Afro in 1977. “We couldn’t get inside, so we were forced to shoot the set shot from out near mid court. Of course, it was like shooting free throws for us.”

Campbell went on to play two years of basketball with the Washington Bruins and Richmond Bears before being drafted into the military near the end of World War II. He helped coach at Union for a while before going on to coach and teach in Richmond, VA until his death at age 60.

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