New trail depicting the
first African American Professional Football Player
Charles W. Follis
the “Black Cyclone from Wooster”
The Wayne County Convention & Visitors Bureau is pleased to announce the opening of The Charles Follis Trail, named for local hero and First African American Professional Football Player, Charles Follis (1879-1910). The trail highlights important locations and milestones in Follis’s life including his boyhood home, church, family burial plot, and the Wooster High School Football Field that bears his name and where Follis earned the name the “Black Cyclone.” The Follis Family moved to Wooster from Cloverdale, Virginia when Charles was a young boy. He began his career as captain of the first Wooster High School Football team where he also starred in baseball and track. He went on to play baseball for Wooster University, later the College of Wooster. In 1902 the six-foot, 200-pound Follis signed with the Shelby Blues Football Club making $10.00 per game; that contract made him the first African Pro Football Player. On April 5, 1920, at the age of 31, Follis died from pneumonia. He is buried along with many of his family members at Wooster Cemetery. More information can be found at blackcyclone.org including information on the up-and-coming movie about his life and a map of the newly created trail.