Frederick Douglass "Fritz" Pollard (January 27, 1894 – May 11, 1986) was the first African American head coach in the National Football League (NFL). Pollard along with Bobby Marshall were the first two African American players in the NFL in 1920. Sportswriter Walter Camp, ranked Pollard as "one of the greatest runners these eyes have ever seen." Like many great athletes of his day, Pollard also excelled in basketball, playing for and often organizing amateur and semi-pro teams.
At Brown Pollard played intramural basketball because the Athletic Director opposed the game at Brown, claiming that the gym was too small. Pollard played some games for the New York St. Christopher Club; one of his teammates was renowned Rutgers athlete Paul Robeson.
Pollard organized a team, the Providence Collegians, to play in New York against The Incorporators, the 1917 Colored Basketball World's Champions. The Collegians consisted of Pollard and his white classmates from Brown. The match-up between a mostly white team of upper-class college boys and a team of black New Yorkers and scheduled for the Manhattan Casino was widely publicized. Presumably, the two teams would split the gate. Brown President William Faunce got wind of the game, however, and warned the Brown students that their eligibility for athletic competition might be jeopardized. The game was cancelled.
While Pollard played and pro football in Akron, he organized a semi-pro basketball team, the Askin Specials for the off-season. Little is known about this team, however.
Pollard was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established for African Americans.
In 2005, Pollard was inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The Fritz Pollard Award is presented by the Black Coaches Association to the male college or professional coach (in any sport) of the year.