AMES, Iowa- This year Iowa State University is taking a whole year to observe the life, and death of legendary football player Jack Trice.

His legacy started when he became the first African-American student athlete on campus in the fall of 1922. He was on the football team. Iowa State had a game at Minnesota, where some said Trice was targeted due to his skin color. He died a few days later in Ames.

Someone discovered a note he had written to himself in the pocket of his coat. That note has cemented his legacy at Iowa State for always doing your best.

“The letter was so amazing because it really gives you some insight as to what he was thinking what he was feeling before that big game,” said Dr. Tonia Younger, The Iowa State University Dean of Students, and Chair of the 100 years Jack Trice Commemoration. “He acknowledged that there were going to be some great expectations on him, he acknowledged that he was carrying the weight of his family, of his race.”

Trice came to Iowa from Ohio in 1922 along with his high school football coach and five other teammates.

“During that time, the 1920s, there weren’t many African-Americans even attending college, let alone being an athlete,” said Younger.

George Trice, whose grandfather was a first cousin to Jack Trice, first learned of the Trice legacy when he was a kid.

“In 1988 Iowa State in Ames, they flew the Trices out, so my grandfather and my cousin were all out here for the unveiling of the statue, so that’s the first time I heard about it. I was 8-years-old I had chickenpox and I couldn’t come,” said Trice. “In 1997 my football coach was reading the paper as he always did, and the Cleveland Plain Dealer had an article saying that Iowa State was changing the name of the stadium to Jack Trice Stadium, Cyclone Field.”

After eventually coming to Ames and graduating from ISU, he still continues to work on the legacy of his family name.

Two years ago I start a nonprofit called the Trice Legacy Foundation, in my cousins name because Iowa State has done a great job recognizing my cousin for football, what I want do is show the academic portion.”

Trice wanted to study animal husbandry, to go back down south and teach ex-slaves how to sharecrop. There will be a series of events over the next year to mark the legacy of Jack Trice.