Charles Trumbo was a multi-sport athlete at Bourbon County High School in Paris before arriving at Kentucky State University in 1965.
While he focused on football at Kentucky State, he also participated in intramural track and basketball during his four years on the Hill.
His intramural basketball team, he said, won 39 games and lost one over the course of three years. He contends that the team is the best intramural basketball team in the history of Kentucky State.
Since Trumbo left in 1969, he’s kept coming back to the sidelines to cheer.
“I come to every home basketball game and football game they have,” Trumbo said.
It’s not just those events, however.
“I guess, conventionally, people go to basketball and football games,” Trumbo said. “But I support all of them. I’ve been to cross-country meets, track meets, volleyball games and women’s softball. From time-to-time I attend them all.”
Trumbo is a presence on the sideline, making an impression on student-athletes and coaches, alike.
Fatimah Shabazz, a former Thorobred athlete and current interim head coach for cross country and track and field, has known Trumbo for 11 years.
“Before I knew who Mr. Trumbo was, I knew him as the Kentucky State alum who came out to all of our cross country meets,”
Shabazz recalls when Trumbo attended a cross country meet at Berea College.
“We could always find Mr. Trumbo at almost every mile mark yelling for us to run faster,” Shabazz said. “In 2013, Mr. Trumbo reported to the registration table of our home meet and ran the entire 8K (five-miles) beating several athletes from our rival school (Central State University).”
That meet was the moment, Shabazz said, Trumbo became her favorite Kentucky State alumnus.
Trumbo recalls a Berea cross country meet, as well. He recalled watching coaches from other schools sprint along the course to cheer on their runners. The Kentucky State coaches at the time, he said, weren’t moving.
“I sprinted over there with the rest of those coaches so I could cheer Kentucky State runners on,” Trumbo said.
What is it about the University on the Hill that keeps Trumbo coming back to the sidelines?
“When I came out of high school, this school was the only school that gave me an opportunity to play football,” Trumbo said. “I came out of high school in 1965. The first African-American was recruited to and signed to play football at the University of Kentucky was in 1966.”
Football and meeting his wife are the reasons he loves Kentucky State so much, he said.
“They gave me an opportunity to continue my education and play football, a sport that I dearly loved,” Trumbo said.
The love for Kentucky State runs in the family. Trumbo’s daughter, Mary Jackson, now serves as a development services coordinator on campus. His son-in-law, Jamaal Jackson, is the men’s basketball head coach.
“I love this University. I love it dearly,” Trumbo said. “I’ll love it until the day I die.”