Marshall Cropper: Eastern Shore Golf Hall of Famer

  • 1st African-American so honored

    Friday, February 2, 2018
    Marshall Cropper

    UMES men's golf coach Marshall Cropper is among six people in the Class of 2017 inducted into the Eastern Shore Golf Hall of Fame.  

    Cropper, who grew up in Accomack County, Va., is the first African-American to be so honored by the recognition program Eastern Shore Golf Magazine started in 2011.  

    Proceeds from the induction banquet at the Ocean City Golf Club, which attracted a gathering of 150 people including a contingent of UMES supporters, benefited the university's PGA golf management program.  

    Golf management student James Robinson received a $2,000 scholarship during the ceremony.  

    Cropper, a 1967 graduate of then-Maryland State College, studied physical education, played baseball and football - and found his interest in golf.  

    Cropper played wide receiver for three seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, including one year under pro football hall of fame coach Chuck Noll. He found gratification playing golf during summer training camp in Latrobe, Pa., best known as the late Arnold Palmer's hometown. Cropper fondly recalls using a driving range where he received tips from Palmer, widely considered the game's most popular player.  

    His encounters with the man affectionately known in golf circles as The King in the late 1960s paid off in the long run.  

    Having a passion working with youth, he used golf as a tool to teach life skills, and also used golf as a fundraiser during his NFL days to finance youth camps.  

    Following his stint in the NFL, Cropper eventually found his way back to Princess Anne, where he helped lay the groundwork for a degree program at UMES that would introduce more African-Americans to the game of golf.  

    In 2008, the PGA golf management program was established, making the university the nation's first historically black institution to offer a PGA-accredited degree.  

    Cropper's experience with fundraising continued to flourish with work for the Art Shell Golf Classic, an event that attracted a broad spectrum of golfers from all walks of life and introduced them to UMES.  

    Now serving as head coach of his alma mater's men's golf team as well as the university's Golf Academy coordinator, Cropper started a Hall of Fame Golf Outing this past fall. The star of the inaugural event again was Art Shell, his former Hawk teammate and a pro football Hall of Fame member.  

    True to his fundraising roots, the proceeds were set aside for men's golf.

    The University of Maryland Eastern Shore's athletics Hall of Fame Cropper inducted in 1984 to for his contributions to the Hawks.


    Other honorees inducted Dec. 2 along with Cropper were: James Apple, Bob Baldassari, Laura Dibbern, Edmund Quillen and Sandy Scitti.