NJ’s almost forgotten African-American hero
Since it's Black History Month, it's a good time to remember an outstanding member of the community and an incredible athlete.
Not too many people might remember the name Frank Budd. Budd was born in Long Branch in 1939 and graduated from Asbury Park High School, where he was a standout athlete in 1958.
Frank Budd was at one time known as the fastest human alive. He broke the record in the 100-yard dash in 1961 with a time of 9.2 seconds. As a kid, I remember the name Bob Hayes. He broke Frank's record two years later in 1963. When we were growing up, being the fastest person alive was a big thing to young boys playing basketball, baseball, football or just racing each other.
But I'd never heard the name Frank Budd. Budd had broken the record that stood for over 13 years, but his title was short-lived. Those who knew and loved him would say the same about his life. He died at the age of 74 in 2014.
He made it to the 1960 Olympics in Rome where he performed well in the 4X100 meter relay race.
Budd ran track on a scholarship at Villanova University and graduated with a degree in economics. His father wanted him to follow track rather than football, so when Villanova offered the scholarship, he went with track.
Following his graduation though, he returned to playing football and signed with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1964, playing 13 games in his first season. He later went on to play for the Washington Redskins.
He suffered from kidney and liver problems when he was young but still managed to persevere and become an elite athlete. It was a caller from Asbury Park who brought his name to our attention.
We were discussing notable people who went to your high school or from your town. Frank Budd, a 1958 graduate of Asbury Park High School and incredible athlete, father, grandfather and great-grandfather is one of New Jersey's standouts who should be remembered by all of us.
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