A Sports Civil Rights Story

Many consider St. Augustine High School the model for high schools across America.  From forcing integration of the Louisiana’s high school athletic association to creating more national scholars than any other high school, St. Aug is a trailblazer.  Ranked as the best school in Louisiana and in the top 50 in America, the school continues to set educational standards. 

Oyd Craddock is a highly accomplished graduate of the school.  After a 31-year career at IBM, Mr. Craddock returned home and took over the helm at St. Aug.  He served as the school’s president and offered a steadying hand during his three-year tenure. Craddock also wrote, produced and directed a film about St. Aug football.  During the 70’s, St. Augustine was the dominant football school at the highest division in the state of Louisiana.  Led by famed coach, Otis Washington, the Purple Knights executed a running and short passing attack that was the precursor to the West Coast offense that dominated the NFL for over a decade.

The film, Before the West Coast, chronicles the rise and success of the 4 state championship teams.  You see interviews with community leaders, opposing coaches, former players  and legends of the game, including Coach Wash himself.  According to a press release from the City of New Orleans, “Before the West Coast” is the “storyline of all-black St. Augustine High School breaking through racial barriers and integrating Louisiana’s all-white athletic league following a 1967 Federal Court order.  The film chronicles the school’s response to adversity and the innovative leadership of Head Football Coach Otis Washington.  St. Augustine’s perseverance in public competition with other Catholic schools was one of the change-agents to helped New Orleans win the game over the era of segregation.”

“Before The West Coast” will be shown at the Broad Theater Sunday February 25, 2024, for a 4:30pm showing as part of a notable series of Black History Month events.


Contact: Writer/ Director Oyd Craddock


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