Chuck Roberts' letters of recommendation for induction into the UNM Alumni Lettermen's Athletic Hall of Honor were outstanding. Larry Jasper wrote, "Chuck was considered to be a pioneer and trailblazer for the black athletes at the University of New Mexico." He was one of the first black athletes to be given a scholarship to the university. He was recruited from Davenport, Iowa, to play the position of quarterback. He enrolled as a freshman in 1956 and finished his career in 1959.
Chuck was indeed a gifted and talented athlete and possessed an accurate, strong throwing arm. He had the ability to throw the long, mid-range and short passes with pinpoint accuracy. He was a tremendous passer.
"At the end of his football career at UNM, Chuck held UNM records for single season touchdowns as well as single season interceptions and career interceptions," recalled Letterman Glen Gares. Though probably remembered for his contributions as quarterback, Chuck enjoyed playing defense and contributed to UNM victories on both offense and defense and earned Skyline Conference Honorable Mention in 1958 and the Golightly Award in 1959.
Included in his nomination packet was a letter of support from none other than legendary, NFL Coach Marv Levy, who was the head football coach at UNM in the late fifties. Levy devoted a special chapter in his book, "Where else would you rather be?" that provided an historical perspective on football at UNM. Chuck Roberts played a pivotal role in that history. Levy stated, "My own coaching career, in college and in the National Football League, extended over a period of forty-seven years, and yet Chuck Roberts remains in my memories as one of the most outstanding players and individuals whom I have coached and with whom I associated over that extensive span of years."
Roberts signed a free agent contract with the Los Angeles Rams in 1959 but a knee injury kept him from playing professional ball. Roberts' career after football included teaching and landing a job at UNM with the Dean of Students Office. He would hold a position there for 22 years advancing to Dean of Students. He was instrumental in helping students establish the Black Studies program at UNM. He also held responsibilities of mentoring, advising and talking to demonstrators during a time of challenging times in the late sixties.
Karen Glaser, former Dean of Students and Associate Vice President of Student Affairs noted, "Chuck was one of our most beloved professional staff members. He knew no stranger at the university and he managed to spend quality time with each and every person who came to see him. Not only was he highly regarded by the university community, but he was and outstanding role model and mentor to the African American community both on and off campus. He cared deeply for all of our students and was always more than willing to do what he could to help make their college careers and their individual lives a success."
Chuck put his two degrees from UNM to work. His bachelor's and master's in Physical Education prepared him to further many community service boards such as: Sickle Cell Anemia Board, UNM Alumni Association Board, Goodwill Industries Board, City Parks and Recreation Board, Metropolitan Advisory Board, Albuquerque and state chapters of the NAACP, and Treasurer of the "Jocks Before Civil Rights" athletic group.
"Where else would you rather be than right here, right now?" The university is fortunate to have Chuck Roberts with us here, right now.