Former Southern football great Warren Braden dies _lowres

Advocate file photo by TIM MUELLER Former Southern quarterback and longtime high school coach Warren Braden displays a Nokia Hall of Fame plaque on June 18, 1998, which shows a picture of himself returning a punt during his career at Southern University. Braden died Sunday night. He was 87.

Warren Braden, a 1998 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame inductee who quarterbacked the Southern University football team black college national championships in 1948 and 1949, died Sunday night.

Braden, a New Orleans native, was 87.

A two-time All-American for the Jaguars, Braden was the Most Valuable Player in the first interracial college football game, the 1948 Fruit Bowl in San Francisco as Southern blanked San Francisco State 30-0.

Southern posted records of 9-2-1, 10-2, 12-0 and 10-0-1 in his four seasons (1946-49).

Braden tried out for the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts after his senior season, but returned home to complete his college degree.

Braden spent the next four decades as a high school football and track and field coach, 24 years at Carver High School in New Orleans and 12 at Carroll in Monroe.

At 5-foot-8, 140 pounds, Braden was a football, basketball and track competitor at Xavier Prep in New Orleans, and led the school to two state football championships as a single-wing quarterback, defensive back, kick returner and punter. He was all-city and all-state for coach Alfred “Zack” Priestley.

At Southern, he played for Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame football coach Ace Mumford, who converted him into a T-formation quarterback and gave Braden the nickname “Jughead” because his head would not fit in a regulation helmet.

After taking over as the Jaguars’ starting quarterback three games into his college career, Braden started all but one game the rest of his days at Southern, and made the Tom Harmon and Pittsburgh Courier All-America teams as a junior and senior.

“Warren Braden was sort of a Joe Montana type,” said legendary Grambling coach Eddie Robinson in 1998. “He was a guy who would take charge, and he was a great ball-handler and field general.”

He is also a member of the Southern University Hall of Fame, the Allstate Sugar Bowl/Greater New Orleans Hall of Fame, and the Southwestern Athletic Conference Hall of Fame.

Arrangements were expected to be set Tuesday, with a service tentatively expected Saturday, said his son Bruce Braden.