Atmore’s Legacy: The First Female Football Player in America

So much great history surrounds our community, and it’s important that we be reminded of where we came from, and some of the great things our predecessors accomplished. One of those things is being home to the first female football player in the country! 

Luverne Wise

Luverne “Toad” Wise, a student as Escambia High School, became the first female to ever score in an American football game in 1939. 

It all began when Luverne and a few of her friends were watching the Blue Devils play from the sidelines. They were discussing how much the school spent on boy’s athletics as opposed to girls’ athletics, and that it didn’t sit well with them. The coach at the time, coach Andrew Edington, pointed out to the girls that there was nothing in the rules saying that they couldn’t play football. So, Luverne and three of her friends decided to try out for the Blue Devils. 

Coach Edington handed them a football to kick, and told them he’d put them in a scrimmage—he thought he’d scare the girls off with this, but when Luverne stepped up to kick, he got another idea. She kicked with such grace and accuracy, he decided he’d teach her to kick extra points in the games, and he knew she’d pack the stadium. 

Magazines, newspapers, and even movie newsreels across America shows Luverne in all her glory—a white blouse, blue skirt, and no pads. Escambia High promoted her on posters and flyers, and people came from as far as New Orleans—180 miles away—to see her play. 

Life After High School

Luverne went on to become an excellent golfer, but other than that didn’t participate much in sports after her high school triumphs. Her and her husband, Tony Albert, ran an Atmore sporting goods store for 39 years, and were well-loved in the community until she passed away at age 60. She was inducted into the Atmore Area Hall of Fame in June 2011. 

Luverne Wise was an inspiration to her three daughters, Susan, Rita, and Toni, and to girls all around the country, and we remember her legacy fondly. 

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