Huntington, WV Black History

Edward Milford Starling,Jr

Associate Athletic Director at Marshall University

Edward Milford Starling Jr. was the first Black basketball coach and first Black assistant athletic director at Marshall University.

Starling was a graduate of Liberty High School in Williamson, West Virginia State University (College) and earned a master’s degree from Marshall University.

Starling came to Huntington in 1969 when he accepted the basketball coaching position. He remained in that position until 1970 when he became the first Black assistant athletic director at the school. He later became the first Black associate athletic director. He remained in that position until his retirement 18 years later.

During his time in the Athletic Department, Starling led the football program through tumultuous times. He was the glue that helped hold the program intact after the 1970 plane crash. He also held the position of interim athletic director twice. Marshall University honors him each year by giving the ‘Ed Starling Award” to the best male athlete.

Starling was a World War II veteran and a member Ebenezer United Methodist Church; Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity; National Association of College Directors of Athletics; a trustee on the Big Green Scholarship Foundation; member of the Huntington Sports Committee; and member of the Revelers Social Club. He also served as a board member for Hospice of Huntington, Goodwill, the Huntington Human Relations Commission, Jury Commission, Huntington Housing Authority and the American Red Cross. He also was inducted into the Marshall Athletic Hall of Fame and West Virginia State University (College) Athletic Hall of Fame.

Starling was dedicated to Huntington but his sense of community did not begin there. He had a successful career in Williamson as a football and basketball coach at Liberty High School and Williamson High School. Two of his teams played in the West Virginia High School Basketball Tournament. HIs 1966 team was the Class A Runner-Up. He was a four-year letterman at West Virginia State University (College) where he played football and basketball. He played on the football and basketball teams that were undefeated in 1947/48.

Starling and his wife, Anna, are buried at Spring Hill Cemetery in the Marshall Ring.

Search for Someone

Know who you’re looking for? Try searching for them: