This interview is part of a series about football games, collectively known as the Hairy Bacon Bowl, that were played during the first half of the 1970s at the University of Colorado, Boulder. The teams were made up of university students, many of whom identified with hippie culture and/or anti-war beliefs, on one team, and campus and City of Boulder police officers on the other team. The goal was to ameliorate tensions between the two groups. Daryl Varnado played on the police team because of his job, during his student days, in security at the UMC. He played in the Hairy Bacon Bowl just because he thought the game sounded like fun. He remembers the games as being a time that people from both teams came together in a spirit of cooperation and fun. He reflects on how the Hairy Bacon Bowl aided police-community relations long term.
Although the original goal of the interview was to discuss the Hairy Bacon Bowl games, much of the interview focuses on his experiences as an African American, first in the south as desegregation was first being implemented in schools in Louisiana, and later as a student at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Beginning in the early 1970s, when there were only about 250 African American students out of 25,000 students at the University of Colorado and ten African American families living in Boulder overall, he experienced the mentorship of various members of Boulder’s small, close-knit African American community. He particularly describes the influence of Dr. Joseph Johnson in shaping his life and values, first as a coach in high school and later as a mentor at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He reflects on the way CU-Boulder was a place that opened up many opportunities for him and yet also exhibited institutional racism from time to time.