North State Journal’s 100 in 100 series will showcase the best athlete from each of North Carolina’s 100 counties. From Alamance to Yancey, each county will feature one athlete who stands above the rest. Some will be obvious choices, others controversial, but all of our choices are worthy of being recognized for their accomplishments — from the diamond and gridiron to racing ovals and the squared circle. You can see all the profiles as they’re unveiled here.
Newsome was surrounded by greatness throughout his football career, which started on a team at Ahoskie High School that featured two other future NFL players — Bobby Futrell and Sam Harrell. His college coach at Winston-Salem State, Bill Hayes, was inducted into the N.C. Sports Hall of Fame in 2018, while his long-time coach with the Dallas Cowboys, Tom Landry, is a Pro Football Hall of Famer.
The son of a farmer and teacher, Newsome was a defensive back in high school, helping his team to a 13-0 record as a senior in 1974 before losing in the 3A state championship game to Ragsdale. He was moved to running back at Winston-Salem State, where he led the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association in rushing and scoring three times while guiding the Rams to undefeated seasons in 1978-79.
Newsome was named CIAA Offensive Player of the Year in each of his final three college seasons, twice earning Division II All-America recognition before being selected in the sixth round of the 1980 NFL Draft. Although he shared a backfield with the likes of Hall of Famers Tony Dorsett and Herschel Walker, Newsome played in 121 games over nine seasons as an all-purpose back and lead blocker. He finished his career with 1,225 yards and 19 touchdowns on the ground, along with 1,966 yards and 11 touchdowns on 212 catches as a receiver.
Newsome, who runs a successful computer software business in Dallas, was selected to the Cowboys’ all-decade team for the 1980s, and in 2019, he was inducted into the Black College Football Hall of Fame.