Herb Odom

1991 Greater Flint Afro-American Hall of Fame Inductee

Category: BOXING

Parents: S. Yount & Hattie Bernice Odom
Wife: Debra Nichols Odom
Daughters: Kyle Odom-Williams, Lorrie Bernice Odomr.

Herb Odom came to Flint at an early age with his parents and lived in the St. John Street area. His father taught him and many other youngsters that if you have a strong determination you can do anything. Herb became the perfect example of what a person can be.

He had his first amateur fight at age 16. He won the Flint Golden Gloves Lightweight Championship and State Championship in 1950. After graduating from Flint Northern he enrolled at MSU. He reached the Olympic Boxing Finals in 1952 and was also an NCAA finalist that year. Herb became the first NCAA boxing champion in Flint’s history. In 1954 he was the Big Ten Lightweight Champion and Outstanding Boxer of the Year. He repeated as NCAA Champion and Big Ten Conference Champion in 1955. His MSU boxing team won the National NCAA boxing tournament in 1955. Herb is one of 21 fighters to win two or more NCAA Championships. He was dubbed by sportswriters as “The Spartan Ringmaster.” He was given the distinction of All-American and named to the MSU All-Time Greats in 1955. During his MSU boxing career, 1952-1955, he won 32, lost 4 with 2 draws.

Herb turned professional in 1978 at age 46, making him the oldest fighter to be given an Illinois boxing license. He had four fights, winning the first two by knock outs. In 1980 he fought World Boxing Champion, Tommy Hearns, for four grueling rounds and drawing praise from the champion as the best exhibition opponent he’d ever had.

Dr. Odom, presently a very prominent dentist in Chicago Illinois, graduated from Michigan State University with a B.S. in chemistry-1955; Meharry Medical College, Nashville, Tennessee, Doctorate of Dental Surgery-1960; University of Chicago, Master’s in Business Administration, Executive Program-1977. Dr. Odom is presently building a $6.3 million nursing home and has a $450,000 medical facility where his office is located on the south side of Chicago

In the Boxing Hall of Fame, he is the oldest fighter to ever turn professional.