Van Heflin, the first Black quarterback to consistently start for Vanderbilt, died Friday after suffering a heart attack, Vanderbilt athletic director Candice Lee announced. He was 62.

Heflin, who was from Atlanta, became Vanderbilt’s starter in 1978, six years after Tennessee’s Condredge Holloway became the first starting Black quarterback in the SEC, the Tennessean reported. Heflin was the first Black quarterback to earn the starting assignment at the beginning of a season and hold onto it through the year.

In his two years as a starter, he completed 140 of 279 passes for 1,732 yards and seven touchdowns.

Heflin had to fight the stigma that he was not a true quarterback. He told The Tennessean in 2015 that he did not read the newspaper or watch local television sportscasts during his time as a player because he did not want to be distracted by what was being said or written about him.