Ernie Warlick is best known for his years as a tight end for the Buffalo Bills during the AFL championship years in the 1960s. But he made his mark in local broadcasting history when he became the first African-American to serve in an anchor role on a Buffalo television newscast.
Warlick was born in 1932 and grew up in North Carolina. He played football at Ridgeview High School and North Carolina Central before becoming a pro with the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League.
After four seasons with Calgary, Warlick signed with the Bills in 1962. He helped the Bills win their first AFL championship against the San Diego Chargers in 1964 when he caught two passes for 41 yards. In the 1965 AFL championship game between the same teams, Warlick scored a touchdown in the Bills’ 23-0 victory over the Chargers.
Following Warlick’s retirement from the Bills, he was named a sports anchor at WGR-TV, Channel 2 in the late 1960s. After a few years, Warlick left broadcasting and opened his own hamburger stand and then worked in sales.
Warlick was inducted into the Buffalo Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame in 1998 in honor of his ground-breaking status as the market’s first African-American anchor.
In 2000, Warlick received the Ralph C. Wilson Distinguished Service award from the Buffalo Bills, named after the team’s founding owner.
Warlick died at his home in Williamsville in 2012 at the age of 80.