Morgan State began playing football in 1898, 31 years after the school was founded. The team's all-time record is 405 wins, 379 losses and 38 ties. 173 of those wins came between 1929 to 1959 when Edward P. Hurt was the head coach and the Bears won 14 Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) championships. Earl Banks won four CIAA championships during the 1960s and an additional championship in 1971 after Morgan entered the MEAC. The Bears won another MEAC championship in 1979, but have not won any other championships since.
Coach Eddie P. Hurt took over the Morgan Bears football team in 1929, the next year his teams won the first of the 14 CIAA championships they would win with him at the helm. More importantly, Hurt, and his assistant coach Talmadge L. Hill, built a program that allowed black athletes to show case their talents where such a venue had been non-existent before. From 1931 to 1938, Hurt coached the Bears to a 54-game win streak without a single loss. During his tenure, Morgan's football teams completed 11 seasons undefeated and, in the 1943 season, opponents failed to score a single point against the Bears. Hurt is a member of the HBCU coaches Hall of Fame  and in 1952 Morgan named its new $1 million gymnasium facility after him.
Earl Banks succeeded Hurt and took Morgan football to the next level. Banks was the Head coach from 1960 to 1973. He coached the Bears to a 31-game winning streak, three unbeaten regular seasons, four CIAA titles, a MEAC championship, and four bowl games. Twice during his tenure, Morgan led the nation in total defense. 35 of Bank's players went on to play in the NFL, including NFL Hall of FamersLeroy Kelly and Willie Lanier; two more players played professional ball in the CFL. Banks was inducted into five sports Halls of Fame including the College Football Hall of Fame in 1992.
Only one coach has had a winning record at Morgan since the departure of Banks at the end of the 1973 season. The Bears had suffered 23 straight seasons with a losing record until the arrival of current Coach Donald Hill-Eley whose first team had a 7-5 record in the 2002 season.
Fifty two former Morgan players have gone on to play professional football. Thirty eight players went to the NFL, eight to the CFL, three to the WFL and one each to the AAFC, the Arena Football League and the AIFA. At least one player has gone to the NFL every decade since 1950 from Morgan State.
^Wade, Herman L. (2004-06-01). Run From There. United States: Word Association. p. 211. ISBN978-1-932205-78-7. "The arrival of the black athlete on the national sports scene in the 1940s and 50s goes directly back to Edward P. Hurt. There is not a single black sports figure in the world today who is not in some small way in the debt of Coach Hurt."|accessdate= requires |url= (help)