A proud son of North Carolina, Haywood Franklin Jeffires II was born Dec. 12, 1964, to Haywood and Ora Marie White of Greensboro. Coming from the most modest of beginnings, with 16 siblings and two hard-working parents, Jeffires utilized principles that were staples of his upbringing to overcome overwhelming odds on his way to a stellar pro football career. By prioritizing faith, family and friendship, along with a tremendous work ethic, he took his talents all over the world playing the game that he loved.
Jeffires’ athletic career got off to an impressive start at Greensboro’s Page High School, where he earned all-conference honors and was a three-year letterman in track, football and basketball.
Although an exceptional all-around athlete, Jeffires’ first love was basketball. During the three years he suited up for the Pirates on the hardwood, Haywood played a vital role on a Pirates team that reached the state 4A finals two of those years, capturing the state championship in 1983. On that 1983 team, which was ranked No. 2 in the country in one national poll, he won Most Valuable Player honors in the regional and state playoffs and capped it with a MVP award in the finals as well.
On the gridiron, Jeffires was a feature contributor to a 1982 team that made it to the state playoffs. And he was no less successful in track, winning Most Valuable Player honors in that sport in 1983.
With size, speed and athleticism, Haywood was coveted by colleges and universities all over the country, but he chose to stay in state and play for his beloved North Carolina State Wolfpack. While at N.C. State, he improved every season, culminating with a senior campaign that led to all-conference honors as a wide receiver.
While sports had always been his passion, following an accomplished Wolfpack career it also became his profession when the Houston Oilers picked him in the first round of the 1987 NFL draft. On a team that featured three future Hall of Famers, Jeffires’ selection as the 20th overall pick and first wide receiver taken would eventually cement the Oilers as one of the premier teams of the early 1990s.
With Jeffires now in place, the Oilers had one of the best receiving corps of the era and collectively made famous the “Run-N-Shoot” offense. He made history in 1991 when he became only the third player ever to catch 100 passes in a season. That season was a part of a prolific run that saw Jeffires become a two-time All-Pro (1991-92), a three-time John Mackey Award winner and a three-time Pro Bowl selection (both 1991-93).
Throughout his career, Jeffires’ play on the field and signature smile off of it led him to enormous recognition locally and nationally.
He currently resides in suburban Houston with his wife, Robin, and their two children, Andrea and Haywood III. Jeffires remains beloved and active in the Houston community, devoting countless hours assisting special needs children, and is frequently tapped for personal appearances and interviews.
Joe Earl Bostic Jr. was born April 20, 1957, in Greensboro. He graduated from Ben L. Smith High School, where he starred in football, wrestling and track and field – in short, every sport in which he participated.
As a senior in 1975, he captured the state’s heavyweight wrestling championship. And in that spring’s state track and field meet, he placed fourth in the shot put. But it was his performance on the football field the previous fall – as well as the two falls before that – where his athletic excellence drew the most attention.
He was a stud offensive lineman (and a standout defensively as well), earning all-state honors and, following his senior season, invitations to play in both the N.C.-S.C. Shrine Bowl and the East-West All-Star Game.
Bostic had numerous college offers, and Clemson was the winner, benefitting from Joe’s talents and well as younger brother Jeff, who’d arrive a year later. The Bostics helped invigorate the Tigers’ program as Joe earned All-ACC honors in 1977 and 1978 and was named an All-America each season. Following his senior year, he was chosen to play in the Hula Bowl.
In April 1979, he was selected in the third round of the NFL draft by the St. Louis Cardinals. He went to play his entire 11-year pro career with the franchise, moving with the team when it relocated to Arizona in 1988. In 1986, he was the Cardinals’ nominee for the Miller/NFL Offensive Lineman of the Year.
After retiring from the NFL, Joe returned to Greensboro and earned his general contractor’s License. Along with Jeff, he founded Bostic Brothers Construction, Inc. that same year. The focus of their company was multi-family development and construction.
In 2003, under Joe’s leadership, Bostic Brothers Construction, Inc. became the second largest multi-family construction company in America. Within a 12-year period (1990-2002), Bostic Brothers Construction built approximately 20,000 multi-family units while producing in excess of $1 billion in economic development throughout the southeastern United States.
While building a thriving company, Joe Bostic was elected to the Guilford County Board of Commissioners in 1992. He was unanimously elected chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners in 1997 and 1998. In 1995, he humbly received the very prestigious Ten Outstanding Young Americans (TOYA) Award from the U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce.
Bostic has been inducted into several Halls of Fame, including the Clemson University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1996. That same year, he was selected as a member of the Clemson University All-Centennial Team. In 2002, he was honored as one of the top-50 players to the All-Time ACC 50th Anniversary Team. In 2008, he was inducted into the Guilford County Sports Hall of Fame; in 2010, he was inducted into the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame. His No. 77 has been retired by Smith High School.
Bostic has been married to Jami Bostic since 1993. They have been blessed with three children: Jennifer, Kathryn and Mark. They maintain homes in Greensboro and Isle of Palms, S.C.
Jeff Bostic has been a part of more Super Bowl-winning teams than any player in Clemson’s storied football history, but he may be best remembered as one of the Washington Redskins’ beloved offensive linemen known as the “Hogs.”
But despite his long career in our nation’s capital, he has never lost sight of his roots in North Carolina. The Greensboro native attended Ben L. Smith High School, where he excelled from fall to spring in football, wrestling and baseball.
After graduating from high school, Bostic followed his older brother, Joe, to Clemson, where they would further cement their football legacy as the “Bostic Brothers.” The 1977 and 1978 seasons have been appropriately labeled as the rebirth of Clemson football, and Jeff Bostic was at the center of the offense – both literally and figuratively – serving as the Tigers’ starting center and earning all-conference recognition in 1979.
His impact was so great that he’d go on to be named to the Clemson University All-Centennial Team and inducted into both the Clemson University Athletic Hall of Fame and the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame.
Not surprisingly, he’d soon embark on an outstanding career in the National Football League. It began inauspiciously, however, when Bostic was cut by the Philadelphia Eagles during the 1980 preseason. But the division rival Washington Redskins quickly snapped him up, signing him to serve – at least initially – as the team’s long snapper. The following year, Bostic’s hard work and dedication to his craft paid off as he became the Redskins’ starting center, a position he’d hold through the next 13 seasons and four Super Bowl appearances, despite numerous injuries.
In 1983, Bostic was recognized by his peers as the best at his position in the National Football Conference, making the Pro Bowl squad alongside teammates Joe Jacoby and Russ Grimm. He missed a good portion of the 1984 season with the first of several knee injuries, but he returned in 1985 to be named the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year, Redskin of the Year and also to be awarded the Ed Block Courage Award. In 1990, Bostic was honored with the Nate Fine Memorial Award, which is given annually to a player “completely dedicated to the Redskins and the game of football.”
Having undergone five major surgical procedures in his career, including operations on both knees, Bostic was forced to hang up his helmet in 1994. He’ll forever be a part of the Redskins’ lore, however, and was named by the franchise as one of its 70 greatest players. While he was no longer on the field, Bostic initially couldn’t stay away from the game. He worked as a broadcaster for ESPN (covering the Big East Conference) from 1998 to 2001, and then began doing the same for Westwood One Radio as a color analyst for NFL games.
Bostic lives in Duluth, Ga., with his wife, Lynn, and their three daughters: Ashley, Amanda and Alicia. Since retiring from the NFL, Bostic has worked as a developer of multi-family apartment complexes throughout the Southeast. A great contributor to the communities in which he’s lived, Jeff, alongside brother Joe, are proudest of their contribution to Hospice of Greensboro in honor of their late mother, Sharron.
After watching Freddie Combs dazzle as a defensive back and razzle as a return specialist, his N.C. State teammates asked how he developed so many nifty moves. “I used to chase and catch rabbits in the open fields,’’ Combs told them.
No kidding. Combs set traps on the eastern North Carolina farm where he was raised, and when the bunnies escaped, he zigzagged after them, grabbing several of the fleet-footed animals. Himself fast as a hare and tough as a bear, Combs parlayed that jack-rabbit speed and farm-boy grit to become an elite all-around athlete.
After an illustrious four-sport career at Hertford’s Perquimans High School, he produced a sterling sequel at N.C. State, sparkling in baseball and earning All-America honors in football. “God gave me a lot of natural ability,’’ said the humble Hall of Famer. “I did work. But I give Him the credit.”
Combs’ journey to the Hall began at an early age, when, along with twin brother Francis, he got hooked on sports. One thing they did was knock the cover – literally – off a baseball, wrap it with tar tape and keep on swinging.
At age 10, after their father passed away, they moved to Hertford and teamed up with Jim (Catfish) Hunter, who became a big-league Hall of Fame pitcher. “The highlight of (my) high school career was playing with Francis and Catfish,’’ Freddie said.
Other prep highlights included an 11-1 pitching record and .333 batting average for the 1963 Perquimans High state championship team. He also helped Ahoskie win an American Legion regional crown.
On the gridiron, he was named all-conference and was an honorable mention high school All-America choice. In the summer following his senior year (when he was student council president), he was named the Most Outstanding Player in the East-West All-Star Game.
The coaches at N.C. State took note. Freddie – and Francis – received scholarships, where the latter starred as a catcher in baseball and the former flourished in both baseball and football.
Freddie Combs played several positions on the diamond, leading the Wolfpack in hitting (.330 average) as a sophomore and contributing to its third-place finish in the 1968 College World Series.
But football was where his star shone brightest. He excelled as a member of the fabled “White Shoes” defense in 1967 when N.C. State ranked as high as No. 3 nationally and beat Georgia, 14-7, in the Liberty Bowl to cap a 9-2 season. That year Combs led the nation in punt return yardage (434) – a school record that still stands. He also was a helmet-rattling tackler who won team MVP honors.
“You could not ask for a better teammate,’’ noted Steve Warren, a standout lineman on the 1967 team. “Freddie could do it all. But that’s not the best part of Freddie Combs. He’s a man of character and integrity and loves the Lord.”
Combs’ post-college career included serving as regional manager for Blankenship Associates and enjoying time with his wife Jaime, daughter Kristen York, son-in-law Stewart York, and grandchildren Kahlee and Quinn.
Bob Waters left behind an iconic legacy in his 20 years as head football coach and athletics director at Western Carolina University before losing a heroic battle to Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS/amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) in 1989 at the age of 50. A native of Sylvania, Ga., who also gained fame in South Carolina and California, he became an adopted son of North Carolina.
Waters came to WCU in 1969 as head coach after an all-star football career at Presbyterian College, a five-year stint as quarterback and defensive back with the San Francisco 49ers and assistant coaching positions at Presbyterian and Stanford. He was the MVP of the 1960 Tangerine Bowl – now known as the Capital One Bowl – and was drafted by the 49ers where he made frequent starts as the “shotgun” (a newly created position in the era) quarterback and engineered wins over Baltimore, Detroit and Los Angeles in 1963.
At WCU, Waters led the Catamounts to 13 winning seasons and a school-record 116 victories (and two NCAA playoff appearances) while playing demanding non-conference schedules. Eight of his teams were nationally ranked, and he owned the eighth-best winning percentage among the NCAA’s I-AA coaches during his tenure. His 1983 squad became the first Southern Conference team to play in the NCAA I-AA title game. Prior to his arrival, WCU had posted only five winning seasons among the previous 20.
Fifty-four Catamounts who played under Waters named first-team All-Southern Conference selection. Thirteen were named to All-America teams, and a dozen went on to play pro football.
His pass-oriented offense perennially ranked in the nation’s top 10 and helped produce the country’s leading pass receiver in 1977, seven Southern Conference pass receiving titlists, the nation’s leading field goal kicker and punter and three Southern Conference Offensive Player of the Year recipients.
When one thinks of high school football dynasties, the Robbinsville Black Knights might not be the first team to come to mind, but make no mistake, this little community in the far western part of the state has a legacy any team on any level would envy.
That’s thanks to Bob Colvin, who took over as the school’s head coach in 1966. By 1969, he already had developed a program that would withstand the test of time as the Knights captured the first of their 11 state championships.
In Colvin’s 18-year career, which ended in 1984, the Knights won 177 of the 231 games they played, a winning percentage of nearly 77 percent. In addition to the 11 state championships, Colvin won 16 Smoky Mountain Conference titles, both records that still hold today.
The crowning moment of the Colvin Era came in 1976. The Knights went undefeated while winning a record seven games with shutouts. They scored a total of 530 points and averaged 40.7 points per game. They only allowed 61 points – or 4.7 points per game – an unbelievable achievement for any football team, let alone a small 1-A team located deep in the Appalachian Mountains. Deservingly, Colvin was selected as the N.C. Coach of the Year.
“Coach Colvin was one of the first coaches in the state to implement year round football training,” said Dee Walsh, a two-time state champion from Colvin’s era, and the current head coach and athletics director for Robbinsville High School. “He had guys working out in the weight room during the off season long before anyone else. In addition, he was a great guy. The boys loved playing for him. He made you want to play harder, be better and outperform whoever was on the field.”
With success came offers to coach at other schools, but Colvin was firmly planted in his hometown. Born and raised in Graham County, he too had played football for Robbinsville – then known as the Blue Devils – as a high school student. He continued his education at Western Carolina University (an injury during his final high school game prevented him from playing football at Clemson), earning a teaching degree in physical education before returning to Robbinsville to coach.
“Maybe that was part of the appeal,” Colvin said, chuckling, of his dedication to his hometown. “The kids knew I wasn’t using them for a steppingstone to somewhere else. They knew I sincerely cared for them and I was where I wanted to be.”
Kelvin Bryant, affectionately referred to as “The Reluctant Superstar,” is as well known for his humble personality and demeanor as he is for his natural athletic ability, particularly where it was displayed so admirably as a running back on the football field.
A native and again now a resident of Tarboro, Bryant excelled in football, track, basketball and baseball while growing up in the eastern North Carolina community. His love of sports was nurtured by an amazing family: a wonderful mother (the late Doris Bryant) whom he adored; a spirited father (the late Mick Bryant) who was his first coach and number one agent; and a team of brothers and sisters to practice with and cheer him on (Shirley Ann, Faye, Peaches, Mick, Earl, Ronald, Donald, Wayne, Curtis and Hop). In addition, he benefited from a supportive community in Edgecombe County as a whole that helped him in so many ways.
Bryant was heavily recruited to play college football at a number of schools while displaying his formidable skills at Tarboro High School. Ultimately, however, it was the University of North Carolina that had the good fortune to add Bryant to its roster. During his four years in Chapel Hill (1979-82), he ran around, through and sometimes over the top defenders in college football in an explosive and memorable manner.
He compiled three 1,000 yard rushing seasons – and was a three-time first-team all-ACC tailback – and remains in the Tar Heel record books for a number of accomplishments. Among many memorable performances was one that remains most enduring to North Carolina fans. Against East Carolina on a fall Saturday afternoon in 1982, he gave a signature performance in scoring six touchdowns. But it was his impromptu gesture after the fifth touchdown that’s indelible in the minds of many: he handed the ball to former teammate Steve Streater, who had been paralyzed in an automobile accident and was watching the game from his wheelchair in front of the old field house at Kenan Stadium.
After completing his outstanding career as a Tar Heel, Bryant signed with the Philadelphia Stars of the fledging United States Football League. There, he continued to shine. The league would fold three years later, but in all three of those seasons Bryant led the Stars (for two years in Philadelphia and one year in Baltimore) to title game appearances. Twice they were the USFL champions and Bryant was one of their stars, earning league Most Valuable Players honors as a rookie and being named MVP of the championship team in the third year. In USFL history, only Herschel Walker rushed for more yards than Bryant, who finished with 3,053 yards.
In 1986, he joined the Washington Redskins – it fulfilled a boyhood dream as he had grown up a fan of the team – and had the privilege of being coached by Joe Gibbs. Of Bryant, Gibbs said this: “He’s the best I’ve ever seen at coming out of the backfield.” With Bryant as a key contributor, the Redskins won Super Bowl XXII. Unfortunately, a slew of injuries curtailed his playing time with Washington, and he retired in 1990.
To this day, he is still beloved by so many within the schools and teams where he played. Some of his honors include having his jersey recognized in Kenan Stadium, being selected one of the “Top 50 ACC Football Players of All Time) in 1992, being named as a Tar Heel legend in conjunction with the annual ACC Football Championship Game, and being inducted into the Twin County Hall of Fame.
Rich McGeorge was born in Roanoke, Virginia, the son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Aubrey McGeorge. During his high school years, he was not excited about playing football, partly because he did not like the feel of the helmet on his head. After seeing his older brother playing the sport, he took a liking to the pigskin – and the rest is history.
His last year in football at Jefferson High School was outstanding, and he was noticed by both the University of Miami and Virginia Tech. After visiting Hurricane country in South Florida, he then took a road trip to Blacksburg. His heart was really set on playing basketball for the Hokies; however, he wanted to wait until basketball season was over to make a football decision. The Hokie coaches decided to no longer continue the recruiting efforts.
His high school coach, Hank Hamrick, was an Elon College (now Elon University) graduate who had been an outstanding basketball and baseball player and, thus not surprisingly, was a member of the Elon Sports Hall of Fame. McGeorge travelled to Elon for basketball and football tryouts, and he impressed on both fronts. With the assistance of coaches Bill Miller and Alan White, McGeorge was awarded partial scholarships in both sports, and he later would be elevated to a full scholarship. After four years at Elon, he would be remembered as a legend in football and as an excellent basketball player.
During that four-year period ending in 1970, McGeorge rewrote Elon’s record book as a receiver, ending his career as the school’s career record-holder with 224 catches for 3,486 yards and 31 touchdowns. His 224 career receptions broke the former NAIA national record of 183. McGeorge tied the single-season school record for most points scored (88) and set a record for most touchdowns scored with 13. Twice named his conference’s Most Valuable Player, he set single-season marks of 65 grabs and 1,081 yards, and single-game records of 15 catches, 285 receiving yards and four touchdowns. He was a two-time first-team All-America selection.
Said Elon head coach Red Wilson of McGeorge: “In addition to his being an outstanding receiver, he was the best blocker on the team. His uncanny ability to come down with the pass, regardless of how many defenders are around him, is amazing. He is truly an All-American player and the greatest end I have ever coached.”
McGeorge’s star also shone in basketball. He was Elon’s leading scorer and rebounder as a sophomore, and he scored 1,044 career points and amassed 688 rebounds – averages of 13.7 and 9.1, respectively. He made 58.9 of his field-goal attempts, a record that stood for 42 years.
As both a junior and senior, he received the prestigious Basnight Outstanding Athlete Award Winner. The pass-snagging McGeorge also was the MVP in the Carolinas Conference twice while setting school, conference, district and NAIA national records during his four-year career. He was later selected to play in the North-South All-Star football game in Miami.
McGeorge was chosen with the 16th pick in the first round of the 1970 NFL draft by the Green Bay Packers. He enjoyed a nine-year career, earning the team’s Offensive Player of the Year honors in 1973. In 114 career games, his total receiving yardage stood at 2,370, and he averaged 13.5 yards per catch. Considered both a premier receiver and blocker, McGeorge pulled in more passes (175) than any other tight end in Green Bay’s annals. At the end of his career, only six players in the storied franchise’s 60-year history had caught more passes than the sure-handed McGeorge.
After retiring from the Packers, McGeorge pursued a coaching career, mainly as an assistant. He held stints at Duke under Red Wilson – one of his coaches at Elon – and Steve Spurrier, at Florida under Spurrier, with the Miami Dolphins under Don Shula and Jimmie Johnson, and then later again at Duke under Carl Franks. He also later served under coaches Rod Broadway and Darrell Asberry at North Carolina Central and Shaw, respectively.
McGeorge was inducted into the Elon Sports Hall of Fame in 1979, and the school has retired his number 85 football jersey. He also was inducted into the NAIA Sports Hall of Fame in 1980 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 2012.
Mike Quick was born in Hamlet, North Carolina, the youngest boy of Mary Quick’s nine children. A gifted athlete, he excelled at football, basketball and track at Richmond Senior High School in Richmond County, NC and earned a football scholarship to North Carolina State. The first round pick of the Philadelphia Eagles in the 1982 draft, Quick spent his entire NFL career – nine seasons – with the Eagles. Over five consecutive seasons (1983-87), he caught more touchdown passes (53) than any other NFL player; was ranked third in yardage and voted to the Pro Bowl five times. Retired since 1991, Quick is a color analyst for Eagles radio, an avid golfer and active in the community. He is the father of 18-year-old twin sons. [more…]
Wray Carlton played his last football game in 1968 [more…]
Henry “Blacky” Trevathan is an inspirational and highly disciplined leader whose legacy as a legendary football coach cements a remarkable influence on the game and the players he coached. [more…]
One of North Carolina’s most celebrated athletes, Jim Donnan’s youth was spent in Asheville and Burlington where he excelled on the state level in football, basketball, tennis and table tennis. His stellar career at N.C. State brought many honors: ACC Player-of-the-Year, 1967 Liberty Bowl MVP, H.C. Kennett Outstanding Student-Athlete Award, and ACC All-Academic Team in 1966-67. Donnan was inducted into the Alamance Hall of Fame in 2008. After working in several collegiate programs including Oklahoma, Donnan became head coach in 1990 for Marshall winning the 1992 national title and the 1994 Southern Conference Championship. As Head Coach at Georgia from 1995-2000, he is credited for bringing the Bulldogs back to the upper echelon of the SEC. Donnan received numerous career coaching honors: Division I-AA Coach of the Year in 1992 and 1995, and SEC Coach of the Year in 1997, and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2009. He continues to contribute to the game as a sought-after radio and television commentator. [more…]
North Carolina’s Don McCauley led the ACC in rushing in 1969 and 1970 and was the league’s Player of the Year both seasons.
As a senior in 1970 he ran for 1,720 yards, breaking the NCAA single-season record. He led the nation in all-purpose running, touchdowns and points. He became the first ACC running back to be named a consensus All-America.
He saved his greatest performance for his last game in Kenan Stadium, rushing for 279 yards and scoring five touchdowns in a 59-34 win over Duke.
McCauley is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame. He was an easy choice for the ACC’s Silver Anniversary team.
He was a first-round NFL draft choice and had an 11-year career with the Baltimore Colts.
Ricky Proehl is the owner of Proehlific Park, a family sports complex in Greensboro, NC. The complex for families is a way for Ricky to have a positive influence on the lives of young men and women. Ricky is likely best known for all of his achievements in football. He is a Wake Forest graduate and still holds the school’s records for receiving yards and touchdowns. After college Ricky played 17 years in the NFL. One of his most memorable moments was catching the winning touchdown at the NFC championship game sending the Rams to Super Bowl XXXIV. Proehl played in 4 Super Bowls winning two; one with the Rams and the other with the Colts. Ricky Proehl was born in the Bronx, NY. [more…]
The Lincolnton native was the dominant NC State defensive lineman from 1965-67 and the Wolfpack’s first consensus football All-America (1967). Byrd was the first three-time All-ACC player and NC State retired his #77 jersey in 2002. He was a 1968 first round draft pick of Boston Patriots, but injuries forced early retirement. Byrd was also named to ACC’s 50th Anniversary team in 2003. Byrd died July 23, 2010 and will be inducted posthumously into the College Football Hall of Fame in December. [more…]
He played in 4 post-season all-star games. He played in the AFL with San Diego and led the league in interceptions in 1962. With Oakland he led the AFL in punt returns in ’63 and ’64. His college coaching career started with NC State in 1967 as defensive backs coach; three years as head coach at Tulsa; and 10 years as head coach at Mars Hill College. [more…]
Hardison, a Newton Grove native, was the first UNC defensive player who was not a two-way performer to earn 1st team All-America honors. In 1977 he led the Tar Heels to the number one scoring defense ranking (7.4 ppg), allowing just 10 TD’s in eleven games. Hardison started every game during his three year UNC career. He had a 10-year career in the NFL with Bills, Giants, Chargers, and Chiefs. [more…]
Leo Hart was a standout quarterback for Duke University, 1968-70. The Kinston native passed for 6,116 yards in his Duke career. In 1968 Hart became the first player in ACC history to pass for 2,000 yards in a season. Hart is the only quarterback to be voted first-team All-ACC three times, the only player to lead the ACC in passing yardage three seasons, and the only player to lead the ACC in total offense three seasons. He finished his career fifth in NCAA history in completions and total offense. Following a brief career in the NFL, Hart settled in Atlanta, where he became a successful businessman.
When Leo Hart enrolled at Duke in the late summer of 1967, he entered a football world dominated by conservative, three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust football. Over the course of his Duke career, Hart helped transform the ACC with a brand of wide-open passing never before seen in the league.
The Kinston native was a football, baseball, and basketball star at Kinston High School and was recruited to Duke by Tom Harp. Duke had recruited a number of other quarterbacks but thought that Hart was a good enough athlete to be moved to another position. The necessity never arose. Hart put a stranglehold on the starting quarterback position at the beginning of his sophomore season and never gave it up.
Hart had a strong, accurate arm, which he also used on the baseball diamond at Duke, where his head coach was Tom Butters. But, according to former Duke assistant football coach Hal McElhaney, his biggest asset was “his intelligence. He was a coach playing quarterback.” Hart was a strong leader, usually called his own plays, and was a master at picking apart opposing defenses.
Hart had a spectacular sophomore season. He passed for 2,238 yards, shattering the existing ACC record of Wake Forest’s Norm Snead by almost 600 yards and Billy Cox‘s Duke record by more than 800 yards. Hart’s sophomore season included a 316-yardpassing game against Clemson, the first time any Duke quarterback passed for more than 300 yards in a single game.
Injuries held Hart back the following season but he still passed for 1,642 yards.
Hart’s best season was his senior year, 1970, when he led Duke to a 6-5 mark against a brutal schedule. The highlight of the season was a 21-13 road win over Bobby Bowden’s 11th-ranked West Virginia Mountaineers.
Hart ended the season with 2,236 passing yards and his Duke career with 6,116 yards. At the end conclusion of his career, Hart had the top three single-season passing totals in ACC history. Almost four decades after the end of his playing career, Leo Hart remains the only player in ACC history to lead the league in total offense three seasons and the only quarterback to be voted first-team All-ACC three times. He graduated from Duke fifth all-time in NCAA history in completions and total offense.
Hart played briefly in the NFL. He’s now a successful businessman in the Atlanta area and remains involved with his alma mater.
In 1974 Huff was a 1st Team All-ACC and Consensus All-American Offensive Lineman at UNC. He won the Jacobs Blocking Trophy, Jim Tatum Medal, two time recipient of the Bill Arnold Award, Captain of the College All-Stars and came in 2nd for the Outland Trophy Award. Huff lead UNC to an 11-1 Atlantic Coast Conference championship and set school total offense records. In 1975 he earned a degree in Psychology and was the 3rd pick in the first round of the NFL draft. Huff played 11 years in the NFL and was one of the “Hogs” with the Redskins in the 1983 Super Bowl. [more…]
Willie Burden was a product of Raleigh’s Enloe High School and North Carolina State. As a star running back for the Wolfpack, he became one of the school’s leading ground gainers in history and was named ACC Player of the Year in 1973.
Turning down draft opportunities with both the Detroit Lions and the Portland Storm of the defunct World Football League, Burden took his talents to Canada and became one of the CFL’s all-time football stars. He carried the ball for 6,234 yards in his career with the Calgary Stampeders, including 1,896 in 1975 when he became the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player. He was chosen as one of the league’s 50 greatest stars and is a member of the CFL’s Hall of Fame.
Burden’s star began to rise when he starred as a running back at Enloe, then stayed at N.C. State. For three seasons, from 1971 through 1973, he was among the best running backs ever produced by the Atlantic Coast Conference finishing his collegiate career with 2,529 and picking up the ACC’s Player of the Year award in 1973.
He died in December 2015.
Bartholomew excelled on the football fields from Rocky Mount to Canada before a knee injury ended his playing career in 1956. He earned All-State honors at Rocky Mount High School and was a three-time All-ACC selection at Wake Forest. The Deacons’ captain was named a first team All-America in 1954. He returned to Wake Forest in 1969 and served 16 years as the Executive Director of the Deacon Club. Bartholomew died in 1984. [more…]
All-America end at UNC-Chapel Hill 1946-49, which became known as the Justice-Weiner era. Matched NCAA record (at the time) with 52 receptions in 1949. Helped lead UNC to three major bowls. Member College Football HOF. [more…]
Fayetteville native had outstanding football career at E.E. Smith High, NC Central, and 14 years with San Diego. Chargers lineman of the year 7 times and played in 3 NFL Pro-Bowls. [more…]
Played 14 seasons with Dallas Cowboys and was charter member of the famed “Doomsday Defense.” Played in four Super Bowls and a total of 23 playoff games, more than any other player in NFL history to that point. Played college football at Elizabeth City State. [more…]
Brought the NFL to North Carolina in 1993 as owner of the Carolina Panthers. Spring Hope native was a football star at Fayetteville High School and Wofford College. Caught a TD pass for Baltimore in 1959 NFL championship game. [more…]
NC State football All-America in 1978 and 1979. Won Outland Trophy in ’79 as nation’s best offensive lineman. Had 14-year NFL career at Buffalo and played in 4 Super Bowls. Was all-pro three times. Member National Football Hall of Fame (1998). [more…]
Played high school football in Greensboro and earned All-America honors at Minnesota. Was one of the premier ends in NFL with the Detroit Lions for 10 years, during which time he caught 336 passes, including 31 for touchdowns. [more…]
All-America tackle at Wake Forest. Drafted by Washington Redskins, played one season in NFL, then moved to Canadian League and made All-Pro five times and led Montreal to 3 Division titles and Grey Cup berths. [more…]
Averaged 6.9 yards per carry in three years at University of North Carolina. Was a basketball, baseball, and swimming star at Cullowhee High School. Played 5 years with Washington Redskins. Received the NFL’s Alumni Career Achievement Award in 1999. [more…]
Standout guard and linebacker at UNC-Chapel Hill and the first Tar Heel named to an All-America football team, 1934. Later served as head coach at Washington & Lee before returning as head coach at UNC in 1953. [more…]
A first-team All-Southern Conference selection for three years as a Duke running back. Leading Duke rusher in 1942 Rose Bowl game and the MVP in Duke’s win over Alabama in the 1945 Sugar Bowl. Also starred as Blue Devil baseball player. [more…]
Duke All-America tackle and winner of the 1959 Outland Trophy as the country’s top interior lineman. Played professionally for the St. Louis Cardinals, 1960-62. Head coach at both Duke & East Carolina. AD at Cincinnati, Southern Cal and South Carolina. [more…]
Outstanding football player at Lenoir Rhyne. Had successful career as football coach at Hickory High, posting a 273-120-5 record, including 12 conference titles, during a 31-year tenure. NCHSAA HOF member. [more…]
All-Southern Conference selection at Wake Forest before pro career with New York Giants. Served six years as coach of Calgary in Canadian Football League. Coached team to Grey Cup title in 1971. Member Wake Forest Sports HOF. [more…]
Set single- season school records for pass receptions and TD catches at Wake Forest. Played two seasons in NFL, eight in Canadian League, as a star receiver with Montreal Alouettes. Ottawa and Montreal won four Grey Cup titles while he was general manager. [more…]
Shelby native and a two-time All-America football player at University of Minnesota. Won Outland Trophy. Nine times All-Pro with Kansas City Chiefs. Played in two Super Bowls. Elected to NFL HOF in 1983 and College Football HOF in 1992. [more…]
Winston-Salem native who gained All-America football honors at Minnesota. Played 16 seasons in the NFL, missing only one of 197 games. Made four Super Bowl appearances with Minnesota Vikings. Was a defensive end on four All-Pro teams. [more…]
All-America back at Duke (1934-46). NFL Most Valuable Player with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1940, member College Football Hall of Fame. Also played shortstop for Philadelphia Athletics, coached Duke baseball team and managed in minor leagues. [more…]
In 2003 Bethea became the first player from North Carolina A&T State University to be inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The 3-time Aggies All-America was drafted by Houston. Bethea played in 210 games during his long career in Houston, including a stretch of 135 consecutive. He started at defensive end in the 1968 season opener and didn’t miss a game until breaking his arm in a game against the Oakland Raiders in 1977. He led the team in sacks six times, finishing his career with 105 unofficial sacks. He played in the two AFC Championship games. [more…]
Three-sports star at Wilmington’s New Hanover High. Consensus All-American quarterback at N.C. State 1960 & 1961. Twice ACC Player-of-Year. Had 17-year NFL career with LA Rams and Eagles. NFL MVP in 1969. Member College Football HOF. [more…]
All-America tackle at Duke in 1943. Also played at Wake Forest and later served as Wake Forest athletics director. Played with Chicago Bears four years, including one NFL championship season and three second-place finishes. [more…]
High Point native and one of the most productive runners in N.C. State and ACC history, rushing for 4,602 yards and scoring 51 touchdowns. Chosen first team All-ACC four straight years. First-round NFL draft choice in 1979 and played 8 seasons with Minnesota Vikings. [more…]
Captain and center for the 1938 unbeaten-untied-unscored on Duke Blue Devils until 7-3 loss to Southern Cal in Rose Bowl. Named to National Football HOF. Served as assistant AD at Duke until resigning in 1953 to enter private business. [more…]
Jimmy Clack was an outstanding high school athlete in Rocky Mount in the 1960s. He made the Shrine Bowl football team and later won the Bill George Award as the ACC’s best blocker during his career at Wake Forest. Clack was an offensive lineman on two Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl teams (IX and X). He played in 146 NFL games between 1971-1981. Died April 7, 2006 in Greensboro after a long battle with cancer. [more…]
A three-sport athlete at Wilmington’s New Hanover High, and later a quarterback & defensive back at Duke. Led Blue Devils to two ACC titles and a spot in 1954 Orange Bowl. A NFL legend with stops at Philadelphia & Washington. In NFL HOF [more…]
Kinston native who starred in football at Clemson. Spent eight years with San Francisco 49ers where he had 50+ receptions over seven consecutive years. Sports Illustrated Player-of-the-Year in 1986. Former Vice-President of Football Operations with 49ers. [more…]
Asheville native became one of the most exciting football players in the State’s history. Led UNC-Chapel Hill to two Sugar Bowls and one Cotton Bowl. Played four seasons with Washington Redskins. Member College Football HOF. [more…]
During a football game in against Bogue Field’s military team, Duke’s George Clark suffered two fractured bones in his back. But two weeks later he was back at tailback, cracking through Wake Forest’s defense for a then school record 214 yards rushing and helping spark a 26-19 Blue Devils victory. [more…]
Davidson College football great during the early 1930s where he earned All-America honors. Later served as coach and athletic director at Lees McRae College following one season in the NFL with the New York Giants. [more…]
The Mount Airy native accounted for 3,710 yards of offense as a single wing tailback at Duke from 1948-50. Two-time selection to All-Southern Conference team. Played three years with the Washington Redskins before retiring in 1955. [more…]