Photo: Jimmy Raye and Tom Shanahan at the Cary Barnes and Noble.
Jimmy Raye and Tom Shanahan discussed their book Raye of Light and signed copies on Feb. 15, 2015 at the Barns and Noble in Cary, N.C. The address is 760 SE Maynard across form the Cary Towne Center. The phone number: 919-467-3866.
Raye of Light
Jimmy Raye, Duffy Daugherty, the integration of college football and the 1965-66 Michigan State Spartans
By Tom Shanahan
Foreword Tony Dungy
Jimmy Raye is an NFL Senior Advisor after 35 years as an NFL coach. He has been a pioneer throughout his playing and coaching days. Raye left segregated E.E. Smith High in Fayetteville in 1964 as a passenger on Michigan State head coach Duffy Daugherty's Underground Railroad.
Daugherty, a College Football Hall of Fame coach, recruited 44 black players from the South from 1959 to his final season in 1972 with a 68-percent graduation rate. The passengers were denied a chance to play for their home-state university due to the color of their skin. The athletes included College Football Hall of Famers Bubba Smith (Beaumont, Tx.), George Webster (Anderson, S.C.) and Gene Washington, La Porte, Tx.).
Daugherty played unprecedented numbers of black athletes and used them at key positions such as quarterback and linebacker. In 1966, Clinton Jones and George Webster were the first two black captains of an integrated team as voted by the players. Following Michigan State's success other integrated teams began recruiting increased numbers of black players and the schools in the South eventually integrated their rosters one or two black players at a time by the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Raye was the South's first black quarterback to win a national title as the Spartans' starter in the 1966 season (National Football Foundation MacArthur Bowl co-national champions with Notre Dame). He also was a sophomore backup on the 1965 national championship team (UPI) and the starter as a senior in 1967.
He joined Daugherty's Michigan State coaching staff in 1972 and later moved on to the San Francisco 49ers in 1977. There were only three other black coaches in the NFL when the 49ers hired him. He was one of the first black coordinators in the league with the Los Angeles Rams in 1983 when John Robinson named him his offensive coordinator.
Raye's journey also is a North Carolina story that began in segregated South. His success at Michigan State inspired North Carolina State's Clyde Chesney, an E.E. Smith alum to walk-on with the Wolfpack. He was N.C. State's first black starter and first black All-Academic ACC choice. Raye's first career start as a junior in 1966 was a 28-10 win over N.C. State at Spartan Stadium. He was awarded the game ball that he still has at his home.
Throughout Raye's coaching career, he has served as mentor for many young coaches. Tony Dungy, the first black coach to win a Super Bowl with the Indianapolis Colts in the 2006 season, cites Raye's influence in his Foreword written for the book.
Raye travels to New York as a NFL Senior Advisor, but he makes his home in Pinehurst, N.C. Tom Shanahan is an award-winning sportswriter who lives in Cary, N.C. They will discuss the book, Raye's career and Michigan State's leading role in the integration of college football.
During the book discussion, Raye also can answer questions about the 2014 season, Super Bowl XLIX, looking ahead to the 2015 NFL season and the Carolina Panthers.