Photo: Michigan State 1966 team photo
Note: In the team photo, Jimmy Raye (16) is on the far right of the third row. Captains George Webster (90) and Clinton Jones (26) are seated in the middle of the first row with Duffy Daugherty. Bubba Smith (95) is in the middle of the second row behind Daugherty. Gene Washington (84) is the far right of the first row.
Thanks to Tony Dungy, a Pro Football Hall of Fame coach, for narrating "Game Changers," a video on Dufy Daugherty's Underground Railroad teams led the integration of college football with national titles in 1965 and 1966.
The video posted on MSU Today coincided with the Sept. 27 induction of Jimmy Raye into Michigan State's Hall of Fame. Raye, who was recruited out of Fayetteville, N.C., was the South's first black quarterback to win a national title. His teammates from the segregated South included College Football Hall of Famers George Webster (Anderson, S.C.), Bubba Smith (Beaumont, Tx.) and Gene Washington (La Porte, Tx.). A fourth College Football Hall of Famer was Clint Jones (Cleveland, Ohio).
Daugherty's teams were the first fully integrated rosters at a time when the South was segregated and integrated teams from the rest of the nation were limited to a half-dozen or so black athletes. The unprecedented role of Daugherty's teams is documented in the book "Raye of Light."
Dungy, who wrote the foreword to "Raye of Light," grew up in Jackson, Mi., watching those Michigan State teams with his father. In backyard games, he announced to his friends he was Jimmy Raye. When he was 10 years old, his lived in married housing with his parents while his father earned his doctorate degree. Dungy, who played quarterback at Minnesota and a year as a defensive back with the Pittsburgh Steelers, considers Raye one of mentors once he entered coaching.
In addition to Raye commanding the huddle, Michigan State's leadership is represented by Webster and Jones as the first pair of black team captains voted by the players without a white teammate sharing the role.
Consider these numbers that illustrate Daugherty’s impact:
In 1966, national champion Notre Dame had only one black player, Alan Page. The Spartans lined up 20 black players against the Irish in the 1966 Game of the Century that ended in a 10-10 tie. Michigan State and Notre Dame were declared national co-champions by the National Football Foundation.
In 1967, USC’s national championship team had only seven black players, but by 1972 USC’s national champions numbered 23. Daugherty’s Spartans had shown the Trojans and the rest of the nation the way.
* * *
Many myths In the 1970 USC-Alabama game are dispelled in "Raye of Light." Those myths concern Alabama coach Bear Bryant's role in the integration of college football, In that game USC had only five black starters (quarterback Jimmy Jones, fullback Sam Cunningham, tailback Clarence Davis, defensive end Tody Smith (Bubba's brother) and linebacker Charlie Weaver).
The reality is Bryant had a history of dragging his feet on integration and received too much credit from myths surrounding the 1970 game -- credit at the expense of Duffy Daugherty's legacy.
* * *
I invite you to follow me on Twitter @shanny4055
Tom Shanahan, Author: Raye of Light http://tinyurl.com/knsqtqu
-- Book on Michigan State's leading role in the integration of college football. It explains Duffy Daugherty's untold pioneering role and debunks myths that steered recognition away from him to Bear Bryant.
David Maraniss, Pulitzer Prize winner and biographer; "History writes people out of the story. It's our job to write them back in."