Photo: Jimmy Raye with the San Francisco 49ers
Many thanks to USA Today ’s NFL writer Jarrett Bell for his excellent story on Jimmy Raye in the USA Today’s Special Edition for Black History Month.
Click here: USA Today on-line version of Jimmy Raye feature written by USA Today writer Jarrett Bell.
The story, with photos of Raye at his home in Pinehurst, appears on pages 111 and 112 in the issue dated Feb. 2.
Raye attended segregated E.E. Smith High in Fayetteville,N.C., when he was recruited to ride Michigan State head coach Duffy Daugherty’s Underground Railroad. He was the South’s first black quarterback to win a national title on the Spartans’ 1966 team.
He followed his playing days as a trail blazer among college and NFL black coaches. He was among the first black NFL assistants in 1977 with the San Francisco 49ers and first black coordinators in1983 as the Los Angeles Rams’ offensive coordinator on John Robinson’s staff.
Below are quotes from the USA Today article from Raye and Tony Dungy.
On black players from the segregated South such as Carl Eller that inspired Raye to migrate North:
“When those players went to the white schools,that was really a big deal,” Raye said. “Those moments were huge, but they were so rare.”
On the chance to attend a Big Ten school:
“Education was at the forefront of everything,”Raye said. “In order to better our situation, education was always the best vehicle. That’s the lesson that you want to continue to be heard.”
Dungy on Raye as an inspiration watching him play quarterback at Michigan State:
“I would throw the football in the backyard saying I was Jimmy Raye,” Dungy said. “Then seven years later, Jimmy is recruiting me to come to Michigan State.”
A premise of the “Raye of Light” is placing the proper credit for the integration of college football with the ground-breaking roles played by Michigan State, Jimmy Raye and Duffy Daugherty.
Also check out Chicago Tribune and Sherman Report featuring Raye of Light.