Raye of Light book signing
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Raye of Light book signing

Homecoming for Jimmy Raye

Photo: Jimmy Raye with Duffy Daugherty at the 1966 spring game.

Fayetteville Observer sports writer Sammy Batton wrote about a hometown book signing for Raye of Light and Fayetteville Hall of Famer Jimmy Raye. Raye attended then-segregated E.E. Smith High in Fayetteville, N.C.

Raye was recruited by progressive Michigan State head coach Duffy Daugherty, a College Football Hall of Famer, in 1964. Raye went on to a ground-breaking career as a black college quarterback and pioneering black coach and the college and NFL levels. He coached at Michigan State, Wyoming and Texas and in the NFL for 36 years, including serving as a mentor for many black coaches, including Tony Dungy. He's now an NFL Senior Advisor and 2015 will by 39th year in the league.

The youtube video is a collage of photos from the 1996 Game of the Century between Notre Dame and Michigan State that ended in a controversial 10-10 tie.

One of the Raye's long-time fans mentioned during the question-and-answer period that when he and his friends were kids playing backyard football games, they would throw passes and shout, "Jimmy Raye!"

That's a similar story to the one Tony Dungy, the first black coach to win a Super Bowl with the Indianapolis Colts in the 2006 season, wrote about in his foreword to Raye of Light. Dungy, from Jackson, Mi., had never seen a black quarterback until his father took him to Michigan State games at Spartan Stadium. He said as a kid playing football with friends he was Jimmy Raye.

Another guest at the book signing was long-time Fayetteville resident Greg (sorry, I didn't get his last name). He brought a photo clipped out of the Fayetteville Observer from Jimmy Raye Day in 1966. In the photo, Greg can be seen as a young kid in the background of the photo with Jimmy Raye and keynote speaker Bobby Mitchell of the Washington Redskins. He had saved that photo all these years and brought it with him for the book signing. The photo is on Page 22 of "Raye of Light" in Chapter 2, "Jimmy Raye Day." 


Tom Shanahan

Tom Shanahan

Tom Shanahan is an award-winning sportswriter and the author of "Raye of Light". Tom spent the bulk of his career in San DIego writing for the San Diego Union-Tribune. He has covered NCAA Tournaments, Super Bowls, Rose Bowls, the NBA Finals and the World Series in a career that included writing for Voice of San Diego, the San Diego Hall of Champions and Chargers.com. He contributes to the Detroit Free Press, Raleigh News & Observer, MLB.com, Rivals.com and the National Football Foundation's Football Matters. He won multiple first-place awards from the San Diego Press Club and first place from the Copley News Service Ring of Truth Awards. The National Football Foundation/San Diego Chapter presented him its Distinguished American Award in 2003. USA Track and Field’s San Diego Chapter presented its President’s Award in 2000.

Raye of Light: Jimmy Raye, Duffy Daugherty, the integration of college football and the 1965-66 Michigan State Spartans. It explains Duffy Daugherty's pioneering role and debunks myths that steered recognition away from him to Bear Bryant.

By Tom Shanahan; Foreword by Tony Dungy; August Publications

David Maraniss, Pulitzer Prize winner and biographer: "History writes people out of the story. It's our job to write them back in."