ESPN credits Duffy and Underground Railroad
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ESPN credits Duffy and Underground Railroad

Daugherty's role leading integration of college football receives rare national credit

Photo: 1) Duffy Daugherty and Jimmy Raye; 2) Jerry Barca; 3) Daugherty with All-Americans Clinton Jones, Bob Apisa, Bubba Smith, Gene Washington and George Webster

#DUFFY Forty-four Michigan State Underground Railroad facts

--- Why do I write so much debunking the myths and fiction surrounding Bear Bryant and the 1970 USC-Alabam game? The answer is simple: History has failed to properly credit College Football Hall of Fame coach Duffy Daugherty and his Michigan State Underground Railroad teams for pioneering fully integrated rosters. The fictional stories involving Bryant and 1970 USC-Alabama game have overshadowed the Spartans and usurped their credit. Don't believe them. 

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

By TOM SHANAHAN

The 2019 football season was a disappointing one for Michigan State, but it was a good one for the program’s pioneering legacy under College Football Hall of Fame coach Duffy Daugherty.

That's due to ESPN and The Undefeated for recognizing both in online and video storites Daugherty's Underground Railroad teams leading role in the integration of college football. Thanks for such recognition and enlightenment has been rare among the national media, especially older members reluctant to let go of folklore surrounding Alabama coach Bear Bryant, who in reality dragged his feet on integration. Younger media members tend to shrug their shoulders, revealing they are unaware of how recent was segregaation.

The ESPN online story was actually about ranking the top 150 college football coaches of all-time. But in listing Daugherty No. 51 (way too low, by the way), the story highlighted his ground-breaking teams.

From ESPN's on-line Duffy capsule (12-10-2019: 

“No coach was more of a catalyst for the integration of college football than Daugherty, who recruited 44 black players from the South to play for the Spartans at a time when the laws and customs barred them from playing for schools in the Deep South. Daugherty's 1966 national championship team had 20 black players, including quarterback Jimmy Raye. Four of the black players who helped lead the Spartans to back-to-back unbeaten seasons and shares of the national title in 1965 and '66 -- Clinton Jones, George Webster, Bubba Smith and Gene Washington -- were inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, along with their coach.”

Earlier, on Nov. 6, 2019, David Squires wrote a story for The Undefeated that included an interview with Jimmy Raye, Michigan State’s African-American quarterback on the 1966 team at a time when there black quarterbacks were rare. Raye, from Fayetteville (N.C.) Smith, is the South’s first black quarterback to wina national title.

After Michigan State Notre Dame played to a 10-10 in the Game of the Century, the National Football Foundation named the Spartans and Irish national co-champions. The four national titles recognized by the NCAA prior to the Bowl Championship Series and College Football Playoff eras were the AP and UPI polls, the NFF and the Football Writers Association.

The video was from the series recognizing the 150th anniversary of the college game. The “College Football 150: The American Game” segment on "Games of the Century" spelled out Michigan State's leading role.

My research was identify how many and who (44, with names listed in Raye of Light) Daugherty recruited from the South between 1959 and 1972, with the names listed in Chapter Chapter 11 of Raye of Light, “The Passengers.”

RAYE of LIGHT

Jimmy Raye, Duffy Daugherty, the 1965-66 Michigan State Spartans and the integration of college football.

Foreword by Tony Dungy

The first passenger in 1959 was Clifton Roaf, father of College and Football Hall of Famer Willie Roaf, out of Pine Bluff, Ark. The last six were in Duffy’s final recruiting class of 1972. They included Tyrone Willingham of Jacksonville, Fla.

The six freshmen Daugherty recruited for the 1972 season was more black players than were on entire SEC varsity rosters. LSU, Ole Miss and Georgia were the  final three SEC schools that integrate in the 1972 season. LSU and Ole Miss had one player black player and Georgia three. This debunks the oversimplification that Daugherty's pipeline dried up. The problem was the last six didn't turn out to be Bubba Smith, Gene Washington, George Webster, Clinton Jones, Bob Apisa or Jimmy Raye -- all Michigan State Hall of Famers. Smith, Washington, Webster and Jones are in the College Football Hall of Fame. 

The video story was from the "Games of the Century" segment (11-05-2019) that was part of the “College Football 150: The American Game” series. This is the quote from Jerry Barca, author/filmmaker:

"What puts a real Game of the Century over the top is when it's got greater meaning or context, maybe even beyond football. Michigan State coach Duffy Daugherty has 20 African-American players and he's got got Jimmy Raye as an African-American quarterback. There is not one singular thing you can point to that says, 'Hey, college football is integrated.' But what Duffy Daugherty did with that 1966 team is a tremendous part of the evolution of race in college football."

Barca's point on Daugherty and the 1966 Game of the Century hits the nail on the head: This was turning point that the nation watched together. It led to schools recruiting more rosters that were more than two or three or four or five black players. 

Previously, history had dismissed Daugherty's efforts as just getting lucky with a handful of southern black players that turned out to be All-Americans and College Football Hall of Famers. As a consequence, Alabama coach Bear Bryant has received too much credit at Daugherty's expense based on myths and fiction surrounding the 1970 USC-Alabama game.

The fact to remember about the 1970 USC-Alabama game is it was played on a Saturday night with no national TV. The nation did not wake up the next morning and say, 'Hey, college football is integrated." However, that is the myth that spread from the fictional movie script USC linebacker John Papadakis's tried to sell. The fictional included Bryant parading USC fullback Sam Cunningham around the locker room, which Cunningham admitted 43 years later never happened in a Showtime documentary.

Unfortunately, The Athletic, in one of its preseason 150th anniversary stories, demonstrated lazy reporting by repeating the myth of the 1970 USC-Alabama game. My theory is the myth lives on with older media that don't want to let go of Bear Bryant folklore and younger media unaware how recent was segregation and thus the significance of Daugherty's progressive leadership.

I spell why Daugherty and his Underground Railroad players led the integration of college football in this story:

Forty-four Underground Railroad legacy facts

However, it should be noted Daugherty's ranking of No. 51 on the list is far too low for the College Football Hall of Fame coach with national championships in 1965 and 1966. He changed the face of college football.



I spell why Daugherty and his Underground Railroad players led the integration of college football in this story:

* * *

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.

http://shanahan.report/a/the-case-for-duffy-and-medal-of-freedom

 

Don’t believe the myths at Duffy Daugherty’s expense about Bear Bryant’s motivation to play the 1970 USC-Alabama game or myths about the Charlie Thornhill-for-Joe Namath trade. Bear Bryant knew nothing about black talent in the South while he dragged his feet on segregation. 

http://www.shanahan.report/a/forty-four-underground-railroad-legacy-facts

http://shanahan.report/a/myths-that-grew-out-of-1970-alabama-game-with-usc

 

http://shanahan.report/a/mystery-solved-in-thornhill-and-namath-myth

 

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

https://www.augustpublications.com/products/raye-of-light-jimmy-raye-duffy-daugherty-the-integration-of-college-football-and-the-1965-66-michigan-state-spartans

https://www.augustpublications.com/


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."