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Bill Ray Barnes
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Billy Ray Barnes is the Mt. Holly Pro Day inductee for 2014. Billy Ray was born May 14, 1935 in Landis, North Carolina.
Barnes was a three sport-star for four years at Landis High School, named All-State in football and baseball and captained the football and basketball teams. Upon graduation he was one of North Carolina's most sought after high school players.
Billy Ray decided on Wake Forest for college. As a junior in 1955, he was the team leader in rushing, punt returns, kickoff returns, pass interceptions, and set a then ACC record with 31 pass receptions for 349 yards out of the backfield.
He also played third base on the 1955 National Championship Baseball Team. He batted .319 for the season and led the conference in stolen bases with 17.
He finished his collegiate football career as Wake Forest's season record holder for rushing yards (1,010), rushing yards per game (101), total offense (1,010) and receptions (31). He was named both All-America and 1956 ACC Player Of The Year.
In 1957, Barnes was drafted in the 2nd round (19th overall) by the Philadelphia Eagles. He made the Pro Bowl his first three years in the league (1957–1959) and was a key member of the backfield during the Eagles' 1960 NFL Championship team.
During the title game against the Green Bay Packers, Barnes ran the ball 13 times for 42 yards. He had a nine-yard run and key 13-yard pass reception on the game-winning drive, and blocked Packer defensive end Bill Quinlan that helped Ted Dean to score the winning touchdown.
Following the 1961 season, Barnes was traded to the Washington Redskins. He had two good seasons with the Redskins, leading the team in rushing in 1962. Barnes was cut by the Redskins before the start of the 1963 season because of an injury he sustained during the pre-season.
In 1965, Barnes returned to the Eagles as a free agent, but was traded to the Minnesota Vikings for a draft choice before the season began.
Billy ended his playing career with the Vikings after the 1966 season with a 3.4 average for 3,421 yards and 29 touchdowns. An all purpose back, he caught 153 passes for 1,786 yards, and nine touchdowns with an 11.7 yard average. On the halfback option he was a 40% passer with a 9.3 average and 4 touchdowns.
All told throughout his career, he led his respective team twenty times in various offensive categories. He played in three Pro Bowls, but more important, he gained the one elusive prize that is the quest of all players—a world's championship.
After his playing career, Billy Ray entered the coaching ranks in 1968 as the head coach of the Charleston (WV) Rockets of the Continental Pro Football League. From there he moved on to the New Orleans Saints under Tom Fears as the receivers coach from 1969-70. Then it was on to the Falcons where he reunited with Eagles teammate Van Brocklin as Atlanta's backfield coach from 1971-74. He rejoined the Saints in 1975 as the special teams coach.
After football he went back into the construction business before retiring to his home town of Landis, NC.
Other awards and achievements:
- All American
- First rusher in ACC to rush for 1,000 yards
- Wake Forest University Hall of Fame in 1975
- North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame in 1979
We salute Billy Ray for his achievements on and off of the football field!
2015, Bill Gordon Mt. Holly Pro Day
Carmen A. Cella
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