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Robert Lee "Sam" Huff (1934- )

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Robert Lee "Sam" Huff (1934- ), one of the best-known athletes to attend WVU, helped lead the team to a combined four-year mark of 31-7 and a berth in the 1954 Sugar Bowl. Huff played eight years with the New York Giants and his last four seasons with the Washington Redskins. In 1982, Huff became the only WVU player besides Joe Stydahar to be inducted into both the college and pro football Halls of Fame. He was born in Number 9, a small coal mining town near Farmington. He attended Farmington High School. In a 2003 Sports Illustrated article, Huff wrote:

I was raised in a West Virginia coal mining camp called Number Nine, near Farmington. My dad worked in the mines, and so did the dads of every kid I went to school with. In those camps you rented your house from the mining company and bought your food and clothes at company stores. You know that Tennessee Ernie Ford song: "You load 16 tons, what do you get/Another day older and deeper in debt"? That was my dad's life. We had to go to a community pump to get water. We didn't have any heat. Can you imagine? Miners would go on strike for weeks and weeks and still find a way to live. I think I did well in football because I was raised to be like them. If you were a boy, you played football. At my high school we played on a field cut into a valley and people sat on the hillside to watch. My hero, besides my dad, was Frank Gatski, who also came from Number Nine. He went to Marshall, played offensive line for the Cleveland Browns and is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I never imagined I would play in the NFL, but I knew I didn't want to work in the mines. My father had gone to work there when he was 13, and my older brother, Don, did the same when he was 16. I imagined I could become a coach or a teacher.

Robert Lee "Sam" Huff (1934- )


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