Former Burley Coach Headed To High School Hall Of Fame

Former Burley coach headed to high school Hall of Fame

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For former players and alumni, former Burley football coach Robert Smith is beyond legendary. When Burley was a high school, Smith was named the school’s first football coach and led the Bears to a 41-12-5 record during his time including a quartet of VIA football titles. But no season was more impressive, nor could be, than the campaign Smith led in 1956 where Burley not only went undefeated en route to a state title, but also did not allow a single point to be scored by its opposition.

This weekend the VHSL released its newest set of Hall of Fame inductees and just under 15 years after his death, Smith will become the first former Burley coach or player to be given such an honor.

“This is unbelievable news,” said Jimmy Hollins, the chairman of the Burley Varsity Club. “It’s well deserved and long overdue and we just wish that Coach Smith could have been here to see it. But it means everything to the school.”

Hollins and his charity spent the last year campaigning to get athletic directors to nominate Smith and former Jefferson High alumus, NFL HOFer Rosey Brown for VHSL induction. Now that the BCV has succeeded here to help in getting Smith nominated and inducted, it opens up the door for so many coaches and athletes that played during an era where official records have been lost or ignored.

“It’s a big step forward,” Hollins said. “I hope that this now gives us the chance for some of the other great Burley Bears to be honored.”

Smith will be inducted to the HOF in Charlottesville on Monday October 15 at the DoubleTree hotel. A North Carolina native, Smith arrived in Charlottesville in 1945 where he coached football, basketball and baseball at Jefferson High. Smith left Jefferson to take over the Athletic Director position at Burley.

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