NFL’s Jimmy Raye Witnessed Change at the 50-Yard Line

Former San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye is seen in this Aug. 6, 2010 file photo with quarterback Alex Smith. (AP Photo)
Former San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye is seen in this Aug. 6, 2010 file photo with quarterback Alex Smith. (AP Photo)
Former San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye is seen in this Aug. 6, 2010 file photo with quarterback Alex Smith. (AP Photo)

 

PINEHURST, N.C. (USA Today) — Jimmy Raye couldn’t watch the college basketball game without having a flashback.

It was South Carolina vs. Ole Miss.

“There were 10 black players on the court at the same time,” Raye says. “I remember how it used to be, and how when the change started it was difficult to have even two black players out there.

“I thought to myself, ‘We’ve come a long way, but we have a long way to go.’ There’s still a lot of progress needed when you consider the coaching and administration.”

When Raye grew up in Fayetteville, N.C., the backward customs of the segregated South dictated that he couldn’t attend Southeastern Conference schools such as South Carolina and Mississippi — and so many others in various conferences — because of the color of his skin.

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