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Willard Bailey to be inducted into Black College Football Hall of Fame

Posted at 4:24 PM, Feb 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-11 12:56:31-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- When legendary football coach Willard Bailey retired in 2013, he was the winningest football coach in the history of Virginia at all levels.

Today, that record has been eclipsed -- but Bailey is still the all-time winningest football coach in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) -- the oldest Black football conference in the country.

In his 40 years of coaching at four different schools, Bailey won a total of 238 games.

Most of his coaching career was right in Richmond in Virginia Union University.

The titles and accomplishments have led Bailey to where he will be in June of this year -- inducted into the Black College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.

“When you find out that you have finally been recognized as one of the best of the bests, it’s just a great feeling," said Bailey. “I am honored, humbled, and blessed to be able to join this list."

The Black College Football Hall of Fame features a small group of A-list of players and elite coaches -- familiar names like Eddie Robinson, Jake Gaither, and Earl Banks.

Now, the name Willard Bailey will be among them.

“You look for other people to get to receive this, or for other people that you read about, or that you’ve put on a pedestal all of your coaching career," said Bailey, humbled by the honor. “It’s a good feeling!”

Bailey spent 22 seasons at Virginia Union during two stints.

Bailey also coached at his alma mater Norfolk State University, St. Paul’s College, and Virginia University of Lynchburg -- where in total he won seven CIAA championships and made six NCAA Division II playoff appearances.

As proud as one can be about those accomplishments, Bailey said being a teacher while coaching is what stood out to him the most.

“I am the only coach in the history of the United States of America to have ever been a full tenured professor at three different colleges," said Bailey.

And his passion and commitment to educating young men and women remain today. He now serves as President of Central International College, a religious-based institution that opened a campus last fall in Chester.

"This is where I want to finish it," Bailey stated. “Even at my senior citizen status -- that I can continue to do something to help our young people, I think that this is my calling.”

Watch Rob Desir's "Our RVA" reports Wednesdays on CBS 6 News at 4 and 5:30 p.m. If you know someone Rob should feature, email him at Rob.Desir@wtvr.com

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