Willie Burden

Last updated
Willie Burden
No. 10
Born:(1951-07-21)July 21, 1951
Raleigh, North Carolina
Died:December 4, 2015(2015-12-04) (aged 64)
Atlanta, Georgia
Career information
CFL status American
Position(s) RB
Height5 ft 11 in (180 cm)
Weight205 lb (93 kg)
College North Carolina State
High school William G. Enloe (NC)
NFL draft 1974 / Round: 6 / Pick: 139
Drafted by Detroit Lions
Career history
As player
1974 Detroit Lions*
19741981 Calgary Stampeders
*Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career highlights and awards
CFL All-Star 1975
CFL West All-Star 1975, 1977
Career stats

Willie Burden (July 21, 1951 – December 4, 2015) was a professional Canadian football player with the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League, who subsequently became an academic and sports administrator. He was made a member of the Calgary Stampeder's Wall of Fame in 1992, and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2001. In 2006, Burden was voted to the Honour Roll of the CFL's top 50 players of the league's modern era by Canadian sports network TSN. [1]

Contents

Early years

Following an outstanding high school football career at Raleigh's William G. Enloe High School, Burden and Charley Young became the first African-Americans recruited to the North Carolina State University football team in 1970.

As sophomore in 1971, he led the team with 227 carries for 910 yards (4.0-yard avg.) and 8 rushing touchdowns. He set the school's single-game record with 198 rushing yards against Kent State University.

In 1972, when Lou Holtz arrived as the new head coach at North Carolina State University, he implemented split-back veer offense to take advantage of the talent at running back, that included Burden, Young, Stan Fritts and Roland Hooks. [2] At the time, this was arguably the best group of running backs in the nation, they were known as "The Four Stallions" and everyone of them went on to play in a professional football league. [3] [4] He was third on the team behind Fritts and Young with 114 carries for 605 yards (5.3-yard avg.) and 6 rushing touchdowns.

In 1973, he was part of the Atlantic Coast Conference championship team as the starting halfback. He led the team with 150 carries for 1,014 yards (6.8-yard avg.) and 8 rushing touchdowns. He became the first player in school history to break the 1,000 yard rushing mark in a single-season. He also received All-ACC and Atlantic Coast Conference Football Player of the Year honors.

He rushed for 2,529 yards, 7th best in Wolfpack history. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in Economics. In 2009, he was inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame.

Professional career

Burden was selected by the Detroit Lions in the 6th round (139th overall) of the 1974 NFL season. He was also selected by the Portland Storm in the 17th round (198th overall) of the 1974 WFL Draft. He was waived by the Lions on September 11.

On September 17, 1974, he signed as a free agent with the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League.

The Stampeders would be Burden's home for eight seasons, between 1974 and 1981. He thrilled fans in his first season, rushing for 541 yards on 94 carries, but it was in his second season that he broke team and league records. He set a new CFL single-season rushing record, running 332 times for 1,896 yards. He also set a CFL record with 2,127 yards from scrimmage and led the league with 2,387 all-purpose yards and 15 total touchdowns. His best day was November 2 against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, when he tied Lovell Coleman's team record of 238 yards in a game. Burden was rewarded with the CFL's Most Outstanding Player Award and All Canadian All Star honours in 1975. His 1975 record of 'most rushing yards in the first 5 games of a season' was beaten by Kory Sheets in 2013. [5] Burden was also named an All West All Star in 1977.

In 1978, James Sykes was named the starter at running back for the Stampeders, while Burden was used more as a blocking fullback and as a receiver out of the backfield. His statistics began to decline after that season. [6] In 1981, injuries limited him to play in only 8 games, registering 23 carries for 95 yards (4.1-yard avg.), 22 receptions for 183 yards and 4 touchdowns. He announced his retirement in June 1982.

Upon his retirement, Burden finished with 6,234 rushing yards, fifth best in Stampeders history after Kelvin Anderson, Earl Lunsford, Lovell Coleman and Joffrey Reynolds. He also recorded 1,242 carries, a 5.0 rushing average, 32 rushing touchdowns, 299 receptions (fourth in team history) for 2,669 yards and 16 receiving touchdowns.

His jersey number #10 was retired by the Stamps in 1982. He was added to their Wall of Fame in 1992, was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2001 and was chosen as one of the league's 50 greatest stars. He played at 5 foot 10 inches and a bruising 218 pounds and is remembered fondly in Canada.

Personal life

Burden's post-pro football life was equally successful. He received his master's degree in sports administration from Ohio University while working as an assistant football coach and instructor in the Department of Physical Education and Recreation. From 1984 to 1988, he served as Assistant Athletics Director at Tennessee Technological University while working on his doctorate in education at Tennessee State University (Ed.D) which he received in 1990. In 1988, Burden returned to Ohio University to serve as Assistant Athletic Director. From 1990 to 1999, he served as the Athletic Director and as an Instructor of Health and Physical Education for North Carolina A&T University.

Later he was an Associate Professor in Sports Management at Georgia Southern University. His research has been published in several academic journals. In 2005 Burden received another special honour, being inducted into Hall of Fame for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America of Raleigh, North Carolina, for his lifetime of good works.

Burden suffered from congestive heart failure for several years. On September 2, 2015, it was reported in the Calgary Herald that Burden had been hospitalized in Atlanta for 209 days with a heart condition, awaiting a transplant. [7] He died in Atlanta on December 4, 2015 at the age of 64. [8] At the time of his death, Burden resided in Statesboro, Georgia, with his wife, Velma, and children Willie Jr. and Freddie. He also had a daughter, Courtney Bledsoe, who resides in North Carolina.

Related Research Articles

Kelvin Anderson is a former professional gridiron football player. As a running back, he rushed for over 1,000 yards in eight consecutive seasons in the Canadian Football League, a league record. He won the CFL's Grey Cup championship twice, as a member of the Calgary Stampeders, in 1998 and 2001.

Leo Everett Lewis Jr. was an American gridiron football player and coach. He played college football as a running back for Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri from 1951 to 1954 and professionally with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League (CFL) from 1955 to 1966. He served as the head football coach at his alma mater, Lincoln, from 1973 to 1975.

Mike Pringle (gridiron football)

Michael A. Pringle is an American former professional gridiron football player. A running back, he had a successful career in the Canadian Football League (CFL), during which he set or tied almost every significant league records for the position. He played college football for the California State University, Fullerton Titans and was twice signed by National Football League (NFL) teams, though he never played a game in the NFL.

Dave Dickenson Canadian Football League head coach

David Dickenson is a Canadian football head coach with the Calgary Stampeders and former professional player with the Stampeders and the BC Lions where he won the 2006 Grey Cup and was named the game's MVP. Dickenson also played quarterback collegiately at the University of Montana, where he led the Montana Grizzlies to the 1995 NCAA I-AA college football championship.

Joffrey Reynolds

Joffrey Reynolds is a former professional Canadian football running back. He played eight years for the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League where he was the franchise's all-time leading rusher with 9,213 rushing yards. For six consecutive years Reynolds rushed for over 1,000 yards. He was named a CFL All-Star four times and won a Grey Cup championship with the Stampeders in 2008. He attended the University of Houston.

Matt Dunigan is an American broadcaster and former professional football player and executive. He is a Canadian Football League (CFL) sportscaster for Canadian sports television channel TSN. Dunigan is a former quarterback, coach, and executive in the CFL. In 2006, Dunigan joined the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, and was voted one of the CFL's Top 50 players (#39) of the league's modern era by Canadian sports network TSN.

MarTay Jenkins is a former American football wide receiver in the National Football League for the Arizona Cardinals. He also was a member of the Arizona Rattlers in the Arena Football League and the Calgary Stampeders in the Canadian Football League. He played college football at the University of Nebraska Omaha.

Allen Pitts was a receiver for the Calgary Stampeders in the Canadian Football League from 1990 to 2000. He attended Cal-State Fullerton and played his entire professional career as a receiver for the Calgary Stampeders. He retired as the CFL's all-time leading receiver in term of career yardage until he was passed by Milt Stegall in 2008.

Earl Lunsford, known as the "Earthquake", was a fullback for the Calgary Stampeders and is a member of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.

Willie Fleming

Willie Fleming is a former professional Canadian football player with the Canadian Football League's BC Lions. Fleming played collegiately as a halfback at the University of Iowa, where he was a member of the Hawkeyes' 1959 Rose Bowl championship team. He is a member of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, the BC Sports Hall of Fame, and the BC Lions Wall of Fame. Fleming's number 15 jersey is one of eight numbers retired by the Lions. In 2003, Fleming was voted a member of the BC Lions All-Time Dream Team as part of the club's 50th anniversary celebration. In 2006, Fleming was voted to the Honour Roll of the CFL's Top 50 players of the league's modern era by Canadian sports network TSN.

Byron Ledare"By" Bailey born to Rollin Edward and Cora Helen (Bruner). Bailey, was a professional American and Canadian football player, primarily as a fullback and defensive back with the Canadian Football League BC Lions. Born in Omaha, Nebraska, Bailey is a member of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, the BC Sports Hall of Fame, the B.C. Lions Wall of Fame, and the Washington State University Athletic Hall of Fame. Bailey's #38 jersey is one of eight numbers retired by the B.C. Lions. In 2006, Bailey was voted to the Honour Roll of the CFL's top 50 players of the league's modern era by Canadian sports network TSN.

Jon Cornish

Jon Cornish is a former Canadian football running back who played nine seasons with the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League (CFL). Cornish was drafted 13th overall in the 2006 CFL Draft. He played college football at the University of Kansas. Cornish announced his retirement from the CFL on December 2, 2015.

2007 Calgary Stampeders season

The 2007 Calgary Stampeders season was the 50th season for the team in the Canadian Football League and their 69th overall. After promising 2nd-place finishes in the West Division in 2005 (11–7) and 2006 (10–8) they finished 3rd in the West Division in 2007, with a disappointing 7–10–1 record, their first losing record in three seasons. They were defeated in the Western Semi-Final 26–24 by the eventual Grey Cup champion Saskatchewan Roughriders. The season was the last in which the team recorded more than two consecutive losses in the regular season in 10 years, recording three consecutive losses to close out the 2017 Calgary Stampeders season.

Marquay McDaniel is a former professional Canadian football wide receiver and currently the receivers coach for the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League (CFL). McDaniel played 10 seasons in the CFL, six with the Stampeders and four with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. He was originally signed by the Denver Broncos as an undrafted free agent in 2007. McDaniel was named a CFL All-Star in 2013, and won a Grey Cup championship in 2014. He played college football for the Hampton Pirates.

Charles Lee Young is a former American football running back in the National Football League for the Dallas Cowboys. He was drafted in the first round of the 1974 NFL Draft. He played college football at North Carolina State University.

Stanley Allen Fritts is a former professional American football player who played running back for two seasons for the Cincinnati Bengals. He played college football at North Carolina State University.

Jerome Messam is a former professional Canadian football running back. He most recently played for the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League (CFL). He was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the BC Lions. After being traded to the Edmonton Eskimos, he became the seventh Canadian running back since 1955 and the first since 2000 to rush for over 1,000 yards while also winning the CFL's Most Outstanding Canadian Award. Messam played college football for Graceland University.

KaDeem Carey American football running back

Ka'Deem Carey is an American football running back for the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League (CFL). He was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft. He played college football at Arizona, where he was recognized as an All-American.

Chris Streveler American football quarterback

Christopher L. Streveler is an American football quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Minnesota and South Dakota. Streveler previously played two seasons for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League (CFL).

Rick Galbos is a former American football running back who played in the Canadian Football League.

References

  1. "TSN Top 50 Honour Roll". TSN.ca. 2006-11-28. Retrieved 2007-07-02.
  2. "Holtz Selects Starting Backfield For WolfPack" . Retrieved April 30, 2019.
  3. "Offensive fireworks due at Liberty Bowl" . Retrieved April 30, 2019.
  4. "WolfPack Gridders Get Their Shot At Winning" . Retrieved April 30, 2019.
  5. Sheets eclipses Burdens Five Game Rushing Record
  6. "The last hurrah for a ghost of autumn past" . Retrieved April 30, 2019.
  7. "Johnson: Stampeders great Willie Burden in Atlanta hospital awaiting heart transplant" . Retrieved April 30, 2019.
  8. Former NC State football star Willie Burden dies at 64 Archived 2015-12-20 at the Wayback Machine