Mike Barber To Enter College FB Hall of Fame

One of the greatest players ever to wear a Marshall University uniform, Mike Barber will become only the third player in school history to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame this Friday and Saturday, August 12 and 13. A two-time First Team All-America selection, Barber was named National I-AA Player of the Year in 1988 by the American Football Coaches Association.

Barber was named to the Associated Press first team All-American in 1987 (second team, 1988); first team Sports Network All-American in both 1987 and 1988; and first team Walter Camp All-American in both 1987 and 1988. "It's quite an honor," said Barber. "Very unexpected and different from the other honors I received in my career, where you set a goal and went after it. This is really just a recognition of what my teammate and myself achieved."

Barber, a Marshall Hall of Fame member since 1994, played alongside fellow MU HOF members John Gregory, Sean Doctor, Reggie Giles, Ron Darby and Tony Petersen. "I was fortunate to be put in a place where I could succeed," said the former All-State quarterback at Winfield High School, near where Barber now lives in Putnam County. "I played at MU with great talent gathered by coach Stan Parrish and then taken up a notch by coach George Chaump. I had great quarterbacks in Tony and John, a great running backs in Ron and other greats like Reggie, Darryl Burgess, John Spellacy and Cecil Fletcher on defense. Once I was in the pros, I knew those guys on those Marshall teams where as good as the talent from schools like Florida State or Oklahoma. My recruiting class of 27 in 1985 led to 16 starters on those teams in 1987 and 1988."

Marshall won a then school record 10 games in 1987 and advanced to the I-AA National Championship, falling one point short. The next year, MU won its first Southern Conference title with a 10-1 regular season, reaching a ranking of number one in I-AA for the first time, and fell in the quarterfinals of the playoffs after a Barber touchdown led to a 7-0 win over highly rated North Texas in the first round.

Barber enters the Hall of Fame with another Divisional player he was aware of as a sophomore in 1986. "I would get the NCAA stats every week to see where I was and this guy Jerry Rice was always ahead of everyone. His quarterback was Willie Totten, who also led the nation in passing and it's great to enter the Hall with him." Totten and Rice were together at Mississippi Valley State in the mid-1980s and Barber eventually would play with Rice, backing up the all-time great receiver in San Francisco in 1989. "People ask what it was like to play with Jerry Rice. I stood on the sidelines and watched, because he never came off the field. He had great work ethic, but he was a freak of nature to still be playing."

Other members of this years College Football Hall of Fame class familiar to fans include punter Ray Guy of Southern Miss; safety Jack Tatum of Ohio State; running back Lydell Mitchell of Penn State; and quarterback Andre Ware of Houston. Other former Thundering Herd players who are already in the College Football Hall of Fame include quarterback Harry "Cy" Young (Marshall 1910-12; inducted in 1958) and running back Jackie Hunt (Marshall 1939-41; inducted 2004).

The Thundering Herd's first three-time First Team All-Southern Conference pick, Barber led the nation in receiving while setting single-season conference and Marshall records with 106 receptions, 1,757 yards and 11 receiving touchdowns in 1987. He led MU in receptions three consecutive years (1986: 64/1,180YDS/7TD and 1988: 79/1,325YDS/8TD) and his three consecutive seasons of 1,000 yards or more receiving is a SC record. He and tight end Sean Doctor combined for a SC record 2,241 yards receiving by teammates in 1987. The Southern Conference's all-time career leader in receptions (249) and MU's all-time leader in receiving yards (4,262), His 26 touchdowns is 17th all-time at Marshall and he is third all-time in receiving touchdowns. He is still the all-time leading receiver at MU in career yards and is eighth in all-purpose yards with 4,466 yards, and average of 89.3 yards per game in 50 games played, 11th all-time at MU. Barber had 21 games with 100 or more yards receiving, the all-time Marshall leader by one game over current Denver Bronco Darius Watts (20) and six more than current Oakland Raider Randy Moss (15). Barber was voted Marshall's "Athlete of the Decade" for the 1980s. Prior to graduation, Barber was selected in the fourth round of the 1989 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. He later played for both the Arizona Cardinals and Cincinnati Bengals, ending his career in 1992.

Barber has become a successful businessman in West Virginia since then and is now the regional manager for Brech Buhler Scales, an industrial weights and measure company. He has been married since 1990 to his wife, Amy, and they have four children, a boy and three girls. A community minded individual, Barber maintains a very active role in local affairs while serving as a coach and member of the board of directors for Little League Baseball and youth basketball. "I have served for two years as President of the Little League and Midget League Basketball. I love being involved in youth sports and most of the parents have no idea, unless they grew up around here, of my playing days. I love being able to take what I know about athletics and, as a coach, being able to pass it along to youngsters. "It's also interesting to run into former teammates who have children also playing youth sports. Over the spring, I ran into John Gregory, Andre Motley and Stanley Hall, all teammates back then. There is always a special bond between teammates and I just had to give those guys a big bear hug when I saw them. They ask if I am going to make it to a Marshall game, but with soccer, baseball and basketball games to get four kids to, I just promise to try and make it when I can."

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