Val Barksdale dies

Val Barksdale, 47, a first-team defensive back in Tennessee's rebuilding period from 1977 through 1980, died Saturday at University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Ky.

His sister, Darlene Johnson of Oak Ridge, said Barksdale had become ill with pancreatic cancer about one year ago and had been hospitalized several times. He had been admitted to the hospital most recently on Monday, Feb. 27.

A native of Harriman, Barksdale came to UT as part of Tennessee's first recruiting class after Johnny Majors replaced Bill Battle as head coach in 1977. The UT record book lists him as the starting free safety in 1977 and 1980. He had been recruited by Battle.

The 1979 team, for which he lettered, played in the Bluebonnet Bowl in Houston, Texas, the first Vols' team to see postseason action since the 1974 squad participated in Memphis' Liberty Bowl.

The funeral service is set for 1 p.m. Wednesday at Consolidated Baptist Church, 1625 Russell Cave Road, in Lexington. The family will receive friends at the church from 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday. Barksdale was a member of Glen Arvin Church of Christ.

Survivors include his wife, Ivy Mapp Barksdale; children, twins Martina and Marcellus 12, and another son, Dariuis 8. A sister, Sharrieffa Barksdale, ran track at UT as a hurdler and was a member of the U.S. Olympic team in 1984.

Barksdale had been an employee of Thoroughbred Chevrolet in Lexington.

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