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Sam Huff


Athlete and sportsman Robert Lee ‘‘Sam’’ Huff, born near Morgantown, October 4, 1934, was recruited as a football star from Farmington High School by West Virginia University head coach Art ‘‘Pappy’’ Lewis. Huff and Bruce Bosley bolstered a fearsome defense that led WVU to a 38-7 record between 1952 and 1955, including three consecutive wins over rival Penn State.

In the National Football League, Huff ’s New York Giants played in six championship games in eight years but won only one (1956). From 1964 to 1967, Huff played for the Washington Redskins, then owned by West Virginia native George Preston Marshall. After a one-year retirement, Huff returned as a player-coach for the Redskins in 1969 under coach Vince Lombardi. After one last season, his 13th in the league, Huff retired again. He returned to Farmington and ran for Congress in 1970 but lost the Democratic primary to incumbent Robert Mollohan. The three-time All-NFL linebacker was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1982.

In 1987, Huff and his partner, Carol Holden, founded the West Virginia Breeders Classic at Charles Town. The annual horse racing event, which began with five races and a purse total of $200,000, has grown significantly. In 2001, there were eight races with a purse total of $1 million. In addition, the event is televised nationally. Huff and Holden own Sam Huff-Sporting Life Stable in Middleburg, Virginia, near Charles Town Races, where the West Virginia Breeders Classic is held each October.

Huff works as a broadcaster and lives on his farm in Middleburg.

Written by Stan Bumgardner


  1. Charleston Gazette, 12/19/1973.