Pat Daugherty loves to tell this story of how his uncle – Hugh Duffy Daugherty – suffered a broken neck while a junior football player at Syracuse but returned to play as a senior then coach football for 40 years.
"He was told he had to quit football and never walk again," Pat Daugherty said. "He came back his senior year to block a punt against Penn State that won the game. That's Duffy in a snapshot – his toughness, his tenacity."
Duffy Daugherty, the grandson of Scottish immigrants, was born in Emeigh in 1915 – one of four children of Joseph and Elizabeth Daugherty. He was a halfback and center at Barnesboro High after playing with the "Alley Eleven" – a local pre-high school pickup team.
"Duffy was not a nickname – it was his father's mother's maiden name," said Pat Daugherty, owner of The Tavern Restaurant in State College.
After high school, Daugherty worked as a tipple man at Barnes and Tucker Co.'s Mine 15 at Bakerton. Pat Daugherty said Duffy also worked in the Moss Creek Mine in Marstellar, Barr Township – where Syracuse recruited him off the Moss Creek Mine football team to play guard for the Orange.
Daugherty enlisted in the Army in 1941 and served four years, earning the Bronze Star. He then enrolled at Syracuse and joined the football team.
After his playing days, Daugherty coached linemen under Clarence L. "Biggie" Munn at Syracuse, then followed Munn to Michigan State, where Daugherty's linemen were known as "Duffy's Toughies."
Windber native Frank Kush was an all-American defensive lineman under Daugherty in 1952 before coaching at Arizona State and in the NFL and USFL.
Daugherty was named the Spartans' head coach in December 1953, and turned the program into a national power.
Michigan State won 109 games and two national titles under Daugherty from 1954-72, and played in the Rose Bowl after the 1955 and 1965 seasons. Daugherty was chosen national coach of the year both years.
The 1955 Spartans team included local players in guard Ron Rickens (Cresson), tackle George Pepoy (Hollsopple), quarterback Robert Popp (Franklin), captain and center John Matsko (St. Michael) and tackle Ed Sutilla (Revloc).
Daugherty's best seasons were: 9-1 in 1955; 8-1 in 1957; 10-1 in 1965; 9-0-1 in 1966. Top Spartan players during that era included Bubba Smith, Gene Washington, Brad Van Pelt and Herb Adderly.
The 1966 team won its first nine game before battling No. 1 Notre Dame in late November to a 10-10 tie that became known as "The Game of the Century." Michigan State shared the National Football Foundation's national title with Ara Parseghian's Fighting Irish.
The Spartans were voted national champions in both 1965 and '66.
Johnstown native Jeff Richardson was drafted off Daugherty's 1967 team by the New York Jets, and went on to play in Super Bowl III.
Daugherty retired from coaching in 1972, and worked broadcasting NFL games for ABC for several seasons.
After his final game, Daugherty said: "A few years from now, people won't remember what the score was between Michigan State and Ohio State, or Northwestern. The fame you achieve for victory is fleeting. You undertake to bring a boy to this school, you feel responsible for him. You want him to play hard, work hard, be honest with himself and others and get an education. You want the same for them as you would for your own sons."
Daugherty was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1984 and the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in 1975.
He died on Sept. 25, 1987, in Santa Barbara, California.
In 2008, Michigan State named its new East Lansing football complex The Duffy Daugherty Building, following a $15 million expansion project. In addition, the Duffy Daugherty Memorial Award is presented annually to a person for lifetime achievement and outstanding contribution to amateur football.
Pat Daugherty said Duffy never forgot his Cambria County roots.
"He promised recruits there would be no hazing, such as making them sing their high school fight songs," Pat Daugherty said. "But instead, he had his high school recruits sing his high school fight song. All those football players had to learn, 'We're Strong For Barnesboro.' "