06/28/06 — Wimbush inducted into WSSU Hall of Fame

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Wimbush inducted into WSSU Hall of Fame

By Steve Roush
Published in Sports on June 28, 2006 2:28 PM

Michael Winbush never dreamed he'd be a hall of famer.

A football and baseball standout at Goldsboro High, Winbush was a star quarterback at Winston-Salem State in the early '80s while also playing minor league baseball in the Texas Rangers organization.

In the fall, he threw spirals. In the spring and summer, he threw fastballs.

And he did both extremely well.

Now a high school football coach, Winbush, 45, will be one of 15 former Rams who will be enshrined into the Clarence E. "Big House" Gaines Athletic Hall of Fame in September.

"The most prestigious thing an athlete can accomplish is to be inducted into a hall of fame," Winbush said on Monday. "Just to be called a hall of famer is something I'll cherish for the rest of my life."

The induction will take place Friday, Sept. 8, and the 15 will also be honored at Winston-Salem State's first home football game the next day against South Carolina State.

Winbush, who grew up in Goldsboro with nine brothers and one sister, credits his family for much of his success and will be looking up to the stands at those familiar faces on that September afternoon.

"My mother and father raised me well, and to see them, my brothers and my sister in the stands one more time will be special," he said. "They all used to come see me play."

One brother, Jeffrey, played tight end with the Rams while Michael was running the offense. He remembers when his brother was the big man on campus.

"He was an outstanding football player and a team leader," said Jeffrey, 45. "He was a great all-around player -- he ran the ball well and he threw it well, too. He was our general on the field."

Michael is modest when talking about his playing days.

"I'm just a lucky guy from Goldsboro," he said. "I had a good line in front of me during my playing days at Goldsboro and at Winston-Salem State. A lot of credit goes to my teammates."

Michael graduated from Goldsboro High in 1980, and played with the Rams from 1980-84. He signed with the Rangers in 1982, and advanced to the Triple-A level before elbow problems forced him to retire in '87.

After his playing days were over, Winbush coached 12 years at his alma mater and served those final eight years as the Rams' offensive coordinator. He moved on to Norfolk State for a year as an offensive coordinator, then served in the same capacity at Virginia State for a year.

He's now entering his second season as head football coach at Atkins High in Winston-Salem. With a young team comprised of entirely freshmen and sophomores, his squad went 1-10 in 2005.

"This year, we'll have a junior class, and the following year, we'll finally have a senior class," Winbush said. "Strength is the key -- if these guys keep working hard in the weight room, we'll improve. I expect us to be a whole lot better this year."

ESPN columnist, NBA analyst, and host of "Quite Frankly," Stephen A. Smith, will also be inducted into the Winston-Salem State Hall of Fame in September, as will Anthony Blaylock (football); Debra Rivers Johnson (cheerleader coach); Marshall Emery (men's basketball); Oronde Gadsen (football); Eddie Gregg (football); Alfred Harvey (meritorious service); Willie Jordan (football); James McLinnaham (wrestling); Marvin Morrison (football); Keith Wilkes (football); Curtis Richardson (football); Verdell Sanders (wrestling); and Allean Sims (meritorious service).