DURHAM, N.C. – Jerry Barger, the 1954 ACC Player of the Year after captaining Duke’s football squad to the ACC championship and a victory in the Orange Bowl, passed away on Saturday, May 3 in Salisbury, N.C. He was 82 years of age.
Barger lettered four seasons (1951-52-53-54) as a quarterback for the Blue Devils. As a senior in 1954, he served as Duke’s captain under head coach Bill Murray while the Blue Devils went 8-2-1, secured the program’s third consecutive conference championship, defeated Nebraska in the Orange Bowl and finished the year ranked 14th in the final Associated Press national poll. In the 34-7 bowl game win over Nebraska, Barger completed 7-of-9 (.778) passes for 82 yards and two touchdowns.
In 37 career games, Barger completed 84-of-181 (.464) passes for 1,294 yards with nine touchdowns while rushing 290 times for 519 yards and 10 touchdowns. In addition, Barger compiled 538 kickoff and punt return yards, punted 54 times for a 33.15 yards per boot average and registered 13 interceptions on defense.
In four seasons, Barger helped Duke to a 28-10-3 record with three conference championships (1952 Southern; 1953 & 1954 ACC) and three final national rankings of 16th (1952), 18th (1953) and 14th (1954) in the Associated Press poll. In addition to his ACC Player of the Year citation in 1954, he was named first team All-ACC.
Barger was a 23rd round selection of the Chicago Bears in the 1955 NFL Draft. He was later enshrined into the Duke Athletics Hall of Fame in 1996.
Born on January 24, 1932 in Charlotte, N.C., Barger graduated from Boyden High School in Salisbury. Following graduation from Duke, he served in the United States Air Force where he earned the rank of Captain and later owned the Corbin Hills Golf Course in Salisbury.
Visitation will be held Wednesday from 6-8 p.m. at Summersett Funeral Home. A Memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Thursday at St. John’s Lutheran Church. A committal service will be held at the columbarium at St John’s Lutheran.
Memorials may be made to St. John’s Lutheran Church, 200 W. Innes St., Salisbury, N.C. 28144, Hospice and Palliative Care, 720 Grove St., Salisbury, N.C. 28144 or Faithful Friends, P.O. Box 3097, Salisbury, N.C. 28145. Online condolences may be made at www.summersettfuneralhome.com.