Willie Burden, a football star at N.C. State and a member of the Canadian Football League Hall of Fame, died Friday in Atlanta. He was 64.
Burden, a Raleigh native, was the ACC player of the year in 1973, when the Wolfpack won the ACC championship. He was the first Wolfpack player to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season and set the school’s single-game rushing record with 198 yards against Ken State in 1971 — a mark eclipsed by Ted Brown in 1975.
Burden was drafted by the NFL’s Detroit Lions in 1974 but played in the Canadian Football League with the Calgary Stampeders from 1974 to 1981. He set an CFL record with 1,896 yards in 1975, retired with 6,234 yard rushing and was selected to the CFL Hall of Fame in 2001.
Burden, who was inducted into the N.C. Sports Hall of Fame in 2009, earned an economics degree from N.C. State, master’s degree in sports administration from Ohio University and doctorate in education from Tennessee State. He served as athletic director for North Carolina A&T University from 1990 to 1999.
More recently, Burden taught sports management at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Ga. A son, Freddie, is an offensive lineman on the Georgia Tech football team.
Burden was a multi-sport star at Enloe High in Raleigh and joined an Eagles teammate, running back Charley Young, at N.C. State in giving the Pack one of the nation’s best backfield corps. The 1973 Pack had Burden, Young, Stan Fritts and Roland Hooks — Young, Fritts and Hooks played in the NFL.
Funeral plans are pending.