Reggie Barlow says Black History trailblazers paved way for his career

Published: Feb. 18, 2022 at 8:46 AM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Reggie Barlow grew up in Montgomery, Alabama. The former Super Bowl champ had no intentions of playing football as a little boy.

“MLB, we grew up playing baseball,” said Barlow. My brothers, the four of us, baseball was our thing.”

A junior high school coach knew he had brothers who played football, and he asked Reggie to give it a try. Eventually, he learned to love the game. Barlow was a standout at Lanier High School in Montgomery and then starred at Alabama State University. After college, he spent eight years in the NFL.

“I still remember walking onto the practice field at the age of 26 with my helmet, saying, man, I’m still playing football,” Barlow said.

He played with the Jaguars, the Raiders, and then won a Super Bowl with the Buccaneers. When Barlow finished playing, one of his coaches encouraged him to get into coaching.

“I’ll tell you the truth Judd, one of my biggest goals and dreams was to be the head coach at Bellingrath Junior High School,” Barlow said.

By 2007, he was the head coach at his alma mater Alabama State University. He realizes getting a head coaching job at that level isn’t easy, especially for minorities.

Montgomery native Reggie Barlow enjoyed an 8 year career in the NFL and then got into...
Montgomery native Reggie Barlow enjoyed an 8 year career in the NFL and then got into coaching. He's been the head coach at two universities, tough jobs to land for anyone, especially if you're a minority candidate.(WSFA 12 News)

“It’s nowhere near where it should be,” Barlow said. “There are a lot of minority coaches who deserve an opportunity.”

He’s taking advantage of his opportunity, now the head coach at Virginia State. I asked him what Black History Month means to him.

“I don’t turn on Dr. Martin Luther King just in February. I sit and listen to his words all the time,” Barlow said. “We all mention Dr. Martin Luther King because we know who he is and what he stood for. But there are so many other trailblazers that laid the foundation and paved the way for guys like me to have the opportunity to do what I’m doing.”

He’s done some big things, and he’s not done yet. But Coach Barlow never forgets where he came from.

“I miss Montgomery, I miss you guys,” Barlow added.

This fall Coach Barlow will start his 7th season as head coach at Virginia State.

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