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Poole spent 7 seasons at Ole Miss, UNC, Army

JACKSON, Miss. -- Barney Poole, a college football Hall of Famer and member of one of the most famous families in Mississippi football history, died Tuesday, school officials said.

Poole was 81. The cause of death was not immediately available.

Born George Barney Poole, he was considered one of the greatest split ends in Ole Miss and Southeastern Conference history and comprised one-third of the brotherly trio known as the "Pooles of Ole Miss."

Poole starred in the 1940s and played seven seasons of varsity football -- three at Ole Miss, one at North Carolina and three at Army -- because of eligibility policies during World War II.

After World War II, Poole reportedly wanted to return to Ole Miss, but Army coach Earl Blaik wouldn't grant him a release. So Poole purposely flunked out of the academy and went back to Ole Miss for the 1947 and '48 seasons.

He shares the school single-game record with 13 receptions against Chattanooga in 1947, when he teamed with Charlie Conerly to lead the Rebels to the SEC championship.

Poole was selected to the Ole Miss team of the century, which covered the first 100 years of Rebels football from 1893-1992. He caught 70 passes for 764 yards and 11 touchdowns during his Ole Miss career and ranks sixth for catches in a season with 52 during 1947.

At Mississippi, before the Mannings, there were the Pooles. Buster, Ray and Barney Poole began the school's first famous bloodline and its family members earned 50 athletic letters at Ole Miss. That led to an avenue on the Oxford campus being named after the Pooles.

Poole was drafted in 1945 by the Giants but returned to school and then was taken in the ninth round of the 1948 draft by the New York Yankees of the AAFC. He played seven professional seasons with the Yankees, Dallas Texans, Baltimore Colts and the Giants.

After his playing career ended, he coached in both high school and college and was manager of Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium in Jackson.

Poole was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1974 and the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 1965 and was elected to the Ole Miss Athletic Hall of Fame in 1987.

A linebacker on the 2004 team, senior Rob Robertson, is listed as a relative of the Pooles.

Poole is survived by his wife of 56 years, Martha; two daughters; three granddaughters; one brother, Ray Poole of Oxford; and one sister, Wildean Robertson of Berwick.