Harley O. Staggers

Class of 1931 / Inducted 1972 - Charter Member / Football

A charter member of the Sports Hall of Fame, Harley Orrin Staggers was inducted for his accomplishments as both an athlete and a statesman.

After his collegiate career on the Emory & Henry football team, Staggers began his professional career as a high school coach and science teacher, serving on the West Virginia State Road Commission in 1941-42 before becoming a Navy aviator with the rank of lieutenant commander during World War II. After this, Staggers served more than 30 years in the House of Representatives, acting as chair of the House Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce for eight terms. An advocate of the modernized laws for transportation, he spearheaded the Staggers Rail Act of 1980, which bears his name, as an effort to deregulate and revitalize America’s railway system.

Staggers received an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Emory & Henry in 1953, as well as honorary degrees from Davis and Elkins College, West Virginia University, and West Virginia Wesleyan College. In 1978, he was selected as the Emory & Henry College Alumnus of the Year.

Harley Staggers died on August 20, 1991 at the age of 84.