Former Huntington School and Tulane football standout Russell Huber died Monday at his home in New Orleans.
He was 65.
Funeral arrangements are incomplete under the direction of Laird Funeral Home in Natchez.
Bobby Marks, who coached Huber at Huntington, said Russell and his brother Jimmy visited him last month in Ferriday.
"Russell was in town for a get-together of the Huntington 1971 football team that won the state championship," Marks said. "He looked great. They were having a blast. I am just totally shocked. He was a heckuva player and an even better person."
Marks said Huber's son went to wake him up on Monday morning when he found him unresponsive.
Marks said Huber signed with Tulane in a duck blind between Clayton and Waterproof.
"LSU wanted him bad," Marks said. "He was one of the best fullbacks I ever coached."
Huber and Gerald Vaught both transferred from Natchez-Adams High to Huntington in 1970. They were both key parts of the 1971 Huntington state championship football team.
"I was shocked to hear it," Vaught said. "We always had big plans to do something. We crossed that bridge many a times together. And Russell was actually the one who talked me into going to Mississippi State. And then he signed with Tulane. i asked him what was the deal and he told me Tulane was just a better place for him. I have some great memories with Russell. I still don't think it's fully sunken in yet that he's gone."
Huber Vaught and Jimmy Darden were members of the Huntington's 440-relay and 880-relay team in track.
Huber said in an interview with the Sentinel in 2012 that his father told him he was not going back to Natchez High. Huber actually attended grade school in Ferriday.
“I had not even heard of Huntington,” Huber said. “We had actually played against Ferriday Junior High when I was at Morgantown. Joey Porter was our quarterback. They were real tough, but we were able to score two touchdowns on them.”
Huber said he called Gerald and told him he was not going back to Natchez-Adams High.
“I told him Coach Marks wanted to talk to him,” Huber said. “After they talked to him they were ready. Gerald’s dad wired Huntington’s gym for free when it was built.”
Huber said he, Vaught and Frank Wilson would take turns driving to Huntington.
“That team at Natchez was going to be something,” Huber said. “I think we would have been unbeatable. I remember Ernie Grantier saying, ‘Man, I can’t believe I finally have a team like this and they are going their separate ways. I didn’t want to go, but I wouldn’t change anything. I don’t believe I would have gotten the scholarship offer to Tulane if not for Coach Marks. I might have gotten one, but it would not have been as good.”
Huber actually shook hands with the coach from Mississippi State and was recruited by former Ole Miss All-American Barney Poole to come to Southern Mississippi.
“Ole Miss also wanted me,” Huber said. “My dad hated Ole Miss and didn’t like State. I was concerned about going to State because there were rumors their coach was getting fired, which he eventually was. Coach Poole was actually recruiting six guys from Huntington to come to Southern Miss. LSU came looking, but no one in Natchez liked LSU at the time, so they didn’t come back. Bennie Ellender came down and talked with us and I signed with Tulane. I blew my knee out my freshman year and sat out two years. I played two years and had a lot of fun there.”
Huber said he felt the 1970 Huntington team was better than the 1971 team that won the school’s first title.
“There was more talent on the 1970 team, but we just put it all together in ‘71,” he said.
“The state championship was certainly a highlight,” said Webber, who was all- state as a junior and senior.
“We had a great group of guys and two wonderful coaches in Coach Marks and Coach Hunter. We had some of the best players in the area. I think we could have competed anywhere. It was a lot of fun and very special.”