(Born on February 9, 1945) -- It couldn’t have taken the voters in the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame long to let Bill Bergey in that shrine. He’s clearly one of the great athletes in the area’s history.
Bergey was born in Gowanda and graduated from Pine Valley High School There he was an outstanding football and basketball player, but it wasn’t enough to get him a full scholarship offer.
Still, he figured out a way to get a partial offer to attend Arkansas State. That worked out well for both sides, since Bergey was voted the greatest football player in the history of that university.
The linebacker played in the Senior Bowl and was drafted in the second round by Cincinnati. He was picked as the defensive rookie of the year in 1969. He also played for the Eagles, and was an All-Pro four different times.
At the age of 33 in 1979, Bergey became the highest paid defensive player in the league with a four-year, $1 million contract. Injuries limited his effectiveness, however, he played his last game in the Super Bowl for the Eagles against Oakland.
--- Budd Bailey