Bosley succeeded wherever he went
SHEPHERDSTOWN — One of the most telling facts about how little information about athletes once circulated in West Virginia, is that 14-year NFL player Bruce Bosley was once a third-team all-state, Class B selection at long-gone Green Bank High School in Pocahontas County.
Third team! On the Class B level? And then he became a four-year starter at WVU, playing on teams that had a cumulative record of 31-7 from 1952-1955. West Virginia had been 5-5 in 1951 and immediately went to 7-2 in Bosley’s first season as an interior lineman.
As a WVU senior, Bosley was a consensus All-America selection.
Even if he hadn’t been a talented football player, Bosley would not have been a cast-aside football player because he was an Academic All-American student, earning his degree in four years in chemical engineering.
But football was his livelihood for 14 years, after he earned his degree from WVU.
Drafted in the second round by the San Francisco 49ers, he was stationed at defensive end in his first professional season. But that came after he was able to play in the College Football All-Star game, the North-South game and the Senior Bowl following his senior season in Morgantown.
During his 13 years with the 49ers, he was named to the Pro Bowl four times and to the All-Pro team another four times.
In his 14th and final season, Bosley played for the Atlanta Falcons.
His last 13 years found him in the interior offensive line as a center or guard.
After he retired from the NFL, he was named to the San Francisco “Golden Era” team, which encompassed the 1946 season through 1969 season.
In 1981, Bosley was named to college football’s 75th anniversary team.
West Virginia retired his number “77” before a Mountaineer game in 2016.
Upon his leaving the NFL in retirement, he first restored homes in North Carolina and did that for 11 years. Later, he became a part-owner of a wholesale electrical supply house.
Back in northern California, he was on the board of directors of charitable organizations and was active in civic, cultural and non-profit fundraising.
Having moved to West Virginia at a young age after being born in California, Bosley was once quoted as saying, “I have never left my roots. They are in West Virginia.”
By that time, he had been inducted into WVU’s Athletic Hall of Fame — a member of the second enshrined class.
It seems that no grass grew under the man’s feet.
In 1995, he died of a heart attack and West Virginia, as well as California, lost a highly skilled and talented.
A third-team All-State player at a Class B school in the mountains of Pocahontas County? None of those doing that selecting could have seen him play in high school — the same as goes on today when West Virginia all-state teams are selected by people who have never seen many of the athletes play.