Otha Payne Jr: 1943-2019


WOAY – WOAY has learned former Mount Hope quarterback Otha Payne Jr. passed away Tuesday at the age of 76.

Payne was the first African-American quarterback for the Mustangs, and was a key part of their success on the gridiron in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Those teams – under the leadership of Payne, Lonnie Warwick, and Ted Spadaro – reached three straight Class AA state championship games.

The Mustangs would share the 1959 championship with Mullens after a 0-0 tie, and were co-champions again in 1960 following a 7-7 tie with Williamson. Mount Hope was runner-up in 1961 to Williamson, who won that title game 20-13.

After his time at Mount Hope, Payne entered the United States Air Force.

Family members say funeral arrangements are currently being discussed.

Matt Digby

Matt Digby is the Sports Director at WOAY-TV. He joined the station in January 2015 – right in the middle of Big Atlantic Classic Week. Read More