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Listen to Bakhtiar talk about his early football career and a trip he made back to Iran during his teenage years.

Dec. 9, 2006

Charlottesville, Va. – Former University of Virginia football player Jamshid “Jim” Bakhtiar was presented with the Football Writers Association of America All-America Alumni Award at the FWAA’s 63rd All-America Team ceremony at the Atlantic Dance Hall on Disney’s Boardwalk.

A native of Tehran, Iran, Bakhtiar came to the United States as an 11-year old in 1946. He began playing football as a youngster growing up in Washington, D.C., first at Wilson High School and then at the Bullis School.Recruited to UVa by Harrison “Chief” Nesbit, Bahktiar starred as a fullback and linebacker during his varsity career from 1955-57, typically playing between 55-60 minutes per game, and was the most dominant ball-carrier in the Atlantic Coast Conference’s first decade. Upon completion of his career he was first in ACC history in rushing (2434 yards), rushing attempts (555) and most 100-yard games–all records that stood until 1968. He also posted the No. 2 and No. 3 top rushing seasons in ACC history (and three of top eight) and remained so until 1964.

He led UVa in rushing and scoring in each of this three varsity seasons and remains the only player in school history to do so. He also finished in the top-10 nationally in rushing all three years, an extraordinarily rare feat for any era.

Bakhtiar led the ACC in rushing as a senior in 1957 and earned first-team All-America honors from the FWAA and Look magazine.

He played one year of professional football with the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League.

Earning his medical degree from UVa in 1963, Bakhtiar returned to Iran in the 1970s to teach at the University of Isfahan. He also established the first psychiatric unit in a general hospital in Iran. Several years after returning to his homeland, the Iranian revolution erupted as Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini came into power.

One night in 1982, several of Khomeini’s men broke into Bakhtiar’s house and took him away. Kept for a month and released, Bakhtiar, his wife and three young children escaped Iran by riding horseback at night and hiding in caves during the day until they reached Turkey. From there Bakhtiar and his family returned to the United States.

He is currently practicing psychiatry and lives in West Virginia.

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