Football News Headlines
NOTE: The intent of the News Section is not to dwell on negative stories that are more suited to be found in the Police and Crime Section of your local newspaper, but to report and document stories that cover the entire realm of The World of Football. Chances are, you may not have seen some of these stories before.
(Obituary) January 16, 2021 – Steve Molnar, who played fullback in the Canadian Football League for 10 seasons, dies at the age of 73. Molnar played college football at Utah. He signed with the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 1969 and played for the team through 1978. He played in three Grey Cup games, but never won a title.
(Obituary) January 16, 2021 – Jon Arnett, who was a running back in the NFL for 10 seasons, dies of heart failure at the age of 85. Arnett played college football at USC and was the second overall pick in the 1957 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams. He played seven seasons in LA from 1957-1963. His nickname was “Jaguar Jon” and he still holds the Rams record for longest kickoff return in team history; 105-yards against the Detroit Lions in 1961. He finished his playing career with the Chicago Bears from 1964-1966. Arnett was in the inaugural class for the USC Athletics Hall of Fame in 1994 and was also inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2001.
(Obituary) January 12, 2021 – Bruce Bennett, who played quarterback and defensive back in the Canadian Football League for seven seasons, dies of complication of pneumonia and COVID-19 at the age of 77. Bennett played college football at the University of Florida. He signed with the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 1966 and played for the team through 1972. He won a Grey Cup title in his rookie season. On Aug. 27, 1972, Bennett recorded the longest interception return in Roughriders history with a 112-yard return in a home game against the Calgary Stampeders. Bennett was inducted into the Roughriders’ Plaza of Honour in 1991. After his pro career was over, Bennet spent 10 years as the head coach at Ware County High School in Waycross, Georgia. Bennett is a member of the Waycross-Ware County Sports Hall of Fame and the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame.
(Obituary) January 12, 2021 Tim Lester, who was a fullback in the NFL for eight seasons, dies at the age of 52. Lester played college football at Eastern Kentucky and was selected in the 10th round of the 1992 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams. He played for the Rams from 1992-1994, the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1995-1998 and he ended his playing career with the Dallas Cowboys in 1999. While playing for the Steelers and Rams, Lester was a lead blocker for Jerome Bettis and was sometimes referred to as the “Bus Driver” for leading the way for Bettis, aka “The Bus.”
(Obituary) January 12, 2021 – Carlos Joseph, who was an offensive lineman in the NFL for three seasons, dies of a brain aneurism at the age of 40. Joseph played college football for the Miami Hurricanes and won a national championship at the school in 2001. He was selected in the seventh round of the 2004 NFL draft by the San Diego Chargers. He was with the Chargers in 2004 and 2005 and the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2006. He also played for the Colone Centurions and the Berlin Thunder of NFL Europe in 2006 and for the Las Vegas Gladiators of the Arena Football League in 2007.
(College) January 11, 2021 - The University of Alabama defeated Ohio State 52-24 in the college football national championship game played in Miami. It was the 13th NCAA title for the Crimson Tide dating back to 1961.
(Obituary) January 8, 2021 – Red Wilson, who was a high school and college football coach, dies at the age of 95. Wilson began his coaching career as a high school football coach at several different school. His most successful stop was at Winston-Salem’s R.J. Reynolds High School where he won two high school football state championships at in 1958 and 1964. From 1967-76, he coached at NAIA Elon College, posting a 74-32-2. Elon won six Carolinas Conferences titles and was the NAIA national runner-up in 1973. He was also the head coach at Duke University from 1979-1982 and had back-to-back winning seasons in 1981 and 1982. Wilson was inducted to the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame in 1985.
(Obituary) January 5, 2021 – Eldon “The Phantom” Fortie, a tailback in college, dies at the age of 79. Fortie played college football at BYU and was named the Western Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year in 1962. His jersey number (40) was the first to ever be retired by the school. In 1963, Fortie spent one season in the Canadian Football League with the Edmonton Eskimos. He was inducted into the BYU Athletic Hall of Fame in 1977.
(Obituary) January 3, 2021 – Michael Mayock, a high school football coach and teacher, dies at the age of 86. Mayok played college football at Villanova and was selected in the 24th round of the 1955 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers, However, he turned down playing for the Steelers in order to become a teacher and football coach. He spent 26 years teaching math, Latin, history and literature at the Haverford School, an all-boys college prep school near Philadelphia. He also coached the school’s football team. Mayock retired as a teacher in 1996 and is a member of the school’s athletic hall of fame.
(Obituary) January 2, 2021 – Don Salls, who played running back and defensive back in college as well as a head coach, dies at the age of 101. Salls played college football at Alabama and won a national championship with the team in 1941. He was also captain of the 1942 team. He then joined the Army and served in World War II in France, receiving a Purple Heat for injuries he sustained during combat. He returned to Alabama to get a Doctorate degree in Education. Salls then went into coaching. He coached football at FCS Jacksonville State from 1946-1964. He posted a record of 95-57-11 at JSU, winning three conference championships. He was the winningest football coach in school history. Jacksonville State named its athletic dormitory in his honor in 1966. Salls was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 1992.
(Obituary) January 1, 2021 – Floyd Little, who was a running back in the AFL and the NFL for nine seasons, dies of cancer at the age of 78. Little played college football at Syracuse. He was one of three great running backs to play for the school and all three wore the number 44. The others were NFL Hall of Famer Jim Brown and Heisman Trophy winner Ernie Davis. Little was the sixth overall pick in the 1967 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos. He played his entire career in Denver from 1967-1975. He led the NFL in rushing in 1971 with 1,133 yards. Little was also named the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame Pro Athlete of the Year in 1972. The number he wore in Denver (44) is one of just three that have been retired by the team. Little was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1983, the Broncos Ring of Fame in 1984 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010.