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) February 20, 2020 – Dan Radakovich, an assistant coach in college and the NFL for 50 years, dies at the age of 84. Radakovich played center and linebacker in college at Penn State. He became an assistant coach with the Nittany Lions from 1957-1969. He was also an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1970s and won two Super Bowls with the team. He also spent time as an assistant coach with the San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Rams, Denver Broncos, Minnesota Vikings, New York Jets, Cleveland Browns and in college at Cincinnati, North Carolina State and Colorado. Radakovich ended his coaching career back in college as the defensive coordinator at FCS Robert Morris University from 1996-2007.
(Obituary) February 13, 2020 – Chuck Shelton, a college football head coach for 19 years, dies at the age of 84. Shelton played college football at Division II Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas as a running back. He was the head coach at Drake University from 1977-1985. He then went on to be the head coach at Utah State from 1986-1991, where he was named the Big West Conference Co-Coach of the Year in 1991. Shelton was the also head coach at the University of the Pacific from 1992-1995. Shelton was inducted into the Missouri Sport Hall of Fame as a coach in 2006.
(Obituary) February 3, 2020 – Willie Wood, a Hall of Fame defensive back, dies at the age of 84. Wood played college football at USC. He was an undrafted free agent who played his entire 12-year NFL career with the Green Bay Packers from 1960-1971. He won five NFL titles during his career as well as the first two Super Bowls. After his playing career was over, he spent three seasons as an assistant defensive coach with the San Diego Chargers from 1972-1974. He then became the head coach of the Philadelphia Bell of the World Football League in 1975, making him the first black head coach in any pro football league since the 1920s. He was also an assistant coach with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League in 1979 and was also the team’s head coach in 1980 and 1981, making him the first black head coach in the CFL. Wood was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1989 and is also a member of the Packers Hall of Fame.
(NFL) February 2, 2020 - The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers 31-20 in Super Bowl LIV in Miami. It was the Chiefs' first Super Bowl title since 1970 when head coach Hank Stram and quarterback Len Dawson led the team to a win over the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV.
(Obituary) January 29, 2020 – Larry Eisenhour, a defensive end in the American Football League for x seasons, dies at the age of 79. Eisenhour played college football at Boston College and was selected in the sixth round of the American Football League Draft in 1961. He played his entire nine-year career with the Boston Patriots from 1961-1969. Eisenhauer was named to the Patriots All-Decade team of the 1960s. He was also inducted into the Boston College Varsity Club Athletic Hall of Fame in 1978.
(Obituary) January 28, 2020 – Chris Doleman, a Hall of Fame defensive end in the NFL for 15 seasons, dies of cancer at the age of 58. Doleman played college football at the University of Pittsburgh and was selected with the fourth overall pick in the 1985 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings. He played in Minnesota for nine seasons, from 1985-1993. He then played for the Atlanta Falcons in 1994 and 1995 and for the San Francisco 49ers from 1996-1998. He returned to the Vikings to play his final season in 1999 at the age of 38. Doleman was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2012 and is also a member of the Vikings Ring of Honor.
(Obituary) January 19, 2020 – Danny Talbott, who played professional baseball and football, dies at the age of 75. Talbott played college football at the University of North Carolina. He was named ACC Player of the Year in football in 1965 and ACC Athlete of the Year in 1966. Talbott was also named Most Valuable Player in the 1966 East-West Shrine Game. He even helped lead the school’s baseball team to a College World Series appearance in 1966. Talbott was selected in the 17th round of the 1967 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers, but he opted to try pro baseball first. He played one year of minor league baseball in Miami with a Baltimore Orioles' farm team. Talbott then signed with the Washington Redskins and was a backup quarterback for three seasons. Talbott was inducted in the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame in 2003.
(Obituary) January 18, 2020 – Norm Hill, a player in the Canadian Football League for seven seasons, dies at the age of 91. Hill played college football at the University of Manitoba. He was an end for the Calgary Stampeders from 1948-1950 and was a member of the 1948 undefeated Grey Cup championship team. He will be remembered for his part in one of the greatest plays in Grey Cup history. When Calgary quarterback Keith Spaith threw a completed pass to Woody Strode on one side of the field, Hill flopped on the ground and stayed there unnoticed on the other side of the field. When the ball was snapped on the next play, he got up, sprinted downfield, caught a pass and scored the Stampeders’ first touchdown of the game. Calgary went on to beat the Ottawa Rough Riders 12-7 and capped off a 15-0 season. He went on to play for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers from 1951-1953 and returned to play one final season in Calgary in 1954. After his playing career was over, Hill became a medical researcher and a neurosurgeon.
(College/FBS) January 13, 2020 - The LSU Tigers defeated the Clemson Tigers 42-25 in the National Championship Game. LSU finished the season 15-0.
(College/FCS) January 11, 2020 - The North Dakota State Bison defeated the James Madison Dukes 28-20 in the Football Championship Subdivision title game played in Frisco, Texas. It was the eighth FCS title for the Bison in the last nine years. NDSU finished the season with a 16-0 record, the first at any college level since Yale did it in 1894.
(Obituary) January 7, 2020 – George Perles, a college football head coach for 12 seasons, dies at the age of 85. Perles played college football for one season at Michigan State before a knee injury ended his playing career. He then became a student assistant coach at the school. Perles spent 11 seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers as a defensive line coach, defensive coordinator and eventually an assistant head coach, helping lead the team to 4 Super Bowl victories in the 1970s. He returned to MSU and was the head coach of the Spartans from 1983-1994, winning two Big Ten titles and a win over USC in the 1988 Rose Bowl. He also became the school’s athletic director in 1990. Perles was let go during the 1994 season. An NCAA investigation forced MSU to forfeit the 11 games that he had coach that season due to an academic cheating scandal. Perles himself was not accused of any wrong doing. In 2006, Perles was elected to the school’s Board of Trustees and remained on the board through 2018.
(Obituary) January 2, 2020 – Houston Hogg, one of the first African-Americans to break the color barrier in the Southeastern Conference, dies at the age of 71. Hogg played college football at Kentucky from 1967-1970. He was a running back and lettered on the football team in 1969 and 1970. The university unveiled a statue of Hogg and three of his team mates in September 2016 at Kroger Field. The school named Hogg an honorary captain for the 2019 season opener against Toledo and recognized him on the field during the game for his role in integrating the SEC.
(Obituary) January 2, 2020 – Sam Wyche, a head coach in the NFL for 12 years, dies at the age of 74. Wyche played college football at Furman. He signed with the Cincinnati Bengals in 1968 and played quarterback for three seasons through 1970. He then played for the Washington Redskins in 1971 and 1972, the Detroit Lions in 1973 and the St. Louis Cardinals in 1976. Wyche then went into coaching. He started out as the quarterback’s coach of the San Francisco 49ers from 1979-1982 before becoming a college football head coach at Indiana in 1983. He went on to be the head coach of the Bengals from 1984-1991, leading the team to an appearance in Super Bowl XXIII. He was also the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1992-1995. His last NFL job was with the Buffalo Bills in 2004 and 2005 as the team’s quarterback’s coach. After that, Wyche became a teacher and was an assistant football coach at Pickens High School in South Carolina through 2018.
(Obituary) January 1, 2020 – Les Josephson, a running back in the NFL for 11 seasons, dies at the age of 77. Josephson played college football at Division II Augustana College. He signed as a free agent with the Dallas Cowboys in 1964, but was traded to the Los Angeles Rams during training camp. He played for the Rams from 1964-1974. His nickname was the “Blonde Bull” because of his blonde hair and his hard-running style. After his playing career was over, he became a sportscaster and actor. Josephson was Warren Beatty’s double as the LA Rams quarterback in the 1978 movie, “Heaven Can Wait.” He was also a technical consultant on the 1976 Disney movie, “Gus” and appeared in an episode of the TV show, “Police Woman.” Josephson also spent 20 years as a college football radio color analyst for the Arizona Wildcats.
(Obituary) January 1, 2020 – Doug Hart, a cornerback in the NFL for eight seasons, dies at the age of 80. Hart played college football at Texas Arlington and signed with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1963 as a rookie free agent. However, he was cut by the Cardinals in training camp and then signed with the Green Bay Packers. He spent the 1963 season on the Packers’ taxi squad, which is today known as the practice squad. Hart played for the Packers from 1964-1971 and won three straight NFL titles as well as Super Bowls I and II.