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Football News Headlines

2020

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.


 

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July

(Obituary) July 5, 2020 Bob Reade, a college football head coach for 16 seasons, dies at the age of 87. Reade played college football at Division III Cornell College in Iowa, where he played center and linebacker. He coached high school football for 17 years, from 1962-1978, at Darnall High School in Geneseo, Illinois. His team won three straight state championships between 1976-1978. Reade then coached at Division III Augustana College in Rockford, Illinois from 1979-1994. He won four straight Division III national championships between 1983-1986. From 1983-87, his team had an unbeaten streak of 60 games, the second longest streak in college football history. In 1993, Reade wrote a book called, "Coaching Football Successfully." He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1998.  

(Obituary) July 5, 2020 Tommy Vaughn, who played safety in the NFL for seven seasons, dies at the age of 77. Vaughn played college football at Iowa State and was selected in the fifth round of the 1965 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions. He was also selected in the 11th round of the 1965 AFL Draft by the Denver Broncos. Vaughn played his entire career in Detroit from 1965-1971. He was an assistant coach with the Detroit Wheels of the World Football League in 1974. In 1975, Vaughn became an assistant coach at Iowa State. He also spent time as an assistant coach at Missouri and Wyoming. Vaughn was inducted into the Iowa State Hall of Fame in 2005.

(Obituary) July 4, 2020 Earl Thomas, a wide receiver in the NFL for six seasons, dies at the age of 71. Thomas played college football at the University of Houston and was selected in the sixth round of the 1971 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears. He played in Chicago from 1971-1973, the St. Louis Cardinals in 1974 and 1975 and the Houston Oilers in 1976. He scored the Cardinals first ever post-season touchdown in a game against the Minnesota Vikings in 1974. Thomas had two brothers who also played in the NFL. Jimmy Thomas, played running back for the San Francisco 49ers from 1969-1973. Mike Thomas was also a running back for the Washington Redskins from 1975-1978 and the San Diego Chargers from 1979-1980. Mike was named the NFL Rookie of the Year in 1975. All three Thomas brothers are members of the Greenville High School Athletic Hall of Honor in Greenville, Texas.

(Obituary) July 1, 2020 Gay Culverhouse, the daughter of the original owner of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Hugh Culverhouse, Sr., dies at the age of 73. She was a senior executive of the team for many years when her father was the owner including four years as the Bucs team president, from 1990-1994. Fifteen years later, she became an advocate for former NFL players who were suffering from brain related injuries from their playing careers. She created the Gay Culverhouse Players’ Outreach Program, which is today known as the Retired Player Assistance program. In 2011, she released a book titled, “Throwaway Players: Concussion Crisis from Pee Wee Football to the NFL.”  

June

(Obituary) June 28, 2020 Joe Bugel, a long-time assistant coach in the NFL, dies at the age of 80. Bugel started out as an assistant coach in college as a graduate assistant at Western Kentucky in 1964. He also spent time as an assistant coach at Navy, Iowa State and Ohio State before moving to the NFL in 1974. He was an assistant coach with the Detroit Lions and Houston Oilers before joining the Washington Redskins in 1981. He was the team’s assistant head coach from 1983-1989, won two Super Bowls and is credited with creating the nickname of “The Hogs” for the team’s offensive line in 1982. He then become the head coach of the Phoenix Cardinals from 1990-1993. In 1994, he was an assistant coach with the Oakland Raiders and was the Raiders head coach in 1997.

(Obituary) June 22, 2020 Phil Krueger, who was a college football head coach and an NFL executive, dies at the age of 90. Krueger was the head coach at Fresno State from 1964-1965 and also at Utah State from 1973-1975. He also spent time as an assistant coach at USC from 1966-1970. Krueger was an assistant coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1976-1980 and was also the team’s general manager in 1991. He even spent three years as a consultant to a professional football team in Tokyo, Japan called the Kajima Deers.

(Obituary) June 20, 2020 Jim Kiick, who was a running back in the NFL and in the World Football League, dies at the age of 73. Kiick played college football at Wyoming and was selected in the fifth round of the 1968 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins. He played for the Dolphins from 1968-1974 and won two Super Bowls with the team including the 1972 undefeated team. In 1974, he and two teammates, halfback Larry Csonka and wide receiver Paul Warfield, signed with the Toronto Northmen of the World Football League. The Northmen team never played in Canada and was instead moved to Tennessee where it became the Memphis Southmen. Because Kiick, Csonka and Warfield were still under contract with the Dolphins at the time, the three played for Miami in 1974 before joining the WFL and the Southmen in 1975. The WFL folded midway through the 1975 season. Kiick then signed with the Denver Broncos where he played in 1976 and part of 1977 before being traded to the Washington Redskins to end his playing career.

(Obituary) June 20, 2020 Max Tuerk, who was an offensive lineman in the NFL, dies while hiking in the Cleveland National Forest with his parents at the age of 26. The cause of death was not immediately known. Tuerk played college football at USC and was selected in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers. He played two seasons for San Diego in 2016 and 2017. He then played for the Arizona Cardinals in 2017.

(Obituary) June 19, 2020 Bill Groman, a wide receiver in the American Football League for six seasons and won four AFL titles, dies at the age of 83. Groman played college football at Division III Heidelberg University in Tiffin, Ohio. He signed with the AFL Houston Oilers in 1960 and played in Houston from 1960-1962, winning the first two AFL titles. He played for the Denver Broncos in 1963 and ended his playing career with the Buffalo Bills in 1964 and 1965, where he won two more AFL titles. Injuries cut short his pro football career, but he went on to be a player scout for the Atlanta Falcons.

(Obituary) June 19, 2020 Pat Stark, a longtime college football assistant coach and later administrator, dies at the age of 90. Stark played quarterback at Syracuse and was selected in the second round of the 1954 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. However, he chose not to play pro football. Instead, he became an assistant coach at Syracuse and was on the Orange coaching staff when the team won a college football national championship in 1959. He also spent time as the offensive coordinator at the University of Rhode Island, Harvard University and the University of Rochester. He was instrumental in creating the University of Rochester’s Athletic Hall of Fame, which inducted its first class in 1992. Stark himself was enshrined in 2000. He was also inducted into the Syracuse Hall of Fame in 1995.

(Obituary) June 17, 2020 Jerry Sturm, who was an offensive lineman in the NFL, AFL and the CFL, dies at the age of 83. Sturm played college football at Illinois. He signed with the CFL Calgary Stampeders in 1959 and played in Calgary in 1959 and 1960. He then joined the AFL Denver Broncos where he played from 1961-1966. Sturm also played for the New Orleans Saints from 1967-1970, the Houston Oilers in 1971 and finished his playing career with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1972.

(Obituary) June 7, 2020 Ken Riley, a defensive back in the NFL for 15 seasons, dies at the age of 72. Riley played quarterback in college at Florida A&M an HBCU school. He was selected in the sixth round of the 1969 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals and played his entire career with the Bengals from 1969-1983. He ended his career with 65 interceptions, 18 fumble recoveries and scored five touchdowns. Riley spent two seasons as an assistant coach with the Green Bay Packers in 1984 and 1985 before becoming the head coach at Florida A&M from 1986-1993. He was twice named Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference’s Coach of the Year.

(Obituary) June 6, 2020 John Zook, who played defensive end in the NFL for 11 seasons, dies at the age of 72. Zook played college football at Kansas and was selected in the fourth round of the 1969 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams. The Rams traded him to the Philadelphia Eagles, who then traded him to the Atlanta Falcons. He played in Atlanta from 1969-1975 and in 1971 he recorded the first safety in Falcons history. Zook was then traded to the St. Louis Cardinals where he played the remainder of his career from 1976-1979.

(Obituary) June 6, 2020 DonaldReche” Caldwell, who played wide receiver in the NFL for seven seasons, dies at the age of 41. He was shot and killed in front of his home in Tampa. Caldwell played college football at Florida and was selected in the second round of the 2002 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers. He played in San Diego from 2002-2005, then signed with the New England Patriots where he played in 2006. He was the Patriots' leading receiver in 2006. Caldwell finished his NFL career with the Washington Redskins in 2007.

(Obituary) June 3, 2020 Johnny Majors, who was a long-time college football head coach, dies at the age of 85. Majors played college football at Tennessee. He played one season as a halfback in the CFL with the Montreal Alouettes in 1957 before beginning his long college football coaching career. He started out as an assistant coach at Tennessee, Mississippi State and Arkansas. He became the head coach at Iowa State in 1968 and remained there through 1972, leading the team to their first ever bowl game appearance in the school’s history in 1971. Majors then became the head coach at Pittsburgh from 1973-1976. He led the Panthers to an undefeated season and a college football national championship in 1976. He is most well known as the head coach at Tennessee for 16 season from 1977-1992. He finished his illustrious coaching career back at Pittsburgh from 1993-1996. His jersey number (45) was retired by Tennessee in 2012 and a street on Tennessee's campus in Knoxville is named Johnny Majors Drive in his honor. 

(Obituary) June 1, 2020 Pat Dye, a former college football head coach, dies at the age of 80. Dye played college football at Georgia and spent two seasons in the Canadian Football League as a linebacker with the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 1961 and 1962. He then went into coaching. He was the head coach at East Carolina from 1974-1979, Wyoming in 1980 and Auburn from 1981-1992. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2005.

(Obituary) June 1, 2020 Lee Grosscup, a longtime college football broadcaster, dies at the age of 83. Grosscup was a quarterback in college at the University of Utah and was selected with the 10th overall pick in the 1959 NFL Draft by the New York Giants. He played for the Giants from 1958-1961 and then signed with the New York Titans of the American Football League in 1962. In 1963 he played for the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League and was on the Oakland Raiders taxi squad in 1964.Grosscup began broadcasting AFL games on NBC in 1966. He worked USFL games of the Oakland Invaders in 1983. He is most known for worked radio broadcasts for the University of California from 1986-2018.

May

(Obituary) May 30, 2020 Phil Croyle, who was a linebacker in the NFL for three seasons, dies of cancer at the age of 70. Croyle played college football for the University of California and was selected in the seventh round of the 1971 NFL Draft by the Houston Oilers. He played for the Oilers from 1971-1973 before being traded to the Buffalo Bills during the 1973 season. After his playing career, Croyle became a firefighter in San Jose, CA.

(Obituary) May 29, 2020 Roosevelt “Rosey” Taylor, who played defensive back in the NFL for 12 seasons, dies at the age of 82. Taylor played college football at Grambling State. He signed as a free agent with the Chicago Bears and played in Chicago from 1961-1969. He was traded to the San Francisco 49ers during the 1969 season and played there from 1969-1971. Taylor finished his playing career with the Washington Redskins in 1972. He won an NFL title with the Bears in 1963. 

(Obituary) May 25, 2020 Marv Luster, who played wide receiver and defensive back in the Canadian Football League for 14 seasons, dies at the age of 82. Luster played college football at UCLA and was selected in the ninth round of the 1960 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams. He was also selected that same year in the AFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills. However, he signed with the CFL Montreal Alouettes where he played from 1961-1964. He was then traded to the Toronto Argonauts and played in Toronto from 1964-1972. Luster returned to finish his CFL playing career with the Alouettes in 1973 and 1974, winning a Grey Cup championship with Montreal in 1974. He was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1990 and was named an All-Time Argo in 1998.

(Obituary) May 22, 2020 Dave Smith, a wide receiver in the NFL for four seasons, dies at the age of 73. Smith played college football at Indian University of Pennsylvania and was selected in the eighth round of the 1970 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He played for the Steelers in 1970 and 1971 and led the team in touchdown receptions in 1971. Smith also played for the Houston Oilers in 1972 and the Kansas City Chiefs in 1973.   

(Obituary) May 20, 2020 Joe Beauchamp, a defensive back in the AFL and NFL for 10 seasons, dies at the age of 76. Beauchamp played college football at Iowa State. He signed with the AFL San Diego Chargers and played his entire career in San Diego from 1966-1975.

(Obituary) May 18, 2020 Fred Wendt, an NCAA record holder in college, dies at the age of 95. Wendt played college football at the Texas College of Mines, which is today known as the University of Texas-El Paso. When he graduated from college, he held NCAA records for single-season rushing yards, single-season scoring, single-game rushing yards and single-game scoring. His 1948 NCAA record 1,570 single-season rushing yards stood for 20 years until it was broken by O.J. Simpson of USC in 1968 when Simpson ran for 1,880 yards. Wendt was selected in the 26th round of the 1948 NFL Draft by the Chicago Cardinals. He was also selected in the ninth round of the 1949 All America Football Conference Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. However, he never played professional football. Wendt was inducted into the UTEP Athletics Hall of Fame in 2005.

(Obituary) May 18, 2020 Jesse Freitas, who played quarterback for four seasons in the All America Football Conference, dies at the age of 99. Freitas played college football at Santa Clara University and was selected in the seventh round of the 1944 NFL Draft by the combined team of the Chicago Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Steelers known as the Card-Pitts. The two teams merged for the 1944 season due to a lack of players during World War II. However, he signed with the San Francisco 49ers of the NFL rival AAFC and played in San Francisco in 1946 and 1947. He then played for two other AAFC teams; the Chicago Rockets in 1948 and the Buffalo Bills in 1949. One of his teammates on the 1948 Rockets team was future Pro Football Hall of Famer, Elroy “Crazylegs” Hirsch. Freitas was inducted into the San Mateo County Sports Hall of Fame in 1995. At the time of his death, he was the oldest living former member of the 49ers.

(Obituary) May 18, 2020 Robert “Ben” Williams, a defensive lineman in the NFL for 10 seasons, dies at the age of 65. Williams was known as “Gentle Ben” and played college football at Mississippi. He was the first black player at the school in 1971 and was selected in the third round of the 1976 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills. He played his entire career in Buffalo from 1976-1985. Williams is a member of the Ole Miss Hall of Fame and the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame. In 2002, he was recognized as an SEC Legend.

(Obituary) May 16, 2020 Rodger Bird, a defensive back and kick returner in the American Football League for three seasons, dies at the age of 76. Bird played college football at Kentucky and was selected in the first round of the 1966 AFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders. He played for the Raiders from 1966-1968 and led the AFL in punt return yardage in 1967. He won an AFL title with the team in 1968. His final game as a pro was a loss to the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl II. Bird was inducted into the University of Kentucky Athletics Hall of Fame in 2005 and the Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame in 2017.

(Obituary) May 16, 2020 Michael McCaskey, the grandson of Chicago Bears founder George Halas, dies after a long battle with cancer at the age of 76. McCaskey graduated from Yale University and became president and CEO of the Bears in 1983 following Halas’ death. He succeeded his father, Ed McCaskey as team’s chairman in 1999 and held that position until 2011, when he was replaced by his brother, George McCaskey. 

(Obituary) May 14, 2020 Phyllis George, dies after a long battle with a blood disorder at the age of 70. She was born in Denton, TX and attended the University of North Texas as well as Texas Christian University. She was crowned Miss Texas in 1970 and Miss America in 1971. She went on to be a studio host on the NFL Today pregame show on CBS in 1975, joining Brent Musburger and Irv Cross. George was one of the first women on national television to work in sports broadcasting. She left the NFL Today in 1983 and went on to cover horse racing and was also the co-host of the CBS Morning News. She married John Y. Brown, Jr. in 1973, who owned the NBA Boston Celtics as well as Kentucky Fried Chicken. Brown also served as the Governor of Kentucky from 1979-1983, making George the state’s first lady.

(Obituary) May 14, 2020 Franklin “Pepper” Rodgers, who was a head coach in college, the USFL and the CFL, dies at the age of 88. Rodgers played quarterback in college at Georgia Tech and led the team to a college football national championship in 1952. He won back-to-back Sugar Bowls in 1953 and 1954 and is a member of the Sugar Bowl Hall of Fame. Rodgers was selected in the 25th round of the 1954 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Colts. But instead of going to the NFL, he joined the Air Force and served for five years. He then went into coaching, first at the Air Force Academy and then at Florida. He was the head coach at Kansas from 1967-1970, UCLA from 1971-1973 and Georgia Tech from 1974-1979. He was also the head coach of the Memphis Showboats in the USFL in 1984 and 1985 and the Memphis Mad Dogs of the CFL in 1995. Rodgers served as the Vice President of Football Operations for the Washington Redskins from 2001-2004.

(Obituary) May 11, 2020 John Teerlinck, a longtime defensive coach in college and in the NFL, dies at the age of 69. Teerlinck played college football at Western Illinois and was selected in the fifth round of the 1974 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers. He only played two seasons as a defensive tackle for the Chargers in 1974 and 1975 before going into coaching. He started in the college ranks at Iowa Lakes Community College in 1977 and also spent time at Eastern Illinois and Illinois before moving to the NFL. His first NFL stop was as a defensive line coach with the Cleveland Browns in 1989 and 1990. Teerlinck also spent time with the Los Angeles Rams in 1991, the Minnesota Vikings from 1992-1994, the Detroit Lions in 1995 and 1996, the Denver Broncos from 1997-2001 and the Indianapolis Colts from 2002-2012. He won three Super Bowls during his career, two with the Broncos in 1998 and 1999 and one with the Colts in 2007.

(Obituary) May 4, 2020 Don Shula, the legendary head coach of the Miami Dolphins, dies at the age of 90. Shula played college football at Division III John Carroll University in Cleveland. He was selected in the ninth round of the 1951 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. He was a defensive back and played for the Browns in 1951 and 1952. He then played for the Baltimore Colts from 1953-1956 and finished his playing career with the Washington Redskins in 1957. Shula then went into coach. He started out in college as a defensive coach at Virginia in 1958 and Kentucky in 1959. He then went to the NFL where he was a defensive coach with the Detroit Lions from 1960-1962 before becoming the head coach of the Baltimore Colts from 1963-1969. His Colts team lost to the New York Jets in Super Bowl III. In 1970, he became the head coach of the Miami Dolphins and led the team for the next 26 seasons through 1995. His Dolphins completed the NFL’s only undefeated season in 1972 that culminated in a 17-0 record and a win over the Redskins in Super Bowl VII. They also defeated the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl VIII. Shula is the winningest coach in league history with 328 wins and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1997.

(Obituary) May 3, 2020 Ryan Wetnight, who was a tight end in the NFL for eight seasons, dies of cancer at the age of 49. Wetnight played college football at Stanford and signed as an undrafted free agent with the Chicago Bears in 1993. He played in Chicago for seven seasons, from 1993-1999. He finished his playing career with the Green Bay Packers in 2000.

April

(Obituary) April 23, 2020 Dave Fleming, who played in the CFL and the NFL, dies at the age of 76. Fleming played college football at the University of Pittsburgh. He then went to Canada where he played 10 seasons as a running back and defensive back for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats from 1965-1974. He won three Grey Cup titles with Hamilton in 1965, 1967 and 1972. In 1971, he recorded the longest reception in franchise history, a 108-yard catch and run for a touchdown against the Toronto Argonauts.

(Obituary) April 21, 2020 Milt Sunde, who was a guard in the NFL for 11 seasons, dies at the age of 78. Sunde played college football at the University of Minnesota and was selected in the 20th round of the 1964 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings. He played his entire career with the Viking from 1964-1974. He won an NFL title with the Viking in 1969, but lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl IV. After his playing career was over, Sunde owned his own car dealership and coached girls high school basketball.

(Obituary) April 20, 2020 Zac Henderson, who was a defensive back in the NFL, CFL and the USFL, dies at the age of 67. Henderson played college football at Oklahoma and was a member of the Sooners 1974 undefeated national championship team as a freshman. He played for the CFL Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 1974 and 1975, the Philadelphia Eagles in 1980, the Toronto Argonauts in 1982 and 1983 and was named the CFL Eastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 1982. Henderson finished his playing career in the USFL with the Tampa Bay Bandits in 1984 and 1985.   

(Obituary) April 20, 2020 Mike Curtis, who was a linebacker in the NFL for 14 seasons, dies at the age of 77. Curtis played college football at Duke and was the 14th overall pick in the 1965 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Colts. He was also selected in the third round of the 1965 American Football League Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs. Curtis signed with the Colts and played in Baltimore for 11 seasons, from 1965-1975. He intercepted a pass that set up the winning field goal for the Colts in in Super Bowl V. Curtis was then selected by the Seattle Seahawks in the 1976 expansion draft where he played for one season. He finished his playing career with the Washington Redskins in 1977 and 1978.

(Obituary) April 19, 2020 Pellum McDaniels III, a linebacker in the NFL for seven seasons, dies at the age of 52. McDaniels played college football at Oregon State. McDaniels played two seasons in the World League of American Football with the Birmingham Fire in 1991 and 1992. He then signed with the Kansas City Chiefs where he played seven seasons from 1993-1998. He finished his playing career with the Atlanta Falcons in 1999. In 2018, McDaniels became the curator of African American Collections at Emory University. He lectured on African-American history and also wrote several books on the subject.

(Obituary) April 15, 2020 Willie Davis, a defensive end for 12 seasons in the NFL, dies at the age of 85. Davis played college football at Grambling State University and was selected in the 15th round of the 1956 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. He spent two years in the Army before joining the Browns and playing two seasons in Cleveland in 1958 and 1959, He was then traded to the Green Bay Packers where he played from 1960-1969. Davis won the first two Super Bowls and five NFL titles with the Packers. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1981 and the Black College Football Hall of Fame in 2011.

(Obituary) April 12, 2020 Tarvaris Jackson, a former quarterback in the NFL for 10 seasons, dies in a single-car accident at the age of 36. Jackson played college football at Arkansas and Alabama State. He was selected in the second round of the 2006 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings. He played for the Vikings from 2006-2010 and then signed as a free agent with the Seattle Seahawks in 2011. He was traded to the Buffalo Bills in 2012 but returned to the Seahawks in 2013 where he remained though 2015 as a backup to Russell Wilson. In 2019, Jackson was named the quarterback coach at FCS Tennessee State.

(Obituary) April 10, 2020 Pete Retzlaff, who played tight end in the NFL for 11 seasons, dies at the age of 88. Retzlaff played college football at South Dakota State and was selected in the 22nd round of the 1953 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions. He never actually played for Detroit but instead served in the Army for two years. He was then picked up off waivers by the Philadelphia Eagles and played his entire career in Philly from 1956-1966. He won an NFL title with the Eagles in 1960 and was named the NFL Player of the Year in 1965. After retiring as a player, Retzlaff was instrumental in founding the NFL Players Association. He was also the Eagles’ general manager from 1969-1972. Retzlaff was inducted into the Eagles Hall of Fame in 1989.

(Obituary) April 7, 2020 Timmy Brown, who was a halfback and kick returner in the NFL for 10 seasons, dies at the age of 83. Brown played college football at Ball State and was selected in the 27th round of the 1959 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers. He only played one game for the Packers. He spent the next eight seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles. Brown played in Philly from 1960-1967 and won the 1960 NFL title as a member of the Eagles. He played his final season in the NFL with the Baltimore Colts in 1968. His final game was a loss to the New York Jets in Super Bowl III.

(Obituary) April 5, 2020 Ed Biles, a head coach in high school, college and the NFL, dies at the age of 88. Biles started coaching at Woodward High School in Cincinnati, OH in 1953 and was the head coach there in 1954 and 1955. He then became the freshman coach at Xavier in 1956. Biles then became the varsity football head coach from 1962-1968. He moved on to the NFL and was an assistant coach with the New Orleans Saints in 1969 and 1970, the New York Jets from 1971-1973 and the Houston Oilers from 1974-1980. Biles then became the Oilers head coach from 1981-1983. He also spent time as a broadcaster for USFL games in the 1980s and worked as a broadcaster for college football games as well.

(Obituary) April 5, 2020 Bobby Mitchell, a halfback and wide receiver in the NFL for 11 seasons, dies at the age of 84. Mitchell played college football at Illinois and was selected in the seventh round of the 1958 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. He played in Cleveland from 1958-1961. He was then traded to the Washington Redskins in exchange for Heisman Trophy winner Ernie Davis, who did not want play for the Redskins and their owner, George Preston Marshall. Mitchell played in Washington from 1962-1968. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1983. After retiring as a player, Mitchell worked for the Redskins for many years as a player scout and assistant general manager.

(Obituary) April 4, 2020 Harland Svare, who played linebacker in the NFL for eight seasons and was also an NFL head coach, dies at the age of 89. Svare played college football at Washington State and was selected in the 17th round of the 1953 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams. He played for the Rams in 1953 and 1954 and then signed with the New York Giants, where he played from 1955-1960. He won an NFL title with the Giants in 1956. In his final season as a player with the Giants, he also became the team’s defensive coordinator and remained in that position through 1961. He then became the defensive coordinator of the Rams in 1962. At one time, Svare held the distinction of being the NFL’s youngest head coach at 31 years, 11 months after he was promoted to head coach of the Ram midway through the 1962 season. He remained the Rams’ head coach through 1965. Svare also spent time as the defensive coordinator of the Washington Redskins and was the head coach and general manager of the San Diego Chargers from 1971-1973.

(Obituary) April 4, 2020 Tom Dempsey, a kicker in the NFL for 11 seasons, dies from complication of the COVID-19 virus at the age of 73. He had been battling Alzheimer’s disease and dementia since 2012. Dempsey was born without toes on his right foot or fingers on his right hand but signed with the New Orleans Saints as a free agent in 1969. He is most famous for kicking an NFL record 63-yard field goal in a game against the Detroit Lions in 1970. He also played for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1971-1974, the Los Angeles Rams in 1975 and 1976, the Houston Oilers in 1977 and the Buffalo Bills in 1978 and 1979. His specially designed kicking shoe is now a part of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

March

(Obituary) March 31, 2020 Frank Maloney, a former college football head coach for seven seasons, dies from complications of metastatic brain melanoma at the age of 79. Maloney was the head coach at Syracuse from 1974-1980. He led the team to a 31-7 win over McNeese State in the 1979 Independence Bowl. In 1981, he was a player scout for the Dallas Cowboys but then returned to his hometown of Chicago and went to work for Chicago Cubs baseball team. He eventually became the Cubs’ Director of Ticket Operations, working for the team for 29 years. Prior to coaching at Syracuse, Maloney was an assistant coach under Bo Schembechler at the University of Michigan.

(Obituary) March 30, 2020 Tim Petros, who was a running back in the CFL for seven seasons, dies at the age of 58. Petros played college football at the University of Calgary and won a Canadian College Football National Championship, known as the Vanier Cup, with Calgary in 1983. He was then selected in the fifth round of the 1983 CFL Draft by the Calgary Stampeders. Petros ran for a record 260 yards in the Vanier Cup and was named the game’s MVP. He played for the Stampeders from 1984-1990. After his playing career, Petros went to work in his family’s restaurant, which was located across the street from the Stampeders stadium. He opened his own pizza restaurant in 2013.  

(Obituary) March 29, 2020 Robert Garff, dies of the COVID-19 coronavirus at the age of 77. Garff was a Utah politician and served as speaker of the Utah House of Representatives from 1985-1987. He also ran a car dealership that his father founded in 1932. Garff was the owner of the Utah Blaze of the Arena Football league. The team played for seven seasons, from 2006-2008 and from 2010-2013. 

(Obituary) March 29, 2020 Jim Lambright, a former college football head coach, dies at the age of 77. Lambright played college football at Washington as a defensive end from 1962-1964. He became an assistant coach at the school in 1969 and was promoted to the Husky’s defensive coordinator in 1978. In 1991, the team shared the college football national championship with the Miami Hurricanes. In 1993, Lambright became the team’s head coach and remained head coach for six seasons from 1993-1998, posting a record of 44-25-1.   

(Obituary) March 27, 2020 - Orlando McDaniel, who played briefly in the NFL as a wide receiver, dies of the COVID-19 virus at the age of 59. McDaniel played college football at LSU and was selected in the second round of the 1982 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos. He only played in three game that season. He also ran track at LSU and founded the North Texas Cheetahs girls track club in Dallas.  

(Obituary) March 25, 2020 Terry Tausch, a guard and tackle in college and in the NFL, dies at the age of 61. Tausch played college football at Texas and was selected in the second round of the 1982 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings. He played for the Vikings from 1982-1988. His final season as a player was in 1989 with the San Francisco 49ers where he won a Super Bowl. Tausch was inducted into the University of Texas Athletics Hall of Honor in 2001.

(Obituary) March 24, 2020 Mike Stratton, a linebacker in the American Football League and the NFL for 12 seasons, dies at the age of 78. Stratton played college football at Tennessee and was selected in the 13th round of the 1962 AFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills. He played in Buffalo from 1962-1972 and won two AFL titles in 1964 and 1965. He spent his final season as a player with the San Diego Chargers in 1973. Stratton was inducted into the Bill Wall of Fame in 1994.

(Obituary) March 23, 2020 Walter Robb, dies at the age of 92 as a result of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Robb was an engineer and the former director of General Electric Co.'s Research and Development Center. After he retired, he bought a couple of minor league sports teams. He owned the Albany River Rats of the American Hockey League from 1998-2010 and the Albany Conquest of Arenafootball2 from 2005-2009. The Conquest changed their name to the Albany Firebirds for the 2009 season.

(Obituary) March 23, 2020 Ron Marciniak, a longtime player scout in the NFL, dies at the age of 85. Marciniak played college football at Kansas State and as selected in the seventh round of the 1955 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins. He only played one season with the team but then went on to become a player scout for the Dallas Cowboys, Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens. He coined the phrase, “Play like a Raven,” which the team still uses today. Marciniak was also the head coach at Dayton from 1973-1976.

(Obituary March 22, 2020 Woody Widenhofer, who coached in college, the NFL and the USFL, dies at the age of 77. Widehofer started out as an assistant defensive coach in college at Michigan State in 1969 and 1970. He also coached at Eastern Michigan and Minnesota before moving on to the NFL. He was a defensive assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Steelers for 11 seasons, from 1973-1983, and won four Super Bowls with the team. He then became the head coach of the Oklahoma Outlaws of the USFL in 1984. Widenhofer was also the head coach at Missouri from 1985-1988 before returning to the NFL as an assistant coach with the Detroit Lions and the Cleveland Browns. After that, he returned to the college ranks once again, where he was the head coach at Vanderbilt from 1997-2001. Widenhofer finished his coaching career as an assistant coach at Southeast Louisiana and at New Mexico State. He retired from coaching after the 2007 season.

(Obituary) March 19, 2020 Benny Malone, a running back in the NFL for seven seasons, dies at the age of 68. Malone played college football at Arizona State and was selected in the second round of the 1974 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins. He played in Miami from 1974-1978. He was then traded to the Washington Redskins, where he played in 1978 and 1979. After his playing career was over, he became a school teacher in Tempe, Arizona. Malone is a member of the Arizona State Athletic Hall of Fame as well as the Santa Cruz Valley Union High School Hall of Fame where he was a track star. His brother, Art Malone was also a running back at Arizona State and played seven seasons in the NFL for the Atlanta Falcons and the Philadelphia Eagles.

(Obituary) March 17, 2020 Bill McPherson, a longtime assistant coach in college and in the NFL, dies at the age of 88. McPherson played defensive tackle in college at Santa Clara University. After serving in the Army, McPherson spent time as a college football assistant coach at Santa Clara as well as at UCLA. He began coaching in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1978. He then became an assistant coach with the San Francisco 49ers from 1979-1998. He was a part of the 49ers five Super Bowl Championships. After his coaching career was over, he became a 49ers front office executive from 1999-2005. McPherson was inducted into Santa Clara's Athletic Hall of Fame as a player and a coach in 1984 and was also inducted into the San Jose Sports Hall of Fame's in 2005.

(Obituary) March 11, 2020 Del Shofner, a defensive back and wide receiver in the NFL for 11 seasons, dies at the age of 85. Shofner played college football at Baylor and was named the MVP of the 1957 Sugar Bowl. He was the 11th overall pick in the 1957 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams. He played for the Rams from 1957-1960. Shofner was then traded to the New York Giants and played in New York from 1961-1967. Shofner was the first player in NFL history to have two 1,000 yard receiving seasons, 1958 and 1961. He had a total of four 1,000 yard receiving seasons before he retired, three straight from 1961-1963. Shofner is a member of the Baylor Athletics Hall of Fame and the Southwest Conference Hall of Fame.

(Obituary) March 11, 2020 Ken King, an NHL and CFL executive, dies of lung cancer at the age of 68. King was the president and CEO of the sports group that owns the NHL Calgary Flames since 2001 and later the CFL Calgary Stampeders as well. He was also the publisher of both Calgary daily newspapers, the Calgary Herald and the Calgary Sun.  

February

(Obituary) February 27. 2020 Gloster Richardson, a wide receiver and flanker in the AFL and the NFL, dies at the age of 77. Richardson played college football at Jackson State and was selected in the seventh round of the 1965 AFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs. He played for the team from 1967 to 1970. He also played for the Dallas Cowboys in 1971 and the Cleveland Browns from 1972-1974. It was Richardson who Hank Stram sent into the game with the “65 Toss Power Trap” play in Super Bowl IV. Richardson won a championship in Super Bowl IV with the Chiefs and and another in Super Bowl VI as a member of the Cowboys. After his playing career was over, Richardson was the wide receivers’ coach at Mississippi Valley State in 1983 and 1984 and coached future Hall of Famer, Jerry Rice.

(Obituary) February 25, 2020 Bob Steiner, who was an offensive and defensive tackle in the Canadian Football League, dies at the age of 73. Steiner played in the Canadian Junior Football League for the Hamilton Hurricanes before signing with the CFL. He played for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats from 1966-1971 and for the Edmonton Eskimos in 1972. He won a Grey Cup championship with the Tiger-Cats in 1967. Steiner is also a member of the Hamilton Hurricanes Hall of Fame.

(Obituary) February 25, 2020 Nesby Glasgow, a defensive back in the NFL for 14 seasons, die of cancer at the age of 62. Glasgow played college football at the University of Washington and was selected in the eighth round of the 1979 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Colts. He played for the Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts from 1979-1987 and was voted as the team’s Defensive Player of the Year in 1984. He finished his playing career with the Seattle Seahawks from 1988-1992. Glasgow was inducted into University of Washington’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001.

(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.

January

(Obituary) January 29, 2020 Larry Eisenhour, a defensive end in the American Football League, 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.