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Notable Deaths in The World of Football - 2013

by Randy Snow

Original to theworldoffootball.com, Saturday, January 4, 2014

There were a number of notable football figures who passed away this past year. Here are just a few;

January 2 – Henriette “Etty” Allen (90) the wife of the late Washington Redskins head coach George Allen. Mrs. Allen was also the mother of former Virginia Governor George F. Allen and current Redskins team General Manager, Bruce Allen.

January 4 - Pete Elliott (86)the longtime director of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio from 1979-1996. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1994.

January 28 - Edgar Douglas "Doug" Kenna II (88) a quarterback at West Point in the 1940's. In 1944, he helped lead the Army team to an undefeated season and a national championship. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1984 and is also in the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame.

February 17 - Michael Gage (75) the former publisher of the Green Bay Press-Gazette and stockholder of the Green Bay Packers. In 1980, he was the largest private shareholder of stock in the team. Gage became a member of the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame Board of Directors and was the current President of the Packers Hall of Fame Board. His grandfather, Andrew Turnbull, was the Packers' first team president.

February 11 - Jack Eskridge (89) equipment manager of the Dallas Cowboys from 1959-1973. He is credited with designing the team's white bordered, blue star logo.

March 17 – Steve Davis (60) a star college quarterback in the 1970’s, dies in a small plane crash in South Bend, Indiana. Davis was a three year starter at Oklahoma from 1973-1975, posting a record of 32-1-1. He led the Sooners to back-to-back national championships in 1974 and 1975.

March 21 – Harlon Hill (80) played for the Chicago Bears and was the NFL Rookie of the Year in 1954. Hill went on to play nine seasons in the NFL, playing for the Bears, Pittsburgh Steelers and the Detroit Lions. Since 1986, the Harlon Hill Trophy has been awarded annually to the most valuable player in Division II football.

March 26  Ron Lancaster, Jr (50) who was an assistant coach in the Canadian Football League. Lancaster coached in the CFL for the Toronto Argonauts, Edmonton Eskimos, Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Winnipeg Blue Bombers. He won a Grey Cup title with the Tiger-Cats in 1999. His father, Ron Lancaster, played quarterback in the CFL and is a member of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame. 

April 1 – Jack Pardee (76) who was a coach in the WFL, USFL and the NFL. He was a linebacker for the Los Angeles Rams from 1957-1964 and 1966-1970. He then played for the Washington Redskins in 1971 and 1972. Pardee was the head coach and general manager of the Florida Blazers of the World Football League in 1974, the team lost 22-21 to the Birmingham Americans in the only World Bowl game over played. He also coached with the NFL Washington Redskins (1978-1980), the Houston Gamblers of the USFL (1984-1985), the University of Houston (1987-1989), the NFL Houston Oilers (1990-1994) and the Birmingham Barracudas of the CFL-USA (1995).   

April 1 – Mal Moore (73), the athletic director at Alabama. Moore played college football for Bear Bryant at Alabama and was a member of the 1961 national championship team. He went on to be an assistant coach under Bryant and won another national championship in 1992. He also spent time as an assistant coach in the NFL with the St. Louis/Phoenix Cardinals. In 1999, Moore became athletic director at Alabama and served until March 20 of this year. As a player, coach and athletic director, Moore amassed 10 college football national championship rings. 

April 2 – Chuck Fairbanks (79) who was a head coach in college, the NFL and the USFL. He was the head coach at Oklahoma from 1967-1972. Fairbanks then moved to the NFL where he was the head coach of the New England Patriots from 1973-1978. From 1979-1981, he was the head coach at Colorado and in 1982 he was head coach and general manager of the New Jersey Generals of the United States Football League.

April 6 – Johnny Esaw (87) a Canadian broadcaster for over 40 years. Esaw broadcast games in the Canadian Football League. He was the sports director of the CTV television station in Toronto during the 1960‘s and became the CTV network’s vice-president of sports in 1974. Esaw was inducted into the Football Reporters section of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1984

April 16 – George Allen “Pat” Summerall (82) a former NFL player and broadcaster, dies of cardiac arrest at the age of 82. He played for the Chicago Cardinals and the New York Giants from 1953-1961. In 1981, CBS paired him with John Madden in the broadcast booth and the two remained together through the 2002 Super Bowl. In 1994, they moved from CBS to FOX.

May 7  George Sauer, Jr. (69) a wide receiver who played in the AFL and the NFL. Sauer played six seasons (1965-1970) in the American Football League for the New York Jets. He was a member of the Jets team that won Super Bowl III in 1969. He also played in the World Football League in 1974 for the New York Stars and the Charlotte Hornets.

May 13 – Chuck Muncie (60) who was a running back in the NFL for nine seasons. He shared the backfield of the New Orleans Saints with running back Tony Galbreath. The duo was nicknamed “Thunder and Lightning.” Muncie played for the Saints until he was traded to the San Diego Chargers mid-way through the 1980 season. He continued to play for the Chargers through 1984. He is a member of the California Athletic Hall of Fame.

May 23 – Jim Zabel (91) a legendary play-by-play announcer in college football. Zabel broadcast Iowa Hawkeyes football games for 49 years (1947-1996) on the radio. Zabel was inducted into the Iowa Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame in 1994. 

June 3 – David “Deacon” Jones (74) a Hall of Fame defensive lineman in the NFL. He played for the Los Angeles Rams from 1961-1971 and was a member of the famed Fearsome Foursome defensive line that included three other future Hall of Famers; Merlin Olson, Lamar Lundy and Rosey Grier. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1980.  

June 19 – Dave Jennings (61) a punter in the NFL for 14 seasons. He played for the New York Giants and the New York Jets in the 70s and 80s. After his playing career was over he became a radio broadcaster for the Jets from 1988-2001. He also broadcast radio games for the Giants 2002-2007. Jennings was inducted into the Giants’ Ring of Honor in 2011. 

June 25 - Jim Hudson (70) a former Super Bowl champion. Hudson played college football at Texaswhere he was a quarterback and a defensive back. He helped lead the Longhorns to a national championship in 1963. He was signed by the New York Jets as a free agent in 1965 and played six seasons with the team as a safety through 1970. He was on the Jets team that beat the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III.

August 1  Dick Kazmaier (82) the 1951 Heisman Trophy winner. Kazmaier played halfback at Princeton and was the third Heisman winner to come out of the Ivy League. The others were end Larry Kelly (1936) and halfback Clint Frank (1937), both from Yale.

August 4  Art Donovan, Jr. (88) an NFL Hall of Famer. Donavan played his rookie season in the NFL with the Baltimore Colts in 1950, the New York Yanks in 1951, the Dallas Texans in 1952 and spent the remainder of his career playing for the Baltimore Colts again from 1953-1961, winning NFL titles in 1958 and 1959. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1968.

August 6  Jerry Wolman (86) a former NFL team owner. Wolman became the youngest owner in the NFL when he purchased the Philadelphia Eagles in December of 1963 at the age of 36. He owned the team for five years, through 1969.

September 12 – Frank Tripucka (85) who was a quarterback and a punter in the NFL and also played quarterback in the CFL. Tripucka played college football at Notre Dame and was a backup quarterback during back-to-back national championship seasons in 1946 and 1947. He played for the Denver Broncos from 1960-1963 and is credited with throwing the first touchdown pass in AFL history. Tripucka was inducted into the Bronco/s Ring of Fame in 1986. His number 18 was retired in Denver, but he was happy to see it un-retired in 2012 and given to Peyton Manning when he joined the Broncos.

September 13 – Rick Casares (82) who was a running back in college and in the NFL. He played for the Bears from 10 seasons (1955-1964) and was the team’s all-time leading rusher until he was surpassed by Walter Payton. To this day, Casares is still the number three rusher in Bears’ history. He won an NFL title with the Bears in 1963.

September 14 - Sig Gutsche (64) who owned the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League for six years from 1996-2001. During that time, the team won two Grey Cup championships in 1998 and 2001. He was added to the team’s Wall of Fame in the Builder category in 2012.   

September 30 – James Street (65) a former college football quarterback who never lost a game. Street played college football at Texas and led the team to the 1969 National Championship. He was 20-0 as a starter for the Longhorns and ran the new Wishbone offense introduced by head coach Darrell Royal in 1968. He also led the team to a 15-14 victory over Arkansas in 1969, which is referred to as “The Game of the Century.”

September 29 – L.C. Greenwood (67) a defensive end with the famed “Steel Curtain” defense of the Pittsburgh Steelers of the 1970s. He played in Pittsburgh for 13 seasons from 1969-1981 and won four Super Bowls in six-years

October 1 - Jim Roundtree (77) who was a two-way player in the Canadian Football League.He played in Toronto for 10 seasons from 1958-1967 and played cornerback, running back, wide receiver and was also a kick returner. Roundtree still holds the record for the longest pass reception in team history, 108 yards on September 10, 1961 in a game against the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Roundtree spent time on the Argos coaching staff from 1968-1972 and 1977-1978. He was inducted into the Florida Gator Hall of Fame in 1971 and in 2004 he was named an All-Time Argo.

October 6  Ulysses “Crazy Legs” Curtis(87) who was the first African-American to playfor the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League from 1950-1954. He won two Grey Cup championships with the Argos in 1950 and 1952. In 2005, he was named an All-Time Argo.

October 9 - Darris McCord (80) who was a defensive end in the NFL. He played 13 seasons for the Detroit Lions from 1955-1967. He was a member of the team's defensive front of the 1960's known as the Fearsome Foursome along with Alex Karras, Roger Brown and Sam Williams. McCord won an NFL title in Detroit as a member of the Lions' 1957 championship team.

October 18  Oail Andrew Bum” Phillips (90)the former head coach and general manager of the Houston Oilers from 1975-1980. He led the team to back-to-back AFC championship games in 1978 and 1979, losing both games to the Pittsburgh Steelers. He then became the head coach of the New Orleans Saints from 1981-1985. He was known for wearing a white Stetson hat, blue jeans and cowboy boots.

October 21 – Bud Adams (90) the owner of the NFL Tennessee Titans. Adams was a founding owner in the American Football League in 1960 as owner of the Houston Oilers. The Oilers won the first two AFL titles in 1960 and 1961. Adams moved the team to Tennessee in 1997 and renamed it the Titans. The team made its only Super Bowl appearance in 1999, losing to the St. Louis Rams.

November 6 – Clarence “Ace” Parker (101) a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He played tailback, quarterback and punter. In 1940, he was voted the NFL’s Most Valuable player. He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1955 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1972. Parker was the first Hall of Famer to live to be 100 years old.

November 13 – Todd Christianson (57) a former tight end for the Oakland Raiders for 10 seasons during the 80s, winning two Super Bowls. Christianson went on to be a color commentator for NFL games on NBC, ESPN and CBS Sports Network. He even appeared on the TV Show, “Married…with Children,” as a sports game show host. Christianson was inducted into the BYU Hall of Fame in 1992 and the state or Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in 2000.

November 15 – Mike McCormack (83) a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He played for the Browns from 1954-1962, winning NFL titles in 1954 and 1955. He was later the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, the Baltimore Colts and the Seattle Seahawks. McCormack was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1984.

November 24  Jerry Seeman (77) a former NFL referee. Seeman called NFL games from 1975-1990 and worked two Super Bowls. He moved to the league office in 1991 and spent another 10 years as the supervisor of officials.

November 30 - Mary Brown (84) who was the widow of legendary NFL Hall of Fame coach Paul Brown. The couple was married in 1973. Paul Brown was the founder and head coach of the Cleveland Browns from 1946-1962as well as founder and head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals from 1968-1975. He died in 1991.

December 5  Tim Marcum (69) the winningest head coach in the Arena Football League. Marcum led the Denver Dynamite to the inaugural AFL title in 1987. He went on to lead the Detroit Drive to three more AFL titles in 1988, 1989 and 1992. He was the head coach of the Tampa Bay Storm from 1995-2011 and won titles in 1995, 1996 and 2003. Marcum is a charter member of the Arena Football Hall of Fame. He won seven ArenaBowl titles and his overall coaching record in the AFL is 211-99.

For details on these and other stories, check out the News section.


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