NOTABLE SPORTS FIGURES THAT PASSED IN 2017
- Johnny Bower (1924-2017) – Hockey Hall of Fame goaltender, winning four Stanley Cups with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Named one of the 100 Greatest NHL Players in history.
- Mike Ilitch (1929-2017) – Owner of the Detroit Red Wings…Also owned Detroit Tigers (MLB)
- Bryan Murray (1942-2017) – General Manager of the Ottawa Senators, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, Florida Panthers and Detroit Red Wings. Also, was the head coach for the Washington Capitals, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and Ottawa Senators.
- Vladimir Petrov (1947-2017) – Russian Soviet Ice Hockey Player. Olympic Champion in 1972 & 1972 as well as Silver Medalist in 1980.
- Milt Schmidt (1918-2017) – Coach, General Manager and player for the Boston Bruins. Hockey Hall of Fame memberNamed one of the 100 Greatest NHL Players in history.
- Ron Smith (1944-2017) – Head Coach of the New York Rangers.
- Other former NHL Players that passed in 2017: David Molson, Dave Semenko and Dave Strader
- Pete Brown (1943-2017) – Co-Founder of the Cincinnati Bengals and served in the team’s personnel department.
- Terry Glenn (1974-2017) – Wide Receiver, playing for New England Patriots, Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys. Super Bowl Champion, Pro Bowl in 1999, UPI and Sports Illustrated AFC Rookie of the Year in 1996 and won the Fred Biletnikoff Award for Ohio State in 1995.
- Cortez Kennedy (1968-2017) – Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle from 1990 to 2000. Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2012. Eight time Pro Bowl, three time First-Team All-Pro, NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1992, member of the NFL 1990’s All- Decade Team and two time National Champion in college with the University of Miami.
- Dan Rooney (1932-2017) – Chairman of the Pittsburgh Steelers and son of the Steelers’ founder. Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2000. Credited with the “Rooney Rule” in the NFL which requires NFL teams to interview at least one minority candidate for head coach and general manager vacancies.
- Y. A. Tittle (1926-2017) – Quarterback for the San Francisco 49er’s, New York Giants & Baltimore Colts. Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 1971, seven time Pro Bowl, four time First-team All Pro, United Press NFL Player of the Year in 1957 and AP NFL Most Valuable Player in 1963. Also, first professional football player featured on the Sports Illustrated cover.
- Other former NFL Players that passed in 2017: James Hardy, Red Miller, Quentin Moses, and Babe Parilli
- Frank Broyles (1924-2017) – Best known as the Head Coach at the University of Arkansas and named the National Champion by a number of selectors, including the Football Writers Association of America, in 1964. His 144 wins are the most of any coach in Arkansas football history, winning the Southwest Conference seven times. Also won He was inducted into the College Hall of Fame in 1983.
- Dick MacPherson (1930-2017) – Head Coach for Syracuse University from 1981 to 1990. In 1987, the Syracuse team finished Number 4 in the AP and Coaches Poll and McPherson won the following awards: AFCA Coach of the Year, Paul “Bear” Bryant Award, Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award, Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year, Sporting News College Football COY and the Walter Camp Coach of the Year Award. In 2009, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
- Tommy Nobis (1943-2017) – Nobis played college football at the University of Texas and is considered one of the greatest all-time linebackers. While in college, Nobis won a National Championship in 1963, was a two-time All-American and in 1965 won the Outland Trophy for best interior lineman, the Maxwell Award for the college football player of the year and the Knute Rockne Memorial Trophy for college lineman of the year. Nobis played 11 seasons in the NFL, all with the Atlanta Falcons, being the first player drafted by them. As a rookie, he set a NFL record with 294 tackles. Nobis was named Sporting News Defensive Rookie of the Year, made the Pro Bowl five times and was selected to the NFL 1960’s All-Decade Team.
- Ara Parseghian (1923-2017) – Known as being Head Coach for Notre Dame and winning two National Titles in 1966 & 1973. Was named Sporting News Coach of the Year in 1966 and was twice named the Football News Coach of the Year in 1964 and 1973. Parseghian was inducted into the College Hall of Fame in 1980.
- Other former College Football Players that passed in 2017: Willie Evans, Ron Meyer and John Reaves
- Don Baylor (1949-2017) – Don Baylor was in professional baseball for over 40 years as a player, coach or manager. As a player, Baylor won the AL MVP Award in 1979, three Silver Slugger Awards and a World Series Championship with the Twins in 1987. In 1995, Baylor led the Colorado Rockies to the playoffs for the first time in team history and was named the National League Manager of the Year.
- Jim Bunning (1931-2017) – Bunning was a Pitcher for the Detroit Tigers, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Career highlights include pitching a perfect game, no-hitter, named to the All-Star Game nine times, American League wins leader in 1957 and Strikeout leader three times. Bunning was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996. After retiring from baseball, he was elected to the United States Senate, being the sole Major League Baseball athlete to be elected to both the U.S. Senate and the Hall of Fame.
- Bobby Doerr (1918-2017) – Doerr played 14 season in Major League Baseball, all with the Boston Red Sox. He was a nine-time All-Star and inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1986.
- Roy Halladay (1977-2017) – Pitched in the Major Leagues for the Toronto Blue Jays and the Philadelphia Phillies from 1998 to 2013. Halladay pitched a perfect game in May of 2010 and later that season, in his first postseason start, he threw the second no-hitter in MLB postseason. Named to the All-Star team eight times and won the Cy Young Award twice, once in the American League and once in the National League, a feat only achieved by six pitchers in MLB history.
- Gene Michael (1938-2017) – Served as the New York Yankees General Manager, building the team that became a dynasty in the late 1990’s.
- Other former MLB Players that passed in 2017: Darren Daulton, Dallas Green, Andy Marte Steve Palermo, Yordano Ventura and Anthony Young
- Jud Heathcote (1927-2017) – Known best as the Michigan State University men’s head basketball coach, Heathcote won the national championship in 1979 and was the Big Ten Coach of the Year in 1978 and 1986. Jud Heathcote was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.
- Rollie Massimino (1934-2017) – Massimino was best known as the head men’s basketball coach at Villanova University from 1973-1992. He won a National title in 1985, defeating heavily favored Georgetown, in what is considered one of the biggest upsets in NCAA history. Massimino was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013.
- Fab Melo (1990-2017) – Fab Melo played two years for Syracuse University and was named the Big East Defensive Player of the Year in 2012.
- Gene Conley (1930-2017) – Conley was a dual sports star back in the 1950′ and 1960’s. He played Major League Baseball for 11 seasons for four different teams, winning the 1957 World Series Championship as a member of the Milwaukee Braves. Conley was also a Center/Forward in the NBA between 1952 and 1969, winning three championships with the Boston Celtics. He is one of only two people to win championships in two of the four major American sports.
- Jerry Krause (1939-2017) – Krause was a basketball scout and general manager for the Chicago Bulls. He managed the team to become a dynasty in which the team won six NBA titles. He also, won the NBA Executive of the Year award twice while with the team.
- John Kundla (1916-2017) – Kundla was the first head coach for the Minneapolis Lakers of the NBA, winning five championships. He also coached at the University of Minnesota for ten seasons. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1995 and in College Hall of Fame in 2006.
- Perry Wallace (1948-2017) – Perry played college basketball at Vanderbilt University, becoming the first black scholarship athlete to play the sport in the Southeastern Conference. His jersey number 25 was retired by Vanderbilt.
- Other former NBA Players that passed in 2017: Connie Hawkins, Jack McCloskey, Charles Shackleford and Dave Stallworth
- Frank Deford (1938-2017) – Deford was a sportswriter and novelist. He wrote for Sports Illustrated, was voted National Sportswriter of the Year six times, became the first magazine recipient of the Red Smith Award for outstanding contribution to sports journalism and recieved the highest honor form the National Press Foundation, the W.M. Kiplinger Award for distinguished contributions to journalism.
- Dick Enberg (1935-2017) – 60-year career calling play-by-play for various sports. His best well known catchphrases are “Touch ’em all” and Oh, my!
- Bob Wolff (1920-2017) – Radio and television sports caster that called Don Larsen’s perfect World Series game and the Baltimore Colts first overtime championship title win over the New York Giants. He also called Jackie Robinson’s last major league hit that won Game 6 of the 1956 World Series. Was also, the TV voice of the New York Knicks during their championship years of 1970 and 1973.
- Other former broadcaster that passed in 2017: John Andariese
Other Notable Sports Figures that passed in 2017:
- Charismatic (Horse Racing)
- Jake LaMotta (Boxing)
- Tony DiCicco (Soccer)
- Lou Duva (Boxing)
- Steven Holcomb (Olympic Bobsledder)
- Jana Novotna (Tennis)
- Jimmy ‘Superfly’ Snuka (Wrestling)
- George “The Animal” Steele (Wrestling)
- Francois Van der Elst (Soccer)
- Jean Vuarnet (Olympic Skiing)