Time for the latest in a series of trivia tidbits about Heisman Trophy winners. Today, a few notes on Heisman winners from the 1960s.
Did you know …
… 1960 winner from Navy Joe Bellino was known for his massive legs that measured 18 inches in circumference at the calf.
… in addition to starring in basketball, football and baseball in high school, Bellino was also an outstanding swimmer and diver.
… in 1961, Syracuse running back Ernie Davis became the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy. President John F. Kennedy had followed Davis’ career and requested to meet with Davis while he was in New York to accept the award.
… while attending Syracuse, Davis was a member of the Sigma Alpha Mu, a nationally recognized Jewish fraternity. Davis was the first African-American to become part of the organization.
… later in 1963, Ernie Davis‘ home town of Elmira, NY held a celebration honoring the “Elmira Express” and President Kennedy sent Davis the following telegram: “Seldom has an athlete been more deserving of such a tribute. Your high standards of performance on the field and off the field reflect the finest qualities of competition, sportsmanship and citizenship. The nation has bestowed upon you its highest awards for your athletic achievements. It’s a privilege for me to address you tonight as an outstanding American, and as a worthy example of our youth. I salute you.”
… Davis also became the first African-America to be selected first overall in the NFL Draft when he was selected by the Washington Redskins in 1962. His rights were quickly traded to the Cleveland Browns, however, that same summer Davis was diagnosed with leukemia and tragically succumbed to the disease in 1963. Even though Davis never played a game professionally, following his death, the Cleveland Browns retired his number 45 jersey.
… 1962 Heisman winner, Terry Baker of Oregon State, is the only Heisman winner to also play in the “Final Four” of the Men’s NCAA basketball tournament.
… Baker later served on the staff of the President Nixon’s Commission on Campus Unrest and Kent State Task Force in 1970.
… 1963 winner Roger Staubach received a single vote for the Vice Presidential nomination at the 1976 Republican National Convention.
… 1964 winner John Huarte attempted just 50 passes in his career before his Heisman-winning season. He won the trophy before he earned his Notre Dame letterman monogram.
… in 1965, Southern California running back Mike Garrett became the first player from a California school to win the Heisman Trophy.
… Garrett later became the first Heisman winner to appear in a Super Bowl, playing for Kansas City in Super Bowl I. He became the first Heisman winner to start on a Super Bowl-winning team when the Chiefs won Super Bowl IV.
… after Steve Spurrier‘s Heisman victory in 1967, he gave his trophy to the University of Florida’s President at the time, Dr. J. Wayne Reitz, so the entire school could enjoy it. As a result of Spurrier’s generosity, the Downtown Athletic Club began its current practice of issuing two trophies every year. One trophy is presented to the individual winner, while the second is presented to the winner’s university.
… 1969 Heisman winner, Steve Owens of Oklahoma, traded his Heisman Trophy cuff links with then President Richard Nixon for a set of his Presidential Seal cuff links. It was reported that President Nixon felt he got the better of the deal.