Gene Hickerson

Robert Gene Hickerson (February 15, 1935 – October 20, 2008) was an American Football offensive guard who played for the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League (NFL) in a fifteen-year career from 1958 to 1960 and 1962 to 1973. Hickerson was a six-time Pro Bowler from 1965 to 1970. He was inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on August 4, 2007.

Gene Hickerson
refer to caption
Hickerson (left) with Robert Jackson in 1979
No. 66
Position:Offensive guard
Personal information
Born:February 15, 1935
Trenton, Tennessee
Died:October 20, 2008 (aged 73)
Cleveland, Ohio
Career information
High school:Trezevant (TN)
College:Ole Miss
NFL Draft:1957 / Round: 7 / Pick: 78
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Games played:202
Fumble recoveries:7
Player stats at
Player stats at PFR


Collegiate career

Hickerson was born in Trenton, Tennessee located in Gibson County, but played fullback at Trezevant High School in neighboring Carroll County. Hickerson became a tackle at Ole Miss. He was considered one of the best offensive linemen in Southeastern Conference history at the end of his collegiate career.

Professional career

Gene was drafted in the seventh round of the 1957 NFL Draft by the Browns. He was promptly shifted to the guard position on the offensive line in 1958 to better utilize his speed. He was used as a "messenger" guard by Coach Paul Brown, or a guard that delivered the plays in the huddle, while blocking for Hall of Famers Jim Brown, Bobby Mitchell, and Leroy Kelly. But after three seasons in the league, he broke his leg in 1961 and fractured the leg again later in the season while watching a game from the sidelines.

After missing two games in 1962, he recovered from the injury and never missed another game in his professional tenure. Hickerson only earned accolades after Jim Brown had retired and he was blocking for Leroy Kelly, but he earned first-team all-NFL honors five straight seasons from 1966 to 1970 and was voted to six consecutive Pro Bowls from 1966 to 1971. During his career, Hickerson's Browns never experienced a losing season and was a starter in four NFL title games, including a 1964 NFL Championship win over the Baltimore Colts 27–0. During Gene's 10 pro seasons, the Browns featured a 1,000-yard rusher every season but one in the era where the NFL season consisted of 14 games. They also had the NFL's leading rusher seven seasons of those ten. He was elected to the Browns' legends team and the NFL 1960s All-Decade Team.

In 2007, during his induction at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, and already suffering from the health problems that plagued the final years of his life, including dementia,[1] Hickerson was brought onstage in his wheelchair, propelled by Bobby Mitchell, Jim Brown, and Leroy Kelly. It was announced as "one last time, Gene Hickerson leads Bobby Mitchell, Jim Brown, and Leroy Kelly." He was inducted by his friend and former teammate at The University of Mississippi and the Cleveland Browns, Bobby Franklin.


On October 20, 2008, Hickerson died just outside Cleveland, Ohio.[2][3] The Browns added a "GH" tribute badge to their helmets for the 2008 season in his honor.


  1. ^ Matt Crossman (2011-07-11). "John Mackey and other retired NFL players experience living hell". Retrieved 2012-12-22.
  2. ^ Plain Dealer article: "The Gene Hickerson Story: The hard times of a tough Cleveland Brown"
  3. ^ Gene Hickerson, 73, Browns Hall of Fame guard, is dead; The Plain Dealer, October 20, 2008

External links

1957 All-SEC football team

The 1957 All-SEC football team consists of American football players selected to the All-Southeastern Conference (SEC) chosen by various selectors for the 1957 college football season. Auburn won the conference.

1957 Ole Miss Rebels football team

The 1957 Ole Miss Rebels football team represented the University of Mississippi during the 1957 NCAA University Division football season. The Rebels were led by 11th-year head coach Johnny Vaught and played their home games at Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Mississippi (and alternate site home games in Jackson, Mississippi). They competed as members of the Southeastern Conference, finishing in second with a regular season record of 8–1–1 (4–0–1 SEC), and were ranked 7th in the final AP Poll. They were invited to the 1958 Sugar Bowl, where they defeated Texas, 39–7.

1961 Cleveland Browns season

The 1961 Cleveland Browns season was the team's 12th season with the National Football League.

1965 All-Pro Team

The following is a list of National Football League (American football) players that were named to the Associated Press All-Pro Team in 1965. Players from the first and second teams are listed, with players from the first team in bold, where applicable.

1965 NFL Championship Game

The 1965 National Football League Championship Game was the 33rd championship game for the National Football League (NFL), played on January 2, 1966, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin. This was the first NFL championship game played in January, televised in color, and the last one played before the Super Bowl era.

The game matched the Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Browns (11–3), the defending NFL champions, and the Green Bay Packers (10–3–1) of the Western Conference. A week earlier, the Packers defeated the Baltimore Colts in a tiebreaker Western Conference playoff at County Stadium in Milwaukee, while the Browns were idle. The Packers were making their first appearance in the championship game in three years, since their consecutive wins in 1961 and 1962. Green Bay was relegated to the third place Playoff Bowl the previous two seasons, with a victory over the Browns and a loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.

The home field for the NFL title game alternated between the conferences; in odd-numbered seasons, the Western team was the host. Home field advantage was not implemented in the NFL playoffs until 1975.

With the 23–12 victory, the Packers won their ninth NFL title, sixth in the championship game era.

1966 All-Pro Team

The Associated Press (AP), United Press International (UPI), Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA), and New York Daily News selected All-Pro players following the 1966 NFL season.

1967 All-Pro Team

The following is a list of players that were named to the Associated Press All-Pro Team in 1967. Players from the first and second teams are listed, with players from the first team in bold, where applicable.

1968 All-Pro Team

This is a list of players named as All-Pros based on their performance in the 1968 AFL and NFL season. These lists provide a perspective into how players were judged against their peers by critics of their time. Players representing both the National Football League (NFL) and American Football League (AFL) are included.

1969 All-Pro Team

This is a list of players named as All-Pros based on their performance in the 1969 AFL and NFL season. These lists provide a perspective into how players were judged against their peers by critics of their time. Players representing both the National Football League (NFL) and American Football League (AFL) are included.

1969 Cleveland Browns season

The 1969 Cleveland Browns season was the team's 20th season with the National Football League and the last before the 1970 AFL-NFL Merger.

The Browns made it to the 1969 NFL Championship Game, where they fell to the Minnesota Vikings. The 1969 season would be the last year that Cleveland would win a postseason game until 1986. In addition, that victory over Dallas would also be the last time the Browns won a postseason game on the road as of 2017.

1970 All-Pro Team

The following is a list of players that were named to the Associated Press All-Pro Team, the Newspaper Enterprise Association All-Pro team and the Pro Football Writers Association, and Pro Football Weekly All-Pro teams in 1970. Both first- and second- teams are listed for the NEA, and PFWA teams. These are the four All-Pro teams that are included in the Total Football II: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League and compose the consensus All-Pro team for 1970.

1972 Cleveland Browns season

The 1972 Cleveland Browns season was the team's 23rd season with the National Football League.

Cleveland Browns

The Cleveland Browns are a professional American football team based in Cleveland, Ohio. The Browns compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the American Football Conference (AFC) North division. The Browns play their home games at FirstEnergy Stadium, which opened in 1999, with administrative offices and training facilities in Berea, Ohio. The Browns' official colors are brown, orange, and white. They are unique among the 32 member franchises of the NFL in that they do not have a logo on their helmets.The franchise was founded in 1945 by businessman Arthur B. McBride and coach Paul Brown as a charter member of the All-America Football Conference (AAFC). The Browns dominated the AAFC, compiling a 47–4–3 record in the league's four seasons and winning its championship in each. When the AAFC folded after the 1949 season, the Browns joined the National Football League along with the San Francisco 49ers and the original Baltimore Colts. The Browns won a championship in their inaugural NFL season, as well as in the 1954, 1955, and 1964 seasons, and in a feat unequaled in any of the North American major professional sports, played in their league championship game in each of the Browns' first ten years of existence. From 1965 to 1995, they made the playoffs 14 times, but did not win another championship or appear in the Super Bowl during that period.

In 1995, owner Art Modell, who had purchased the Browns in 1961, announced plans to move the team to Baltimore. After threats of legal action from the city of Cleveland and fans, a compromise was reached in early 1996 that allowed Modell to establish the Baltimore Ravens as a new franchise while retaining the contracts of all Browns personnel. The Browns' intellectual property, including team name, logos, training facility, and history, were kept in trust and the franchise was regarded by the NFL as suspended, with a new team to be established by 1999 either by expansion or relocation. The Browns were announced as an expansion team in 1998 and resumed play in 1999.Since resuming operations in 1999, the Browns have struggled to find success. They have had only two winning seasons (in 2002 and 2007), one playoff appearance (2002), and no playoff wins. The franchise has also been noted for a lack of stability with quarterbacks, having started 30 players in the position since 1999. Through the end of the 2018 season, the Browns' win–loss record since returning to the NFL in 1999 is 95–224–1. In 2017, the Browns became only the second team in league history to finish a season 0–16, joining the 2008 Detroit Lions. Through the 2018 season, the Browns hold the longest active playoff drought in the NFL, at 16 seasons.

Ed Ulinski

Edward Franklin Ulinski (December 7, 1919 – September 17, 2006) was a professional American football guard who played four seasons for the Cleveland Browns in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) and went on to a career as an assistant coach for the Browns that lasted more than three decades.

Ulinski grew up in Pennsylvania and attended Marshall University in West Virginia, where he starred as a blocker and end. He then served for four years in the U.S. Air Force during World War II, playing for military football teams in 1944 and 1945. He signed with the Browns in 1946 and played as a guard as the team won four straight AAFC championships. He retired after the 1949 season to begin a coaching career, working first at Santa Clara University for three years before taking an assistant coaching job at Purdue University.

Paul Brown, the head coach of the Browns, hired Ulinski in 1954 to work with the team's linemen. Ulinski changed to the Browns' linebackers coach in 1963 after Brown was fired and Blanton Collier replaced him. He later served as an administrative coaching aide and the Browns' film coordinator before retiring in 1984. The Browns won three National Football League championships during Ulinski's coaching career, in 1954, 1955 and 1964. He was inducted into Marshall's athletics hall of fame in 1986. Ulinski died in 2006 after a bout with Alzheimer's disease.


Hickerson Hall - Southern Connecticut State University.

Hickerson is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Bryan Hickerson (born 1963), former professional baseball player

Gene Hickerson (1935–2008), former American Football offensive guard

Joe Hickerson (born 1935), noted folk singer and songleader

John D. Hickerson (1898–1989), United States diplomat

Larry Benz

Larry Walker Benz (born January 28, 1941) is a former professional American football safety in the National Football League. He played three seasons for the Cleveland Browns.

List of Cleveland Browns Pro Bowl selections

This is a list of Cleveland Browns players who were elected to the Pro Bowl.

The year indicates when the game was played, not the season that it followed.

National Football League 1960s All-Decade Team

This is a list of National Football League (NFL) players who had outstanding performances throughout the 1960s and have been compiled together into this fantasy group. The team was selected by voters of the Pro Football Hall of Fame at the end of the decade.

Nick Skorich

Nicholas Leonard Skorich (June 26, 1921 – October 2, 2004) was an American football player and coach.

Skorich played guard at Bellaire High School and the University of Cincinnati before joining the United States Navy in 1943. After the end of World War II, he signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers, who had taken him in the 1943 NFL Draft. He played three years for the Steelers.

Skorich then went into coaching, first at the high school level, then as an assistant with the Steelers from 1954 to 1957. After one year with the Green Bay Packers, he moved to the Philadelphia Eagles, who promoted him to head coach after Buck Shaw retired following the Eagles' 1960 championship season.

The Eagles remained competitive in 1961, winning 10 of 14 games, but fell to 3–10–1 in 1962 and 2–10–2 in 1963. Fired from the Eagles, Skorich took a job as a defensive assistant under Cleveland Browns coach Blanton Collier in 1964. The Browns promoted him to offensive coordinator four years later and head coach upon Collier's retirement after the 1970 season.

In 1970, the Browns had gone 7–7 in only their second non-winning season since beginning play in 1946. Under Skorich, the Browns went 9–5 in 1971, winning the AFC Central Division before losing to the Baltimore Colts in the divisional playoffs. The following year, the Browns earned a wild card spot with a 10–4 record. In the playoffs, they came as close as anyone else that season did to beating the Miami Dolphins in that team's perfect season, losing 20–14 on a late Jim Kiick touchdown.

But by then Browns greats like Leroy Kelly, Gary Collins and Gene Hickerson had retired or were winding down their careers, and quarterback Mike Phipps was proving to be a disappointment. Cleveland dropped to 7–5–2 in 1973 and, in its first last-place finish ever, 4–10 in 1974. The Browns replaced Skorich with former Green Bay Packers star Forrest Gregg. Several players drafted under Skorich, including Brian Sipe, Doug Dieken and Greg Pruitt would play well for Gregg and his successor, Sam Rutigliano.

After leaving Cleveland, Skorich served as supervisor of officials for the National Football League. He is credited with developing mechanics for umpires, the most demanding position on an officiating crew since the umpire is positioned behind the defensive line and is often caught in the middle of heavy traffic during play. The mechanics for umpires was changed by the NFL for the 2010 season, moving the umpire behind the quarterback, parallel to the referee, except for the last two minutes of each half.

He died in 2004, after complications from heart surgery. In his memory his family started the Nicholas L. Skorich scholarship fund, which, holds a yearly golf outing.

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