Leon Hart

Leon Joseph Hart (November 2, 1928 – September 24, 2002) was an American football end. He won the Heisman Trophy and the Maxwell Award while at the University of Notre Dame in 1949 and played in the National Football League (NFL) for eight seasons, from 1950 to 1957, with the Detroit Lions.

Hart is the only lineman to win three college football national championships and three NFL Championships. He is the last of only two lineman ever to win the Heisman Trophy. Also, he is one of three players, along with Angelo Bertelli and Cam Newton, to win the Heisman Trophy, a national championship, and be the first overall pick in the NFL draft all in the same one-year span.

Leon Hart
Leon Hart
No. 82
Position:End/Fullback
Personal information
Born:November 2, 1928
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Died:September 24, 2002 (aged 73)
South Bend, Indiana
Height:6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Weight:257 lb (117 kg)
Career information
High school:Turtle Creek (PA)
College:Notre Dame
NFL Draft:1950 / Round: 1 / Pick: 1
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Receptions:174
Receiving yards:2,499
Touchdowns:26
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR

Early years

Hart was born in Pittsburgh in 1928 raised in nearby Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania, and attended Turtle Creek High School.[1] He won varsity letters in football, basketball and baseball while in high school.[2]

Notre Dame

Hart attended the University of Notre Dame where he played college football at the end position, both offense and defense, for Frank Leahy's Fighting Irish football teams from 1946 to 1949. He received first-team All-American honors three times, from the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) in 1947 and as a consensus first team selection in 1948 and 1949. During his four years at Notre Dame, Hart caught 49 passes for 701 yards and 15 touchdowns, at that time a collegiate record.[3] The Fighting Irish compiled a 46–0–2 record and won three national championships while Hart was a player.

Hart began playing for Notre Dame as a 17-year-old freshman in 1946.[2][4]

Hart was the captain of the 1949 Notre Dame team that compiled a perfect 10-0 record, outscored their opponents 360-86, and was recognized in the final AP Poll as the 1949 national champion. At the end of the 1949 season, Hart won both the Heisman Trophy and the Maxwell Award. He was also voted as the Associated Press Athlete of the Year award with 104 points, edging baseball player Jackie Robinson (55 points).[5]

Hart graduated from Notre Dame in 1950 with a degree in mechanical engineering.[6]

Detroit Lions

Hart was selected by the Detroit Lions with the first overall pick in the 1950 NFL Draft.[1] He signed a three-year contract with the Lions in February 1950 for a salary reported to be close to $20,000.[3] He played for the Lions from 1950 to 1957, appeared in 92 games, and was a member of NFL championship teams in 1952, 1953, and 1957. During his eight-year NFL career, Hart gained 3,111 yards from scrimmage, caught 174 passes for 2,499 yards, and scored 32 touchdowns and 192 points.[1]

Family and later years

In February 1950, Hart married Lois Newyahr, his high school girlfriend, at St. Colman's Roman Catholic Church in Turtle Creek.[7] After retiring from football, he lived in Birmingham, Michigan. He operated a business that manufactured equipment to balance tires.[8]

Hart was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1973.[9] He died in 2002 at St. Joseph Medical Center in South Bend, Indiana, at age 73.[6]

References

  1. ^ a b c "Leon Hart". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved March 11, 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Turtle Creek's Leon Hart Making Good With Irish: 6-Foot-4, 225-Pound End Hits Stride In Notre Dame's Game With Pitt". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. November 7, 1946. p. 14.
  3. ^ a b Bob Latshaw (February 12, 1950). "Hart 'Happy' To Cast Lot With Lions as He Signs for 3 Seasons: McMillin To Keep Star at End; Yearly Salary Put at Near $20,000". Detroit Free Press.
  4. ^ Jack Hernon (December 3, 1946). "Leon Hart Makes Good With Irish: Turtle Creek Youth Praised by Druze, Team's End Coach". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 14.
  5. ^ "Hart Voted Year's Top Athlete". Detroit Free Press. January 15, 1950. p. 24.
  6. ^ a b Richard Golstein (September 25, 2002). "Leon Hart, 73, Massive End And Heisman Trophy Winner". The New York Times.
  7. ^ "Leon Hart Weds Lois Newyahr". The Ogden Standard-Examiner. February 19, 1950. p. 12.
  8. ^ "Notre Dame's 1949 Heisman winner, Leon Hart, dies at 73". The Daily Chronicle (DeKalb, Illinois). September 25, 2002. p. 10.
  9. ^ "Hart, 10 Others Elected To College Hall of Fame". The Decatur (IL) Herald. February 25, 1973. p. 20.

External links

1946 Army vs. Notre Dame football game

The 1946 Army vs. Notre Dame football game was a regular season college football game played on November 9, 1946. Army (the football program of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York), then ranked Number 1 in the Associated Press college football poll, played the University of Notre Dame, of South Bend, Indiana, ranked Number 2, at Yankee Stadium in New York City. This game is regarded as one of the 20th century Games of the Century.

1946 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team

The 1946 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team represented the University of Notre Dame during the 1946 college football season. The Irish, coached by Frank Leahy, ended the season with 8 wins and 1 tie, winning the national championship. The 1946 team became the fifth Irish team to win the national title and the second for Leahy. The 1946 is the first team in what is considered to be the Notre Dame Football dynasty, a stretch of games in which Notre Dame went 36-0-2 and won three national championships and two Heisman Trophies from 1946-1949. The 1946 team was cited by Sports Illustrated as the part of the second best sports dynasty (professional or collegiate) of the 20th century and second greatest college football dynasty. The season also produced one of college football's "games of the century", the famous 0-0 tie with Army at Yankee Stadium.

1947 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team

The 1947 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team represented the University of Notre Dame during the 1947 college football season. The Irish, coached by Frank Leahy, ended the season with 9 wins and no losses, winning the national championship. The 1947 team became the sixth Irish team to win the national title and the second in a row for Leahy. The squad is the second team in what is considered to be the Notre Dame Football dynasty, a stretch of games in which Notre Dame went 36–0–2 and won three national championships and two Heisman Trophies from 1946–1949. The 1947 team was cited by Sports Illustrated as the part of the second best sports dynasty (professional or collegiate) of the 20th century and second greatest college football dynasty.

1948 College Football All-America Team

The 1948 College Football All-America team is composed of college football players who were selected as All-Americans by various organizations and writers that chose College Football All-America Teams in 1948. The seven selectors recognized by the NCAA as "official" for the 1948 season are (1) the Associated Press, (2) the United Press, (3) the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), (4) the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA), (5) the International News Service (INS), (6) the Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA) and (7) The Sporting News.

SMU quarterback Doak Walker and Penn center Chuck Bednarik were the only players unanimously named by all seven official selectors as first-team All-Americans. Walker also won the 1948 Heisman Trophy.

1949 College Football All-America Team

The 1949 College Football All-America team is composed of college football players who were selected as All-Americans by various organizations and writers that chose College Football All-America Teams in 1949. The eight selectors recognized by the NCAA as "official" for the 1949 season are (1) the Associated Press, (2) the United Press, (3) the All-America Board, (4) the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), (5) the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA), (6) the International News Service (INS), (7) the Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA), and (8) the Sporting News.

1949 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team

The 1949 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team represented the University of Notre Dame during the 1949 college football season. The Irish, coached by Frank Leahy, ended the season with 10 wins and no losses, winning the national championship. The 1949 team became the seventh Irish team to win the national title and the third in four years. Led by Heisman winner Leon Hart, the Irish outscored their opponents 360–86. The 1949 team is the last team in what is considered to be the Notre Dame Football dynasty, a stretch of games in which Notre Dame went 46–0–2 and won three national championships and two Heisman Trophies. The Irish squad was cited by Sports Illustrated as the part of the second best sports dynasty (professional or collegiate) of the 20th century and second greatest college football dynasty.

1949 in sports

1949 in sports describes the year's events in world sport.

1950 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team

The 1950 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team represented the University of Notre Dame during the 1950 college football season. The Irish, coached by Frank Leahy during his eighth year at Notre Dame, ended the season with 4 wins, 4 losses, and one tie. Though they were ranked #1 in the preseason AP Polland were the defending National Champions, the 1950 team– without Heisman Trophy-winner Leon Hart, who had graduated in the spring and was drafted by the NFL's Detroit Lions with the first overall pick– only achieved a .500 record for the season.

1952 Cleveland Browns season

The 1952 Cleveland Browns season was the team's third season with the National Football League.

1952 Detroit Lions season

The 1952 Detroit Lions season resulted in the Lions winning their second National Football League (NFL) championship, having won their first championship 17 years earlier in 1935. The team's co-captains were halfback Bob Hoernschemeyer and defensive tackle John Prchlik, and defensive end Jim Doran was selected as the team's most valuable player. In their third year under head coach Buddy Parker, the 1952 Lions compiled a 9–3 record during the regular season, finished in a tie with the Los Angeles Rams for first place in the NFL's National Conference, defeated the Rams in a tiebreaker game, and defeated the Cleveland Browns, 17–7, in the 1952 NFL Championship Game at Municipal Stadium in Cleveland.

The 1952 Lions outscored opponents 354 to 192 in 12 regular season games and ranked first in the NFL with an average of 29.5 points scored per game. The offense was led by quarterback Bobby Layne who ranked second in the NFL with 2,410 yards of total offense – 1,999 passing and 411 rushing. End Cloyce Box led the NFL with 15 touchdowns, including nine touchdown catches in the final three games of the regular season. For the third consecutive year, Bob Hoernschemeyer was the team's leading rusher with 457 yards and an average of 4.3 yards per carry. Jack Christiansen led the NFL with an average of 21.5 yards per punt return, returned two punts for touchdowns, and ranked fourth in the NFL with 731 punt and kick return yards.

The Lions' defense ranked first in the NFL in points allowed, allowing 16 points per game during the regular season. Defensive back Bob Smith ranked among the NFL leaders with a 90-yard interception return (2nd), nine interceptions (3rd), and 184 interception return yards (3rd). Smith was also the team's punter and ranked second in the NFL with an average of 44.7 yards per punt. Six players from the 1952 Lions team, Layne, Christiansen, halfback Doak Walker, defensive back Yale Lary, and offensive linemen Lou Creekmur and Dick Stanfel, were later inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

1953 Detroit Lions season

The 1953 Detroit Lions season resulted in the Lions winning their second consecutive and third overall National Football League (NFL) championship. In their fourth year under head coach Buddy Parker, the Lions compiled a 10–2 record during the regular season, outscored opponents 271 to 205, finished in first place in the NFL's Western Division, and defeated the Cleveland Browns, 17–16, in the 1953 NFL Championship Game at Briggs Stadium in Detroit.

The 1953 Lions ranked fifth in the NFL in scoring offense. The offense was led by quarterback Bobby Layne who compiled 2,431 yards of total offense (2,088 passing, 343 rushing) and 16 passing touchdowns. Halfback Doak Walker totaled 839 yards from scrimmage, (337 rushing, 502 receiving) and was the team's leading scorer with 93 points on five touchdowns, 12 field goals, and 27 extra points. For the fourth year in a row, Bob Hoernschemeyer was the team's leading rusher, contributed 764 yards from scrimmage (482 rushing, 282 receiving) and scored nine touchdowns.

The team also ranked second in the NFL in scoring defense. Defensive back Jack Christiansen led the NFL with 12 interceptions and 238 interception return yards. Eight members of the 1953 Lions were selected as first-team All-NFL players for the 1953 season: middle guard Les Bingaman, Christiansen, offensive guard Lou Creekmur, Hoernschemeyer, Layne, defensive tackle Thurman McGraw, guard Dick Stanfel, and Walker. Seven members of the team, Christiansen, Creekmur, safety Yale Lary, Layne, linebacker Joe Schmidt, guard Dick Stanfel, and Walker, were later inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Emil Sitko

Emil "Red" Sitko (September 7, 1923 – December 15, 1973) was an American football player.

Born in Fort Wayne, Indiana on September 7, 1923. He was of Polish descent. He earned the nickname of "Red" due to his red hair. He attended Central High School in Fort Wayne. At only 5'8" and 180 pounds he was not considered a big man. "Emil wasn't very big as football players go -- even for those days", Irish coach Frank Leahy once said. "But he was the fastest starting back I ever coached."

Emil Sitko served in a military capacity during World War II and did not enter directly into college. Upon coming out of service in World War II, he enrolled at Notre Dame as a 23-year-old freshman. He was a starter on the football team three years at right half and one year at fullback from 1946 to 1949. In those four years the Notre Dame record was 36–0–2. Besides his nickname of "Red", he was known in football as "Six- Yard Sitko." He led his team in rushing all four years and his career average was 6.1 yards a try. In 1949, he also led the team in kickoff returns, averaging 22 yards. He made the All-America teams of the Sporting News and the Football Writers Association of America in 1948 and was unanimous All-America in 1949. Emil also finished eighth in the 1949 Heisman Trophy voting behind teammate Leon Hart. Sitko still stands seventh on Notre Dame's career rushing charts.Sitko played three seasons in the NFL for the San Francisco 49ers and the Chicago Cardinals before retiring and returning to his hometown to work in the auto sales business. He died in 1973, at age 50, after a heart attack. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1984.

Gus Cifelli

August Blase "Gus" Cifelli (February 3, 1926 – March 26, 2009) was an American football offensive tackle who played for three College Football National Championship teams with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team and won the 1952 NFL championship with the Detroit Lions. After retiring from football, he went to law school and was elected as a Michigan district court judge, where he served for more than two decades.

Jim Seymour (American football)

James Patrick Seymour (November 24, 1946 – March 29, 2011) was an American football wide receiver who played three seasons for the Chicago Bears in the National Football League. He was originally selected by the Los Angeles Rams in the first round of the 1969 NFL Draft, 10th pick overall. In 1974, he played for the Chicago Fire of the WFL.

Seymour played high school football at Shrine of the Little Flower High School, Royal Oak, Michigan, and college football at Notre Dame, where he was a two-time First-team All-American (1967, 1968) while also being a Second-team All-America selection in 1966. He is widely considered to be one of the Top 50 players in Notre Dame history, and is one of only five three-time football All-Americans at the school (Leon Hart, Ken MacAfee, Chris Zorich, Luther Bradley). Seymour was featured on the cover of Time Magazine in the October 28th, 1966 issue, along with Terry Hanratty. He was the older brother of former professional football player Paul Seymour.

Seymour died on March 29, 2011 from cancer.

Leon Hart (American football, born 1951)

Leon Hart (born April 27, 1951) is an American football coach. Hart was the head football coach at Elon University in Elon, North Carolina. He held that position for seven seasons, from 1989 until 1995. His coaching record at Elon was 37–37.

Leon Hart (disambiguation)

Leon Hart was a college and National Football League defensive end.

Leon Hart may also refer to:

Leon Hart (American football, born 1951), American football coach

Leon Hart (offensive lineman) in USA Today All-USA high school football team (2000–09)

List of Elon Phoenix head football coaches

The Elon Phoenix football program is a college football team that represents Elon University in the Colonial Athletic Association, a part of the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision. The team has had 21 head coaches since its first recorded football game in 1909. The current head coach is Rich Skrosky, who took over for the 2014 season after Jason Swepson was fired at the end of his third season.

Sporting News College Football Player of the Year

The Sporting News College Football Player of the Year award is given to the player of the year in college football as adjudged by Sporting News.

William J. Leonard

William J. Leonard (April 27, 1927 – July 20, 2006) was an end for the University of Notre Dame's undefeated football team, which won 1947 the National Championship. Earlier, he had won recognition as an All-City football player at Youngstown, Ohio's East High School.He was born in Youngstown, the son of Patrick and Anna (Welsh) Leonard. From 1942 to 1944, he played for the East High School football team, where he was first team All-City in 1943 and 1944, was first team All-County in 1944, and was second team All-Ohio in 1944.

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