Alumni, journalists pay tribute to Kazmaier ’52

Dick Kazmaier ’52, No. 42, eludes a Rutgers defender on the Oct. 20, 1950, cover of PAW. (Photo: PAW Archives)

News of Heisman Trophy winner Dick Kazmaier ’52’s death last week prompted tributes from several alumni and sports journalists. 

New Yorker writer and Princeton professor John McPhee ’53, a close friend and former roommate of Kazmaier, said that the former football star’s “strongest characteristic was loyalty and his greatest talent was friendship,” according to the Associated Press

The athletic communications office’s TigerBlog highlighted Kazmaier’s modest manner: “When you’re the only Heisman Trophy winner in the long history of a football program and you had the kind of [football] career that Kazmaier had, you naturally have a bit of ‘that’s him, that’s the one’ celebrity about you. Kazmaier wanted no part of that.”

Director of Athletics Gary Walters ’67 spoke about Kazmaier’s wisdom and humility in a statement on

“Notwithstanding all of the achievements in his athletic, business, and philanthropic endeavors, Dick remained one of the most self-effacing individuals I have ever met. He never sought the spotlight and always led in a thoughtful and ethical manner.

“Indeed, Dick was also the father of six daughters and he became a major force behind the scenes as he helped to implement the Title IX Legislation that was passed in 1972 in order to provide equal competitive opportunities for women in college.

“As is the case with many of his Princeton friends, Dick was a personal mentor and advisor for me in my role as Athletic Director; and I will miss him dearly as a friend.”

Update: NPR’s Frank Deford ’61 devoted his Aug. 7 commentary to Kazmaier, “a honey of a guy.”

Others shared their praise via Twitter (below), including Dean Cain ’88, the actor and former Tiger football star; sports executive and former Tiger basketball standout Steve Mills ’81; College Hockey Inc.’s Nate Ewell ’96, whose father, Bob, coached Patty Kazmaier ’86 at Princeton; Chris Fowler, a broadcaster and co-host of ESPN’s College GameDay; and Dana O’Neil, an ESPN columnist who covers college sports.


2 thoughts on “Alumni, journalists pay tribute to Kazmaier ’52

  1. Hostpay

    John arrives at school … oh the Marinette throws a paper ball at his head and says:
    – “Head Shot” (headshot)
    Johnny picks up the book and in the face of taca Gretel and says:

  2. Guia Social

    According to a new study children who play musical instruments are more sensitive to sounds, including speech of the people and, consequently, increasing their ability to learn new languages​​.
    Tests showed the benefits of exposing children to music, including those who are autistic or who have dyslexia. Researchers have established, then, a link between the “musical ear” and the ability of the nervous system to absorb any sound.


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