College Football Hall of Famer Lou Michaels dies at 80

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Saturday, February 20, 2016

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Lou Michaels, a two-time All-American tackle at Kentucky and College Football Hall of Famer, has died. He was 80.

Michaels' daughter, Michele Grochocki in Swoyersville, Pennsylvania, confirmed his death Tuesday. Michaels had pancreatic cancer, Grochocki said.

Michaels was an Associated Press All-American first-team selection in 1956 and '57, during the era of one-platoon football. Besides playing on the offensive and defensive lines, he was a place-kicker and punter for the Wildcats. Kentucky retired Michaels' No. 79 jersey in 1990.

"UK Athletics has lost one of our all-time greats in the passing of Lou Michaels,'' Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart said in a statement. "He was an incredible competitor during a time when players played both offense and defense. As a UK retired jersey honoree, a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and an All-Pro player in the NFL, Lou was one of the most honored Wildcats in the history of UK football. Our condolences go to his wife, Judy, and their children and family.''

Named Southeastern Conference Player of the Year by league coaches as a senior, Michaels finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting that season. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1992.

The No. 4 overall pick in the 1958 NFL draft, he played for the Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Colts and Green Bay Packers in a 13-year pro career. He was named All-Pro in 1962 and 1963, while with the Steelers.

Michaels played five seasons with the Colts and was a member of the squad that lost Super Bowl III to Joe Namath and the Jets. At the time, the Jets' assistant coach was his older brother Walt Michaels, who went on to coach New York from 1977 to 1982.

"That probably was the only game that truly haunted my father,'' said Edward Michaels, one of Lou Michaels' two sons. "I watched the entire film many times, and it just wasn't meant to be for the Colts.''