IRVING, Texas (Nov. 13, 2020) – Paul Hornung, a 1985 College Football Hall of Fame inductee who was the starting quarterback at Notre Dame from 1954-56, passed away today. He was 84.
“Paul was a friend, and we are deeply sadden to learn of his passing,” said National Football Foundation Chairman Archie Manning. “I always enjoyed being with him and hearing Lombardi and Packer stories, and he was important an important figure in college football, having left a lasting legacy at Notre Dame. RIP No. 5. Our thoughts and prayers are with you, your family, friends and those you touched during your days in South Bend, Green Bay and your beloved hometown of Louisville.”
Born on Dec 23, 1935 in Louisville, KY, Hornung starred in football, basketball and baseball at Flaget High School in the West End of the city before heading to South Bend.
During his three years at Notre Dame, the team posted records of 9-1, 8-2 and 2-8. He alternated at halfback, fullback, and quarterback in 1954. Nicknamed “The Golden Boy,” he became the starting quarterback in 1955, and he would earn All-America honors in 1955-1956.
In 1955, he was fifth in the nation in total offense and fifth in the voting for the Heisman Trophy. Against Iowa his team trailed 14-7 in the fourth quarter. Hornung got off a 23-yard run, then a 40-yard touchdown pass to Jim Morse and place-kicked the extra point to tie the score. With two minutes to play he made a 26-yard field goal that won the game 17-14. That year he also had a 57-yard touchdown run against Southern Methodist.
In 1956, he was second in the nation in total offense, second in kickoff returns, 15th in passing, 16th in scoring. He won the Heisman Trophy – the only time it has been won by a player on a losing team – beating out Tommy McDonald and Jerry Tubbs, Oklahoma; Johnny Majors, Tennessee; Jim Brown, Syracuse; John Brodie, Stanford; Jim Parker, Ohio State; and Joe Walton, Pittsburgh.
The number one pick by the Green Bay Packers in the 1957 NFL Draft, Hornung became an all-pro halfback in the 1960s who could run, pass, catch, block and kick. He would star on the Packer teams that ruled the NFL in the 1960s, and he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986. Legendary Green Bay Packer Football Coach Vince Lombardi once called Hornung, “The most versatile man ever to play the game.”
After retiring from football, he enjoyed a career as football analyst with CBS, TBS and ABC Radio, including working with renowned sportscaster Lindsay Nelson. He also enjoyed a successful real estate and investment career in his hometown of Louisville.
He is the namesake of the Paul Hornung Award, presented annually to the most versatile player in major college football. In addition to the pro and college halls of fame, he has been inducted into the Kentucky Sports (1975), the National High School (1989) and Wisconsin Athletic (1990) and the Louisville Catholic Sports (2012) halls of fame.
Hornung is survived by his wife of 41 years, Angela Hornung. Due to COVID restrictions, there will be a private funeral mass at St. Louis Bertrand Church in Louisville followed by a private burial in Cave Hill Cemetery. Owen Funeral Home-Jeffersontown will oversee services. A public celebration of his life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Norton Sports Health Athletics and Learning Complex via the Louisville Urban League, 1535 West Broadway, Louisville, Ky., 40203; or the Sister Visitor Center via Catholic Charities of Louisville, 2911 South Fourth Street, Louisville, Ky., 40208.