Sports Legends/Personalities/Celebrities that have died so far during 2020:Paul Hornung, Gayle Sayers, Tom Seaver, Bob Gibson, Al Kaline, Claudell Washington, “Big” John Thompson, “Little” Joe Morgan, “Road Warrior Animal”, Kobe Bryant, Wes Unseld, Tom Dempsey, Phyllis George and more(COVID-19 the Cause of many of the Casualties)

Was talking to old coach/athlete the other day, and he was telling me we still have Red Wilson, Marion Kirby, C.K. Siler, Richard Kemp, Bill Slayton, Bob Sawyer, even former pro wrestler Bobby Fulton, and many more men and women from the World of Sports…
Add in locals David Price, Steve Hankins, John Harder, Reggie Peace, Mac Morris and Sandy Gann, among those old coaches still with us…

But, we have lost a load of former sports people in the past year, and many are gone due to the Coronavirus/COVID-19….

Check out the list below, from
(You can add in Pat Patterson and Tiny/Zeus Lister, from the WWE, who have passed away, in the past two weeks.)

Again, here is the most recent list from…..

The Dallas Cowboys paid tribute to Markus Paul prior to their Thanksgiving Day game versus the Washington Football Team. Paul, the team’s strength and conditioning coach, died Nov. 25, a day after suffering a heart attack at the Cowboys’ practice facility in Frisco, Texas. He was 54. The former All-American from Syracuse played six years in the NFL before moving into coaching. Paul joined the Cowboys staff in 2018.

Diego Maradona was larger than life. The world-famous soccer star from Argentina led his countrymen to two straight World Cup finals, including the 1986 championship. His legend was built on moments such as the “Hand of God” goal from the 1986 World Cup run. Most recently a coach, Maradona had battled health and drug problems. Two weeks after undergoing brain surgery, he died Nov. 25 in Argentina. Maradona was 60.

Even after John Schlarman was diagnosed with a form of bile-duct cancer in the summer of 2018, the Kentucky assistant coach (and Wildcats alum) kept right on working the O-line. For his determination, Schlarman was awarded the game ball after Kentucky’s 2020 win over Tennessee. He died about a month later, on Nov. 12. He was 45.

Titus Davis, attended the 2015 NFL Combine, and was a record-setting wide receiver for Central Michigan. He died Nov. 11 at age 27. The older brother of the Tennessee Titans’ Corey Davis had been battling a form of kidney cancer.

Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya was a Russian-born pairs figure skater who competed for Australia in the 2018 Olympics. She died in an apparent suicide in Moscow in July, CBS Sports reported. Alexandrovskaya was 20.

If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or suicidal crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). For more information about mental health care resources and support, The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) HelpLine can be reached Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. ET, at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or email

Bob Gibson was so dominating on the pitching mound that the pitching mound was literally never the same after he came along. Following the conclusion of Gibson’s historic 1968 season, in which he allowed just 38 earned runs in 304.2 innings, MLB ordered mounds to be lowered by five inches. Gibson himself could never be cut down to size. The Hall of Famer won 251 games, two World Series rings, two Cy Young awards and a National League MVP trophy in a 17-year career for the St. Louis Cardinals. He died Oct. 2 at the age of 84.

WWE fans may not recognize the name Joe Laurinaitis, but they surely recognize Laurinaitis’ fierce painted face — and ring name: Road Warrior Animal. One half of the WWE Hall of Fame tag team known as the Road Warriors, Laurinaitis used his 6-foot-2, 300-pound frame to pound opponents alongside Michael Hegstrand (aka Road Warrior Hawk) from the 1980s to 2003, when Hegstrand died of a heart attack. Laurinaitis passed away Sept. 22. He was 60.

The 5-foot-7 Joe Morgan looms large in MLB history. From 1975-1976, the Cincinnati Reds infielder won back-to-back National League MVP honors along with back-to-back World Series rings. His career ran from 1963-1984, and included stops in San Francisco and Houston (for two teams — the now-defunct Colt .45s and the Astros). After his Hall of Fame-worthy playing days, Morgan became a longtime voice of ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball. He died Oct. 11 at age 77.

Life can be humbling, even for golden boys. The blond, 6-foot-2 Paul Hornung was an all-around gridiron star who won the Heisman Trophy at Notre Dame, and the NFL MVP award as a member of the champion Green Bay Packers. He pitched electric shavers and Marlboro cigarettes, and had a reputation as a playboy. His luck ran out for a time when he and fellow NFL standout Alex Karras were suspended for the 1963 NFL season for betting on games. Hornung would go on to win induction into the hall of fames for college and pro football. He died Nov. 13 of dementia. He was 84.

Whitey Ford pitched more in World Series games — 11 years’ worth — than some pitch in their entire MLB lives. The signature hurler for the New York Yankees dynasty of the 1950s and early 1960s, Ford came up as a 21-year-old, and then promptly spent the next two years serving in the Army during the Korean War. Even with the interruption, Ford would win 236 regular-season games, 10 World Series games and six World Series championships in a Hall of Fame career. Ford died Oct. 8. He was 91.

For Kansas fans, Gale Sayers will always be the “Kansas Comet,” the school’s star running back from 1962-1964. For Chicago Bears fans, he’ll always be the great who powered through injuries and blazed his way to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on the strength of a 68-game resume. And for pop-culture buffs, he’ll always be a partner to the gridiron friendship that was the basis for Brian’s Song, the moving story of Sayers and his cancer-stricken Bears teammate, Brian Piccolo. As Bears founder George Halas said of Sayers decades ago, “His like will never be seen again.”

Sayers died Sept. 23. He was 77, and had been battling dementia.

He was a summer’s day at Shea Stadium. He was a miracle worker for the 1969 World Series-winning New York Mets. He was 311 wins, 3,640 strikeouts and three Cy Young awards. He was Tom Seaver, and, for three decades, from 1967-1986, he was baseball. The Baseball Hall of Fame-honored pitcher died Aug. 31 of complications from Lewy body dementia and COVID-19. He was 75.

John Thompson was a towering figure, literally and figuratively. The 6-foot-10 Thompson became head coach of Georgetown’s then-unheralded men’s college basketball team in 1972. He proceeded to make the program into a beast. In 1984, with the help of star pupil (and future Georgetown coach) Patrick Ewing, Thompson became the first Black coach to lead a team to the NCAA title. At the 1988 Summer Olympics, Thompson coached the U.S. men’s basketball team to the bronze medal. He resigned from Georgetown roughly midway through the 1998-1999 season, and went on to a career in broadcasting. Thompson died Aug. 30. He was 78.

Lou Brock, as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch put it, ran away with the hearts of St. Louis Cardinals fans just as he ran away with base after base after base. Brock would rack up more than 900 stolen bases and 3,000 hits in a 19-year MLB career primarily spent with the Cards. The Baseball Hall of Fame inductee died Sept. 6 at age 81. He was immortalized in a statue that was unveiled outside the Cardinals’ Busch Stadium in 1999.

Phyllis George made her name when she won the Miss America crown; she left her mark when she joined the team of the CBS pregame show, “The NFL Today,” in 1974. George was the first woman sportscaster on any major TV network.

“If I hadn’t made that work, women eventually would have come into sportscasting,” she said in a 1999 interview, “but it would have taken them longer.”

George died May 16 of a blood disorder. She was 70.

Rickey Dixon died Aug. 1 at age 53. The College Football Hall of Fame inductee had been diagnosed with ALS in 2014.

On the field for the Oklahoma in the 1988 Orange Bowl, Dixon was a standout Sooners defensive back. The fifth overall pick of the 1988 NFL Draft, he spent six years in the pros, but will be most remembered for his college heroics. “He was one of the greatest players ever played the Sooners!” Barry Switzer, his Oklahoma coach, tweeted.

The running back out of Wyoming powered his way to a nine-year career in the NFL. With the Miami Dolphins, Jim Kiick won two Super Bowls, and enjoyed the team’s historic, and still not-matched, undefeated 1972 season. He died June 20. He was 73.

Harvey Updyke was not famous for doing great things on the field; he was famous for doing bad things to the trees at Auburn’s Toomer’s Corner. In 2013, Updyke pleaded guilty to a charge related to the poisoning of the school’s famed oaks with lethal doses of herbicide. Updyke blew the whistle on himself in a call to a sports-talk radio show; the Alabama fan said he’d done the deed after his beloved Crimson Tide lost to Auburn in the 2010 Iron Bowl rivalry football game. Updyke died July 30 at age 71. The trees he poisoned were cut down in 2013.

Jamain Stephens was a defensive lineman for California University of Pennsylvania. Stephens, who shared his name with his father, the retired NFL O-line player, died Sept. 8 at age 20. His family said the younger Stephens had tested positive for COVID-19, and was felled by a fatal blood clot.

Before he helped save the universe as Marvel Studios’ Black Panther, actor Chadwick Boseman played a real-life hero: Jackie Robinson. In the 2013 film, 42, Boseman brought the pioneering Major League Baseball player and Black American to vibrant life. “He plays Robinson better than Robinson played himself [in the 1950 biopic, The Jackie Robinson Story],” New Yorker critic David Denby wrote. Boseman went on to play Vontae Mack, the sought-after (if fictional) Ohio State linebacker, in 2014’s Draft Day, and, of course, Black Panther, a role he assumed in four films.

On Aug. 28, as MLB marked its annual Jackie Robinson Day, it was announced that Boseman had died after waging a private, four-year battle with colon cancer. The star of 42 was 43.

Lute Olson drew up plays for future NBA stars Steve Kerr, Damon Stoudamire, Mike Bibby and others as head coach of Arizona’s men’s basketball program. During his 24-year run at the school, his squads advanced to the NCAA tournament 23 times. His Wildcats won it all in 1997. Olson previously had a successful run at Iowa from 1974-1983.

Olson retired after the 2006-2007 season. He died Aug. 27. He was 85.

John Blake, who played nose guard for the Oklahoma Sooners, en route to an NFL and college coaching career that eventually brought him back to the Sooners, died July 23 of a heart attack. He was 59. Blake led Oklahoma from 1996-1998. He was the school’s first Black head coach in any sport.

Michael Ojo used his considerable 7-foot-1 frame to play center for Florida State from 2013-2017. He went on to a professional basketball career in Europe. He was practicing with his Serbian-based team on Aug. 7 when he suffered a fatal heart attack. Ojo was 27.

Curly Neal’s shiny dome — and peerless skills — made him one of the signature members of the Harlem Globetrotters during the 1970s and 1980s. He died March 26. He was 77. Neal’s No. 22 jersey was retired by the Globetrotters in 2008.

The former All-Pro NFL guard died July 22 of apparent natural causes. He was 54. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers out of Pitt-Johnstown on the strength of his collegiate wrestling career. (Pitt-Johnstown didn’t even have a football program.) Haselrig also played for the New York Jets.

Clifford Robinson was a star at UConn before he went onto a 19-year career in the NBA. In the pros, the forward was a one-time All-Star who played for the Portland Trail Blazers and four other teams. Robinson died Aug. 29 at age 53. He’d had a number of health issues in recent years. His family said he died of lymphoma.

Isi Holani died Aug. 22 at age 24. Holani was a defensive tackle for Kansas from 2016-2018. A cause of death was not announced.

The on-the-court great, who helped lead the Los Angeles Lakers to five NBA titles, died Jan. 26 in a helicopter crash that killed eight others, including his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna. He was 41. Kobe Bryant retired from the game in 2016. He played 20 seasons in the NBA: all of them with the Lakers.

“Mr. Tiger,” as Al Kaline was known, swatted 399 regular-season home runs for Detroit from 1953-1974, in a 22-year major-league career that saw him win a World Series ring and earn a plaque at Cooperstown. Kaline died April 6 at age 85.

The college-football coach, who led Bo Jackson (left) and the Auburn Tigers from 1981-1992, died June 1. He was 80. Dye was also the head coach at East Carolina and Wyoming.

The former Arkansas standout spent 10 years playing quarterback in the NFL for the Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks and Buffalo Bills. Tarvaris Jackson died April 12 in a car accident. He was 36, and had been working as a QB coach for Tennessee State.

Eddie Sutton scored more than 800 victories for Oklahoma State, Arkansas and other schools in a men’s basketball college coaching career than spanned five decades. He died May 23. Sutton was 83, and had been elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on April 3.

The cornerback out of Florida A&M played his entire, 15-season pro career with the Cincinnati Bengals. Ken Riley, who retired after the 1983 campaign, is still tied for fifth in all-time career interceptions. About the only thing he didn’t achieve in his career was induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. (Yet.)

Riley died June 6. He was 72.

As a student athlete with Mississippi State from 2007-2010, D.J. Looney helped shore up the Bulldogs’ offensive line. He returned to his alma mater as tight-ends coach in 2017 before moving on to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Looney was beginning his third season as an assistant coach with the Ragin’ Cajuns when he was felled by a heart attack during an on-campus practice on Aug. 1. He was 31.

Max Tuerk was a leader on the USC Trojans’ offensive line from 2012-2015. He died June 20 after collapsing during a hike with his parents. He was 26, and played parts of two seasons in the NFL.

The College Football Hall of Fame coach, who led the Tennessee Volunteers from 1977-1992, died June 3. Johnny Majors was 85. He also coached at Iowa State and had two stints at Pittsburgh. Tennessee was his alma mater — and his football home. Said his wife, Mary Lynn Majors, in a statement, “He spent his last hours doing something he dearly loved: looking out over his cherished Tennessee River.”

George Perles died Jan. 7 at age 85. He was a legend at Michigan State, where he went from player to head football coach to athletic director. Perles was an NFL legend, too: He was the defensive guru of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Super Bowl-winning “Steel Curtain” teams.

UConn announced the death of Stanley Robinson on July 22. The forward known as “Sticks” played on the Huskies’ 2009 Final Four team, and went on to play professionally, most recently in Chile. Robinson was 32. Cause of death was not noted.

The defensive end went from Pitt to the NFL to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Doleman, who played the majority of his 15-year NFL career with the Minnesota Vikings, died Jan. 28 after battling brain cancer. He was 58.

Wes Unseld did it all. He was an All-American at Louisville, an NBA Rookie of the Year and NBA Finals MVP with the then-Washington Bullets, and, finally, a coaching and front-office exec. Unseld died June 2 following “lengthy health battles,” his family said. He was 74

The former Stanford Cardinal, who went on to a 1993-2000 NFL career, primarily as a tight end with the Chicago Bears, died May 1 of gastric cancer. He was 49.

The longtime NFL coach, who led the Cincinnati Bengals to the Super Bowl in 1989, died Jan. 2 amid a battle with metastatic melanoma. He was 74. In his younger days, Sam Wyche was a journeyman quarterback in the NFL. He also served as head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Willie Davis, who won two Super Bowls with Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers as part of a Pro Football Hall of Fame career, died April 15 at age 85. The defensive end from Grambling State began his pro career in 1958 with the Cleveland Browns.

The four-year offensive lineman for Navy died Feb. 20 of sudden cardiac arrest. He was 22, and was set to graduate in May 2020.

Known as “Gentle Ben,” Ben Williams was a trailblazer at Ole Miss, where in 1971, he and James Reed became the first Black athletes signed to football scholarships at the school. He was later the first Black Ole Miss athlete selected in an NFL draft. Williams went on to play a 10-year career with the Buffalo Bills. He died May 18 at age 65.

Tom Dempsey, the longtime NFL kicker, died April 4 of coronavirus-related complications. He was 73. Dempsey, who was born without toes on his right foot, kicked a then-record 63-yard field goal with the Saints in 1970. His 1969-1979 career also saw him rack up points for the Philadelphia Eagles, Los Angeles Rams and Buffalo Bills.

Jerry Sloan played 10 seasons in the NBA, but was best known as the longtime head coach of the Utah Jazz. Sloan led the Jazz to back-to-back NBA Finals appearances in the 1990s. He died May 22. Sloan was 78, and had been battling Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia.

The basketball standout for Virginia’s Chatham Hargrave Military Academy died March 2 in what police said was an accidental shooting. He was 19, and was a three-star talent in the 2020 recruiting class.

Richardson played for the Arkansas Razorbacks from 1979-1982, He died April 9 of coronavirus-related complications. He was 60.

A guard for St. John’s from 1991-1994, Lee Green died of coronavirus-related complications on March 23. He was 49, and was a retired police officer.

Young, a longtime assistant football coach at West Virginia, died April 7. He was 77. After his own playing days at the school ended, Young served on Mountaineers staffs from 1970-2012.

The former Maryland football head coach died May 3 of complications from coronavirus. Lester was 96. He led the Terrapins from 1969-1971.

The Pro Bowl linebacker for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers died July 14. He was 65. Lewis, who came out of USC, was a longtime football coach at Florida’s Tampa Catholic High School.

Out of high school, Reche Caldwell passed up a chance to join baseball’s Cincinnati Reds organization in order to play college football for Florida. He went on to a six-year NFL career with three teams, including the then-San Diego Chargers. Caldwell was shot and killed in his Tampa, Florida, hometown on June 6. He was 41. As of publication, no arrests have been made in Caldwell’s slaying.

Claudell Washington broke into the big leagues as a teenager, and went on to play 17 years for a series of teams, including the Chicago White Sox. The two-time All-Star died June 10. He was 65, and had been battling prostate cancer.

The esteemed NFL O-line coach, who served as head coach of the then-Phoenix Cardinals from 1990-1993, and of the then-Oakland Raiders in 1997, died June 28. He was 80.

The Orange Coast College baseball coach, his wife, Keri, and 14-year-old daughter, Alyssa, were among the nine people who died in the Jan. 26 Kobe Bryant helicopter crash. John Altobelli was 56. Alyssa Altobelli and Gianna Bryant were teammates on a youth-basketball team coached by Bryant.

John Holmes was a 4.0 student who excelled at basketball and football at Michigan’s Grand Rapids Christian High School, and was committed to play on the gridiron for Brown. He was killed in a single-car accident on June 20. He was 18.