Hall of Fame quarterback Bart Starr dies
by Mickey McLean
Posted 5/27/19, 03:16 pm
Bart Starr, who led the Green Bay Packers to five NFL championships in the 1960s, including the first two Super Bowls, died Sunday. He was 85. Starr, who had been in failing health after suffering two strokes and a heart attack in 2014, died in Birmingham, Ala.
Starr, who was the 200th pick in the 1956 NFL draft out of the University of Alabama, gained confidence and his winning ways once Vince Lombardi became his coach in Green Bay. His most memorable moment on the field came in the 1967 NFL championship game against the Dallas Cowboys. Playing in sub-zero temperatures, Starr rallied the Packers and on a quarterback sneak scored the winning touchdown late in the game in what has become known as the “Ice Bowl.”
Starr retired in 1971, and the Packers retired his No. 15 jersey in 1973. In 1977, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
After his playing days were over, Starr attempted to bring back the glory days in Green Bay as the team’s head coach from 1975 to 1983 but won only 40 percent of his games. He later became a successful businessman in Birmingham, not far from his hometown of Montgomery.
Among other charitable endeavors, Starr and his wife, Cherry, in 1965 helped start the Rawhide Boys Ranch in New London, Wis., which provided assistance to at-risk and troubled boys in the state. The couple had two sons, Brett, who died at age 24 due to complications from cocaine addiction, and Bart Jr.
“While he may always be best known for his success as the Packers quarterback for 16 years, his true legacy will always be the respectful manner in which he treated every person he met, his humble demeanor and his generous spirit,” Starr’s family said in a statement.
The Athletes in Action/Bart Starr Award honors an NFL player each year who “best exemplifies outstanding character and leadership in the home, on the field, and in the community.” Calais Campbell of the Jacksonville Jaguars won the award in 2019.
Starr was an outspoken Christian as an athlete and in his business life. “Regardless of the successes I have experienced, if my life does not exhibit God’s love, it becomes less meaningful,” he wrote in an article published by Athletes in Action in 2012.
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Mickey is executive editor of WORLD Digital.