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Illini Legends, Lists & Lore


Buddy Young By The Numbers

Claude “Buddy” Young was the University of Illinois’ first nationally famous African-American athlete, and he was born on this date in 1926. Though he stood only 5-feet-4, the legacy he established in football and track and field at the University of Illinois during the 1940s was immeasurable. Enduring the prejudice of that era, Young was fortunate to have the moral support of his head coach, Ray Eliot. Buddy Young’s career story, by the numbers:

6.1 — His world indoor record-tying time in the 60-yard dash.
8 — Number of siblings he grew up with in Chicago.
13 — Touchdowns Young scored for the Illini in 1944, tying Red Grange’s single-season record.
22 — The jersey number he wore during his years with the Baltimore Colts. He became the first Colts player to have his number retired.
57 — Age when he died (Sept. 4) in an automobile accident in Texas.
66 — The number Young wore at the University of Illinois.
104 — Record number of yards he returned a kickoff for the Colts in a 1953 game.
172 — Pounds Young carried on his 5-foot, 4-inch frame.
1945 — Year he was drafted by the U.S. Navy.
1947 — Year he won Most Valuable Player honors for Illinois in the ’47 Rose Bowl (103 yards on 20 carries, two touchdowns).
1966 — Year he joined the NFL staff as administrative assistant to the commissioner.
5,438 — Number of yards he accumulated as a pro runner and receiver in 10 seasons.

Illini Birthdays
Today: Nathan Zeder, tennis (34)
Monday: David Zeddies, gymnastics (47)
Tuesday: Mike Hebert, volleyball coach (70)
Wednesday: Jeff Allen, football (24)
Thursday: Eric Novak, wrestling (32)
Friday: Lou Henson, basketball coach (82)
Saturday: Travon Bellamy, football (26)

By Mike Pearson, author of Illini Legends, Lists & Lore.
Get Illini birthdays, trivia and historical tidbits daily on Twitter @B1GLLL

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