GREENWICH, CONNECTICUT—Former USC All-American and Hall of Fame inductee, Frank Gifford, died Sunday, August 9, in Greenwich, Connecticut, of natural causes.
Gifford, 84, graduated from USC in 1952 and then played 12 seasons for the New York Giants in the NFL. After retiring as a player, he was an Emmy Award-winning sportscaster on Monday Night Football.
In 1975, Gifford was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame and two years later, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The Santa Monica native is also a member of the 1994 inaugural class of USC’s Athletic Hall of Fame.
He was a standout at Bakersfield High and Bakersfield Junior College before earning a scholarship to play football for USC. He lettered for three seasons, 1949 to 1951. He was Troy’s leading rusher and scorer in his 1951 All-American and All-Conference season. He rushed for 841 yards on 195 carries that year.
Gifford served as the Trojans’ placekicker, making 25 of 31 extra points in 1949. He also led USC in scoring and interceptions in 1950 and in total offense in 1951.
In New York, Gifford played offense and defense, earning eight Pro Bowl appearances and five trips to the NFL Championship Game. Gifford’s biggest season may have been 1956, when he won the league’s Most Valuable Player Award and led the Giants to the NFL title over the Chicago Bears.
During his 12 seasons with the Giants, from 1952-60 and again from 1962-64, Gifford played in 136 regular season games. He finished his career with 3,609 rushing yards and 34 touchdowns in 840 carries. As a receiver, he had 367 receptions for 5,434 yards and 43 touchdowns.
After retirement, Gifford had a ton of success behind the camera as a play-by-play announcer for the NFL. His name became synonymous with Monday Night Football, usually alongside Howard Cosell and Don Meredith in the booth for 27 years.
He also covered the Olympics for ABC and was a guest host on occasion for Good Morning America, including once when he met his wife Kathie Lee.
Gifford is survived by his wife and five children: Jeff, Kyle, Victoria, Cody and Cassidy, as well as five grandchildren. Cody was a walk-on wide receiver at USC in 2011.
Very few people are blessed enough to call their father a legend, and an even smaller number are able to share that notion with the rest of the world. Today of all days I can genuinely say I am humbled by the outpour of love and support my family has received. Yesterday, I lost my best friend… His kindness was infectious, and his grace, beyond compare .. And despite the worldly passing of an incredible man, I undoubtedly know heaven gained one stud of an angel. Philippians 4:13 has never rung so true.. You were an unparalleled Giant in all sense of the word, Dad.. So keep doin' you up there, because no one does it better, and no one ever will.
Taking to Instagram on Monday, Cassidy, 22, told her followers: “Very few people are blessed enough to call their father a legend, and an even smaller number are able to share that notion with the rest of the world.”
She added: “Yesterday, I lost my best friend… His kindness was infectious, and his grace, beyond compare .. And despite the worldly passing of an incredible man, I undoubtedly know heaven gained one stud of an angel.”