ATHENS, Ga. — Georgia’s Charley Trippi, a member of both the pro and college football halls of fame, celebrated his 100th birthday at his Athens home on Tuesday.
Trippi was surrounded by family and friends, including his wife, Peggy; his daughter, Brenda Fleeman; his grandson, Clint Watson; Lenn Chandler of the National Football Foundation; and Bulldogs head coach Kirby Smart.
“Was I impressed to see him blow out all the candles?” Smart asked. “Being such a great second-effort athlete, he wouldn’t stop until he blew them all out. I was really overwhelmed. He was perhaps the greatest all-around football player on our campus. Many historians and observers have said that. And from reading about him, I understand why.”
Trippi was born Dec. 14, 1921, in Pittston, Pa. Playing for the Bulldogs around World War II in 1942, 1945, and 1946, he won the Maxwell Award as the nation’s top all-around player, was chosen as the SEC Player of the Year, and helped Georgia win a national championship. He also played and coached for the Georgia baseball team.
“He is proud to be a Bulldog,” Smart said. “His legacy, like that of so many of the great players who have come through here, has enabled us to develop one of the great traditions in college football.”
Trippi was the first overall draft pick of the NFL’s Chicago Cardinals and he accumulated more than 7,000 total yards and accounted for 50 touchdowns. He lined up as a quarterback, halfback, defensive back, punter, and return specialist as a Cardinal. He won an NFL championship with Chicago and was selected as a member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1940s. Trippi later coached for Chicago as well.
Trippi was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1959. the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 1965, and the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in 1968.