Pete Elliott Dead: Rose Bowl Coach And Football Hall of Fame Director Was 86

Jan 05, 2013 02:24 PM EST

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Pro Football Hall of Fame
(Photo : Flickr / Matt McGee)

Pete Elliott has died at the age of 86, after previously serving the longest term as Executive Director of the Pro Football's Hall of Fame. He was in the position for almost twenty years before stepping down to serve as a trustee.

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Elliott was born in Bloomington, Ill., and had an illustrious career as a player, beginning as quarterback for the Michigan Wolverines where he earned All-American honors. At Michigan, Elliott helped shut down the University of Southern California 49-0 at the Rose Bowl in 1948. The next year, he led the team all the way to becoming national champions.

As coach, Elliott guided the Illinois Fighting Illini to the Rose Bowl in 1964. He also famously coached the University of California Berkeley team to their last Rose Bowl appearance, spending a total of 3 years with the team. Additionally, he was part of the Oklahoma staff that earned two national championships in the 1950's.

Honored as West Coast Coach of the Year in 1958 and Midwest Coach of the Year in 1963, Elliott finally was given College Football "Hall of Fame" honors in 1994 for his superb contributions to collegiate football. But this was not the end. He also was inducted into the Hall of Fames for the University of Michigan Sports, State of Michigan Sports, and the State of Illinois Basketball.

Hall of Fame President and Executive Director Steve Perry praised Elliot for his service throughout his career:

"Pete was beloved by the entire Pro Football Hall of Fame family, including the staff, board of trustees and the Hall of Fame members. He was a kind and thoughtful person and an inspiration to us all. We are all better for having had him in our lives."

During his tenure at the museum, Elliott managed the selection and honoring of the best athletes to play the sport. His prior experience as both a coach and a player gave him insight into how to better serve the athletes who were inducted into the top honors of football. He directed the expansion of the Hall, at a cost of $9.1 million, which was the most ambitious growth in the institution at that time.

Elliot was the third director in the history of Football's Hall of Fame, and was a widower to his wife, Joan. He is survived by his two sons.



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