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'Crazy Legs' dies at 80

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Crazy Legs', Wisconsin athletics giant, was 80

Associated Press



MADISON, Wis. -- Elroy "Crazy Legs" Hirsch, an NFL Hall of Famer and later the athletic director at the University of Wisconsin, died early Wednesday. He was 80.


Hirsch died of natural causes at an assisted living facility, according to Wisconsin assistant AD Steve Malchow.


He earned his nickname for his running style as a halfback and receiver for the NFL's Los Angeles Rams from 1949-57. Before that, he played for the Chicago Rockets of the All-America Football Conference.


Hirsch became a key part of the Rams' revolutionary "three-end" offense in 1949. His best season was 1951, when he led the NFL with 66 catches, 1,495 yards receiving and 17 touchdowns.


In college, Hirsch starred at Wisconsin for one season, then completed his career at Michigan.


"There has never been a more loved and admired ambassador for Wisconsin sports than Elroy Hirsch," Wisconsin athletic director Pat Richter said.


"His charismatic and charming personality brought smiles to so many Badger fans. He loved life, loved people and loved the Badgers. His passing is a huge loss to the Badger family and our sympathies go to his family at this difficult time."


Hirsch's No. 40 is retired at Wisconsin. In his one season with the Badgers in 1942, he rushed for 786 yards and Wisconsin went 8-1-1.


He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1968 and served as Wisconsin's athletic director from 1969-87.


Hirsch also had a brief movie career. In 1953, Hirsch played himself in the biography "Crazy Legs, All American," and went on to star in the movie "Unchained" in 1955 and "Zero Hour" in 1957.



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