Belle Vernon, Pa. (WATE) – Bert Rechichar crammed a whole lot of living into his 89 years. The legendary Tennessee Athletics alum passed away in him hometown of Belle Vernon, Pa. on Friday, leaving behind, among other things, a lengthy legacy at the University of Tennessee.
In 1951, the defensive back was a captain of the consensus national champion Tennessee football team, while also helping the Vols baseball team reach the College World Series for the first time. He was an All-SEC second team performer in football, and first team All-SEC as an outfielder.
Rechichar was selected 10th overall by the Cleveland Browns in 1952, but won two NFL championships and made three Pro Bowls in seven years with the Baltimore Colts. In 1953, he was summoned to kick the first field goal of his career in the waning moments of a first half. His 56-yard attempt held as the league’s longest for nearly two decades, until Tom Dempsey bettered it with a 63-yarder in 1970.
Rechichar, who suffered from Alzheimer’s, is survived by a son, Donald Rechichar of Belle Vernon, and a daughter, Gail Davis of Cumberland.