An all-time American football legend has gone away with Paul Hornung, Notre Dame’s Golden Boy, dead aged 84. 

Hornung was a high school star in Louisville, Kentucky, lettering all four years in each of the American Big Three: Football, Basketball, and Baseball. One of the mega recruits of his era, Hornung picked South Bend and the lore of the Fighting Irish over a young head coach called Bear Bryant and his fledgling Kentucky Wildcats program.

At Notre Dame from 1953 through 1956, Hornung played under head coach Terry Brennan during an up and down era of Irish football.

In his senior season, Hornung became a do-everything quarterback for Notre Dame, battling for his team as a rusher, passer, kicker, and even blocker. He was an individual monster, finishing second nationally in total yards and leading the Irish in every meaningful offensive category, but the team finished 2-8.

At the end of the season, Hornung was awarded the Heisman Trophy in a somewhat controversial vote that many said was unduly influenced by the stature and bias created by the mythos surrounding Notre Dame football.

Hornung beat out both Johnny Majors of Tennessee and Syracuse’s beastly Jim Brown, a running back many considered the best in the show. Hornung remains the only player from a team with a losing record ever given the award.

Hornung went on to a legendary professional career as a big-game star, winning four NFL titles and the first Super Bowl with the Packers under head coach Vince Lombardi. 

The Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton released a statement on Hornung’s passing:

“The entire Pro Football Hall of Fame family mourns the passing of Paul Hornung. He was an outstanding player and an incredible man. Known as “The Golden Boy,” Paul was above all a leader to whom the Packers looked for the big plays in the big games – especially during the team’s dynasty years under Coach Vince Lombardi in the 1960s.”