Thursday, June 12, 2008

Bulldog Great Passes Away

ATHENS, Ga. – Former University of Georgia All-America quarterback John Rauch, who started every game for the Bulldogs from 1945-48, passed away in his sleep on Tuesday at his Oldsmar, Fla., home. He was 80.

After accepting an invitation from Coach Wallace Butts to come out for football, Rauch started every game (45 in all) of his college career from 1945-48 and became the first player in NCAA history to start four consecutive bowl games.

He passed for 4,044 yards, then the NCAA record for career passing yardage.

Rauch led the Bulldogs to a 36-8-1 record, including the Williamson poll's national championship in 1946 and two SEC titles.

He was an All-American and the SEC Player of the Year his senior season.

Rauch was the No. 1 player taken in the 1949 NFL draft by the Detroit Lions and he went on to a four-year playing career.

Rauch then entered the coaching ranks, serving several schools, including Georgia from 1955-58, as an assistant coach.

Rauch returned to the NFL as an assistant for the Oakland Raiders under Al Davis in 1963 and was promoted to head coach in 1966.

He guided the Raiders for three seasons, compiling 33 victories and leading them to Super Bowl II.

Rauch also was the head coach of the Buffalo Bills in 1969, O.J. Simpson's rookie year.

Rauch was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2004. He also was chosen for the Georgia-Florida Hall of Fame in 2000 and Georgia’s Circle of Honor in 2001.

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