Gold Key winner Floyd Little has passed away
Floyd Little, the Hall of Fame running back with Syracuse University and the Denver Broncos, who grew up in New Haven and attended Hillhouse High, died on Friday, January 1, at the age of 78.
He received a Gold Key from the Connecticut Sports Writers Alliance in 1973.
Little was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, in 2010, the College Football Hall of Fame in 1983 and was a charter member of the Broncos Ring of Fame in 1984.
Little ran for 6,323 yards and 43 touchdowns in nine seasons (1967-75) with the Denver Broncos after being the sixth overall selection in 1967 AFL/NFL draft. He recorded his lone 1,000-yard season in 1971 when he was the NFL rushing champion with 1,133 yards in 14 games. He led the AFL in all-purpose yards in 1967 and 1968.
A member of Syracuse’s all-century team, Little was a three-time All-American at Syracuse (1964-66) and graduated with a program record 2,704 yards.
At Hillhouse, Little led the state in scoring in 1960 with 20 TDs, including 19 on the ground. Hillhouse went 8-1 that fall. Hillhouse’s only defeat in 1960 came in a controversial loss to Notre Dame-West Haven in October, costing Hillhouse the S. Polk Waskowitz Trophy, which was awarded to the No. 1 team in the state at that time, by a committee of sportswriters.
The New Haven Register’s weekly top 10 poll began the next year in 1961.
The athletic center at Hillhouse, which hosts many of the state’s wrestling and indoor track meets championship events each winter along with home games for the Hillhouse sports program, was named in Little’s honor in 2011.
“It’s so special because it’s my home,” Little told the New Haven Register in 2011. “There’s still a lot of Connecticut in me. I became who I am because people in New Haven believed in me. They saw the good in me and helped me, and I hope I can do that same thing for kids in my hometown.”
Graphic courtesy Pro Football Hall of Fame