Big Blue Nation lost a football legend on Monday when Sam Ball passed away at the age of 79. Ball is a member of the UK Athletics Hall of Fame, has his jersey retired, and was an All-American during the 1965 season.
The UK legend was drafted 15th overall by the Baltimore Colts, where he played five seasons. He was a part of their NFL championship team in 1968 and their Super Bowl championship team in 1970.
After his playing career, Ball returned to his hometown of Henderson, where he built a career in agriculture. He managed his own family farm while also working in Ag sales.
UK Director of Athletics Mitch Barnhart had the following to say in memory of Ball.
“Sam Ball was unique, on and off the football field, with a larger-than-life personality who enriched the lives of everyone he knew. Sam’s football accomplishments speak for themselves. After his playing days, he continued to be an active Wildcat, supporting the UK Alumni Association and attending games for as many years as he was physically able. In addition, Sam never met a stranger and had a big heart for people, evidenced by his numerous community service activities throughout his life. He will be missed deeply in the Henderson and UK Athletics communities and our deepest condolences are with his family and friends.”
Our prayers go out to Ball’s family and friends during this time.
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A great night indeed.
In addition to being a retired jersey honoree at UK, Ball also is a member of the UK Athletics Hall of Fame. He also was elected to the (state of) Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame in 2018.
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