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Football legend Eddie LeBaron Jr. '50, has died at 85

Apr 1, 2015

Edward "Eddie" LeBaron Jr. '50, a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, war hero, NFL football star and successful attorney, died early April 1, 2015, in Stockton, California.

LeBaron, three-time collegiate All-American at College of the Pacific, now known as University of the Pacific, was 85.

"The Pacific family will miss Eddie LeBaron dearly, but he will remain in our hearts and memories forever," said Pacific's Director of Athletics Ted Leland. "He led then-College of the Pacific to national prominence in football and brought great honor and recognition to the university throughout his life and especially during his distinguished college and pro football career as a player and administrator. He was a decorated U.S. Marine officer during his service in the Korean War and a prominent lawyer in Northern California.

"Here's to the Greatest Tiger of Them All," added Leland, referring to LeBaron's nickname and the university mascot.

LeBaron played for legendary college coach Amos Alonzo Stagg and later led the team to an undefeated season in 1949 under coach Larry Siemering. He was the first Tiger to have his number retired. LeBaron earned a BA degree in economics in 1950 and afterward was a lieutenant in the U.S. Marines during the Korean War. He was in Korea for nine months and was wounded twice. He was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star for heroism and later taught at the Marine Base in Quantico until his discharge in 1952.

LeBaron, who stood 5 feet 7 inches, then played quarterback in the National Football League, first for the Washington Redskins from 1952 to 1959 and the Dallas Cowboys from 1960 to 1963. LaBaron earned his law degree in 1959 in just three years while playing football and graduated sixth in his class. He was selected to play in four Pro Bowls and was the leading NFL passer in 1958. He continued his career in the NFL as the general manager for the Atlanta Falcons from 1977 to 1982, was the team's executive vice president and chief operating officer from 1982 to 1985, and was named the league's Executive of the Year in 1980. He also served on the NFL's Competition Committee.

He later had a successful career as an attorney and practiced law in Texas, Nevada and Georgia, and also passed the bar for the District of Columbia. He returned to California in 1988 to practice law as a partner at Pillsbury, Madison and Sutro in Sacramento before retiring in 1997.

As a student at College of the Pacific, he was a member of the Omega Phi Alpha fraternity and played on both the football and baseball teams. He was also a member of the Blue Key Honor Society. He was lauded as the best quarterback to come out of University of the Pacific.

LeBaron was also inducted in the Pacific Athletic Hall of Fame, and in 1962 received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Pacific Alumni Association. In 2006, he was recognized by Pacific Athletics with the Amos Alonzo Stagg Award of Honor which "recognizes alumni who participated in athletics at Pacific and achieved distinction in their professional lives through the notable examples of integrity, dedication, idealism, and team spirit that Mr. Stagg personified and to which Pacific is dedicated."

In 2004, he received the Robert T. Monagan Award for Distinguished Service from Pacific's Omega Phi Alpha Chapter of the Delta Upsilon Fraternity Alumni Corporation. In 2004, LeBaron became the first Central Valley sports figure to be inducted into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame. He has also been recognized in the College Football Hall of Fame. In 1991, LeBaron received the Babe Hollingbery Medal, which is presented to an alumnus of the East-West Shrine Game who has "distinguished himself in life."

LeBaron was married to his wife Doralee in 1954 and the couple had three sons: Edward "Wayne" III, Richard and William; five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

View a photo gallery of Eddie LeBaron here.

Visit our newsroom to see this and other news from University of the Pacific: http://www.go.pacific.edu/news.

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