Purdue University football gold standard Leroy Keyes dies at age 74

Two-time consensus all-American running back and one of the greatest footballers in Purdue University’s history, Leroy Keys, died Thursday. He was 74 years old.

The family died in a statement at their home in West Lafayette, Indiana, surrounded by their wives and children.

Keys recently suffered from congestive heart failure and a recurrence of cancer and was in poor health. He had previously had prostate cancer.

Keys was third in the 1967 Heisman Trophy vote and was OJ Simpson’s runner-up in 1968. But he wasn’t the only star of Purdue. He handled running backs, defensive backs, kickoff returners, and kickoff duties.

“This morning we lost our best friend and football brother Leroy Keyes. Former boilermaker and NFL quarterback Mark Harman wrote on Twitter: Purdue Fans of Heaven: You can join the army of friends and friends and say “Give the ball to Leroy!” Again.


The Philadelphia Eagles drafted Keys in 1969 with a third overall pick after completing his school career leader career with touchdowns (37), points (222), and multipurpose yards (3,757). .. Five seasons. He then spent 16 years as an expert in the elimination of racial discrimination in the Philadelphia School District.

But when he returned to Purdue, Keys became a man. The stars of all future boilermakers..

In 1987, when the program reached its 100th season, Keys was selected as the largest player of boiler makers. Some of his records have stood for decades. Others still do.

Keys’ average of 6.6 yards per 1967 carry and 5.88 across his career is still above the Padu chart. So is his total of 19 touchdowns in 1967 when he was nominated as a Big Ten MVP. In 1968, he became the first Purdue player to break through the 1,000-yard rush mark.


Keys played only three college seasons from 1966 to 1968, but in terms of total touchdowns, he was third on the boilermaker list, fifth on the TD rush (29), sixth on points, and ninth on the general-purpose yard. , 11th in rushing. Yard (2,094). He even threw eight TD passes during his career, and the 1,870 all-purpose yard he edited in 1967 was a 40-year school record.

“I really enjoyed spending years with Leroy and thanking him for the kindness he showed me,” football coach Jeff Brohm said on Twitter. “Our entire program is grateful for the foundation he helped build and the examples he set.”

But he wasn’t just a star in the field.

“Leroy was a two-way player in the most important way-a great athlete and a great person,” said Mitchell Elias, president of Purdue University. “You have never seen him without a smile on his face. Today, all boilermakers have lost good friends.”


The player, nicknamed “The Golden Mr. Do-Everything,” played for four seasons at the Eagles before ending his career at Kansas City Chiefs in 1973.

He returned to campus in 1995 as a running back coach for Jim Colletto’s staff. Two seasons later, the late Joe Tiller made Keys a program management assistant. He started working at the John Purdue Club in 2000 and stayed there until he retired in 2011.

Keys was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1994 and attended Purdue University’s first Athletic Hall of Fame class in 1994.

“Leroy was the icon of a true boilermaker,” said athletic director Mike Bobinski. “He will be missed even more because he has had a positive impact on many in the course of his life, not just as a legendary player.”

Keys was born in Newport News, Virginia, and has survived his wife Monica and her children Raymond, Jacqueline, Courtland, and Colin.


The family said a “celebration” of his life was planned.


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Purdue University football gold standard Leroy Keyes dies at age 74

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