Howard “Hopalong” Cassady, winner of the 1955 Heisman Trophy as a halfback at Ohio State, died Friday morning at age 85 in Tampa, Florida.
Cassady played from 1952-55, earning All-America honors in his final two seasons. Cassady was part of two Big Ten Championship teams and won a National Championship in 1954 under head coach Woody Hayes. Cassady was just the third Buckeye to win the Heisman Trophy, with a 958-yard, 15-touchdown season in his senior year.
“We’ve lost not only a legendary Buckeye, but also a wonderful person in Hop Cassady,” athletic director Gene Smith said in a university press release. “He was an all-time great Buckeye in every way. We will have the Cassady family in our thoughts and in our prayers.”
His 2,466 career rushing yards were the most in program history at the time, and Cassady is still No. 19 all-time. He was also the leader in all-purpose yardage and scoring after his four seasons at Ohio State.
Cassady was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1979, and the Ohio State Sports Hall of Fame in 1997. His jersey was retired by the Buckeyes in 2000.
The Detroit Lions selected Cassady as a first-round draft pick, and he’d go on to play seven seasons with the organization, capturing an NFL Championship in 1957. Cassady also played a season each with the Philadelphia Eagles and Cleveland Browns.
Playing three years of baseball at Ohio State, Cassady was inducted into the Columbus Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005, and spent more than 40 years working for the New York Yankees organization.
Cassady will be honored at Ohio State’s game against Miami (Ohio) Saturday, according to the release.