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Tommy Hudspeth, godfather of BYU football, passes at 83

News is spreading of the passing of a BYU football great.

This stadium bears the name it does in part to Tommy Hudspeth.
This stadium bears the name it does in part to Tommy Hudspeth.
George Frey/Getty Images

Tommy Hudspeth, BYU head football coach from 1964-71, has passed away today. News of his passing spread after his daughter shared the news on Twitter.

We extend our condolences to the Hudspeth family and the BYU and Tulsa football communities who stayed close with Hudspeth.

If LaVell Edwards is the father of BYU football, Hudspeth is its godfather. Hudpseth was credited with first making BYU football into a competitive program and implementing a passing game that would lay the ground work for the record-breaking offenses to come.

In 1966, Hudspeth led the Cougars to an 8-2 mark with quarterback Virgil Carter throwing for 2,182 yards and rushing for 363 more. It was BYU's best mark since its 8-1 total all the way back in 1932. Carter's passing total ranked third nationally, and 170 more yards than Heisman winner Steve Spurrier.

1966 was the high-water mark for Hudspeth at BYU. There were ups and downs, but he did coach two more 6-4 teams to go along with the 1965 WAC championship team. After the 1971 season, Hudspeth resigned and recommended assistant coach Edwards to take his place.

Hudspeth is also credited for recruiting the first African-American football player to BYU.

In addition to college coaching stops at Tulsa (before BYU) ad UTEP (after), Hudspeth was a head coach in the World Football League and Canadian Football League, and coached the Detroit Lions for 24 games in 1976-77. The Lions were 11-13 in his tenure.

While staying in contact with BYU, Hudspeth was active at Tulsa, his alma mater, in many official and unofficial roles for the better part of the last two decades.

I think I speak for most BYU fans in saying thanks to Hudspeth for his improvement of BYU football and again expressing condolences to his family.