Lamar Hunt, the owner of the Kansas City Chiefs died last night. Below is an article from the Kansas City Star. Hunt was an inovator and has made the NFL what it is today. He not only formed the Chiefs in 1963, but he also brought about the merger of the AFL and the NFL. The AFC trophy is named after Hunt. I appreciate his contribution to pro football and the Chiefs orgainzation. He certainly is a legend in the NFL and his memory and legacy will live on.
Chiefs founder, AFL pioneer Lamar Hunt dies
Sports visionary was an innovative businessman who turned daydreams into reality and transformed the face of pro football.
By RANDY COVITZ and KENT PULLIAM
The Kansas City Star
Lamar Hunt was a sportsman. A visionary. An entrepreneur. A gentleman. And a bit of a rebel.
Hunt, founder of the Kansas City Chiefs and one of America’s most innovative and creative sports figures of the past half-century, died about 9:40 p.m. Wednesday at a Dallas hospital of complications from prostate cancer. He was 74.
Hunt’s decision to relocate the Dallas Texans of the fledgling and struggling American Football League and rename them the Kansas City Chiefs in 1963 helped establish the region as a major-league community and ensured big-time sports would continue here for generations to come.
His belief in Kansas City was rewarded by the club’s appearance in two of the first four Super Bowls, with the Chiefs winning the NFL championship in 1970.
“He changed our way of life,” said civic booster Bill Grigsby, a member of the Chiefs broadcast team since their arrival. “Despite the fact it was tough going in the beginning, he hung in there and has done so much for Kansas City.
“He has given the people here something to hang on to and enjoy. Our life would not be the same without that man.”
Hunt was stricken with prostate cancer in September 1998 and underwent a series of chemotherapy treatments. In October 2003 he had surgery to remove the prostate gland.
“We are very grateful for the thoughts and prayers we have received over the last few weeks and we ask that our privacy be respected in this difficult time,” said Clark Hunt, one of Lamar Hunt’s four children and Chiefs chairman of the board.
“Information on memorial services will be forthcoming. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorials be made to the Dallas Museum of Art and the Heart of a Champion Foundation.”
Hunt was one of the creators of the AFL in 1959 and was a principal negotiator in the merger of the AFL and NFL in 1966. He was credited with coining the term “Super Bowl” for what’s turned out to be the country’s most-watched sporting event, with the name coming from his children’s toy “Super Ball.”
Hunt also was a driving force in the creation of the Truman Sports Complex. The twin-stadium idea of Arrowhead Stadium, completed in 1972, and Royals Stadium in 1973 was years ahead of its time and later replicated by other cities. Hunt, in concert with the Royals, spearheaded a public initiative during 2006 in which Jackson County taxpayers approved a 3/8 -cent sales tax to help raise $575 million for renovations of Arrowhead and Kauffman stadiums that will begin in 2007.
However, he was disappointed in the failure of a second initiative of $202 million that would have financed a rolling roof and fulfilled Hunt’s dream of nearly 40 years ago, when the stadium complex was designed, of bringing a Super Bowl to Kansas City.
“I would hope the dream of the rolling roof and the Super Bowl for Kansas City can be kept alive,” Hunt said at the time.
Fred Arbanas, a Chiefs Hall of Fame tight end and now a Jackson County legislator, not only played nine seasons for Hunt, but also worked with him on pushing through the stadium renovations and said Hunt never lost his humble nature.
“He was a real gentleman and a tribute to the game,” Arbanas said. “A lot of owners have been boisterous and arrogant. You never saw Lamar that way. All the trips we took on airplanes, Lamar would be helping serve food to the players, bringing them drinks and picking up the trash. He just pitched in. …
“He’s not going to be forgotten. He’s done too much for this community. The community has put out a lot of money for his football team, too, but he also took a big chance and spent a lot of money in this community.”
Hunt not only made Arrowhead Stadium a showplace for NFL games, but also was at the forefront in bringing big-time college football to Kansas City. Arrowhead has been the site for 16 college games since 1972, including four Big 12 Conference championship games and several interconference matchups such as Kansas State-California and Florida State-Iowa State.
“In so many ways, Lamar Hunt made our city major league,” said Kevin Gray, president of the Kansas City Sports Commission. “He took a gamble in bringing his team to Kansas City, and the overwhelming admiration that people have for him is remarkable.
“We take many things for granted, and we have been so blessed to have not only the finest owner in professional sports, but unquestionably one of the classiest individuals I have ever had the pleasure to know in this business.”
Clark Hunt, 41, will oversee the family’s sports interests.
Although Hunt never lived in Kansas City, he contributed significantly to the area’s economy. Hunt, as chairman of Dallas-based Unity Hunt Inc., a large, diversified private company, also owned Hunt Midwest Enterprises, located within an underground business complex in Kansas City.
Hunt Midwest Enterprises developed two multimillion-dollar recreational theme parks in Kansas City: Worlds of Fun and Oceans of Fun. Both parks were sold in 1995. Hunt Midwest also is the key corporation in the development of the Kansas City International Foreign Trade Zone and owns a limestone rock mining company.
“He was not just a Dallas Texan,” Grigsby said. “He’s a Kansas Citian. He left his legacy here.”
Also logon to www.kcchiefs.com for pictures, video and articles on Lamar Hunt.