Ron Widby, 4-sport athlete at Tennessee and Super Bowl champion, dies at 75

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Photo: UTSports.com

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The University of Tennessee Athletics community is mourning the loss of one of the most talented athletes to wear orange and white.

Knoxville-native Ron Widby died Tuesday at the age of 75, the university said in a press release.

Widby is the only man or woman in UT’s modern era to earn varsity letters in four different sports – football, basketball, baseball and golf. He is one of seven Vols who earned eight varsity letters, no athlete has earned more.

The Fulton High School graduate was named an All-American in football in 1966 as a punter. On the basketball court, Widby guided Tennessee to the 1967 SEC Championship, earning the SEC Player of the Year Award and first-team All-American honors along the way.

Widby famously suited up for both the football and basketball teams on Dec. 18, 1967. Tennessee arranged a special flight so he could participate in the Bluebonnet Bowl in Houston and the Gulf South Classic basketball event in Shreveport, Louisiana.

At the conclusion of his three-year basketball career, Widby ranked second on Tennessee’s all-time scoring list with 1,432 career points. The 6-4, 210-pound Widby scored 50 points during an 87-60 home win over LSU at Stokely Athletics Center on March 4, 1967. That stood as UT’s single-game scoring record for nearly 20 years.

He hit for a .300 average with 17 RBIs in 24 in his lone season as a first baseman at Tennessee. He even medaled in the first golf event he played for Tennessee in the spring of 1966 and shot a second-round 75 at the SEC Championships hosted by LSU.

Widby played one season of professional basketball before focusing on football. He spent six seasons in the NFL punting for the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers.

He was selected for the Pro Bowl in 1971 and appeared in two Super Bowls with the Cowboys—winning Super Bowl VI.

Widby has been inducted to the Greater Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame (1990), the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame (1997) and the University of Tennessee Athletics Hall of Fame (2016).

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