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Notre Dame Football: Ralph Guglielmi Dead at 83

Former All-American, Heisman trophy finalist and Irish starting QB died Monday in Wallace, North Carolina

Ralph Guglielmi
Ralph Guglielmi practices at Grandview Heights High School before starting his career at the University of Notre Dame
Grandview Heights High School

Ralph Guglielmi, who quarterbacked the 1954 Notre Dame Fighting Irish to a 9-1 season and a No. 4 year-end ranking, died Monday at the age of 83.

Quarterback Ralph Guglielmi hands off to Dick James at the Washington Redskins’ training camp at Occidental College in Los Angeles in 1961. Tom Osborne, who would later become Nebraska’s head football coach, is at left.
Amarillo Globe News

Guglielmi (goo-yell-me) started 31 games at quarterback between 1951-1954, including his entire junior and senior seasons. He was a force to be reckoned with through the air (208-for-435, 3,117 yards and 18 touchdowns), on the ground (200 yards, 12 TDs, 5 PATs) and on defense (10 interceptions and one TD).

The former quarterback finished third in the 1954 Heisman Trophy voting, amassing 1,257 yards in total offense . That was sixth best in the NCAA that year. Guglielmi was behind eventual winner, Wisconsin fullback Alan Ameche and runner up, Oklahoma linebacker Kent Burris.

Guglielmi was named MVP of the 1955 College All-Star Team and was the 10th overall pick in the NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins. He would eventually play eight seasons in the NFL with Washington, the St. Louis Cardinals, the New York Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles. He even served in the Air Force for two years after his rookie season.

Guglielmi was inducted in December 2001 into the College Football Hall of Fame, becoming the seventh Irish quarterback to earn that distinction.

Guglielmi’s place in the Irish record books:

  • Third in winning percentage as a starter (.871, or 26-3-2)
  • Third in passing yards per completion in a season (17.06 in 1954)
  • Fourth in consecutive games completing a pass (34)

Guglielmi, who earned a degree in sociology from Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters, was the general manager of a car dealership after his playing career ended.