ATHENS, Ga. - One of the most honored players in University of Georgia football history who went on to win a Super Bowl in the NFL died Thursday night.
University of Georgia All-American, Outland Trophy winner, and College Hall of Fame inductee Bill Stanfill died in his hometown of Albany.
“Bill was probably the greatest athlete as a lineman I ever coached,” said former UGA head coach and director of athletics Vince Dooley. “He could have been a great tight end as well. Against the triple option, he was the only player that could take the quarterback, the dive back, and the pitch man. Bill was a great person, great warrior, and a great Bulldog.”
Born Jan. 13, 1947, the Cairo native followed his stellar college career as one of the NFL’s greatest players as a member of the Miami Dolphins who selected him in the first round of the 1969 NFL draft. In 1969, he was named the AFL Rookie of the Year runner-up and during his career was named All-Pro four times. He was a starter on the 1972 and '73 Miami Dolphin Super Bowl championship teams and set the Dolphins' record for sacks in a career with 67 1/2 and in one season with 18 1/2.
The Dolphins defeated the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl VII after which Redskins quarterback Billy Kilmer said "You can talk about Manny Fernandez, Bob Griese (Greasy), Larry Csonka (Sonka), and Jake Scott. But Bill Stanfill was the hero of Super Bowl Seven."
His Dolphin coach, Don Shula, said that "On the field, he was a fierce competitor. His toughness served as an example to the entire team and was a key reason why he was so respected by teammates and opponents alike.”
His greatest honor came in 1998 when, with his college coach Vince Dooley at his side, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. He was also inducted into the Miami Dolphins Hall of Honor in 2010.
At Cairo High School, he was a three-sport star who excelled in football, basketball and track with achievements unmatched in each. He was named the 1964 Class Double-A Lineman of the Year in the state of Georgia after leading his team to three straight Region championships. He led the 1965 Cairo basketball team to the state championship and was named MVP of the state tournament. He added three state Double-A discus championships and one shot put title to his list of accomplishments.
As a defensive tackle at Georgia, he played on two SEC championship teams in 1966 and '68, played in three bowl games, and in games he started, the Bulldogs were 25-6-2. He was a second team All-American in 1966 and '67 and in 1968 was a consensus All-American becoming Georgia's first and only winner of the Outland Award which goes annually to the nation's outstanding college lineman. He was named the Southeastern Conference Lineman of the Year in 1968 after being named All-SEC first team three straight years. The team elected him as its permanent team captain. Stanfill performed off the field as well earning Academic All-America and Academic All-SEC honors in 1968.
Living in Albany since 1977, Stanfill was successful in private business and active in numerous community activities and organizations. Many more honors came his way since his retirement from the game of football. He was inducted into the UGA Circle of Honor in 2000. He was inducted into the State of Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 1984, named to the 25-Year All-SEC Team from 1961-85, the All-SEC Quarter Century Team from 1950-74, and the 1960's All-SEC team.
Funeral services are scheduled for Monday, Nov. 14, at 2:00 p.m. at First Methodist Church in Albany. Attendees are asked to wear red and black.