HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM/Gray News) – Pro Football Hall of Famer and legendary University of Southern Mississippi punter Ray Guy has died.
WDAM reported Guy died Thursday morning following a lengthy illness, according to Southern Miss Athletics. He was 72 years old.
“The Southern Miss family mourns today following the passing of Golden Eagle great Ray Guy, who died Thursday morning following a lengthy illness,” said Southern Miss Athletics in a statement.
The six-time All-Pro and seven-time Pro Bowler played in all 207 games during his career from 1973-1986, with all of them being a member of the Raiders while they were in Oakland and Los Angeles. He appeared in three Super Bowls, XI, XV and XVII, winning them all, which still stands as the most victories by a punter in league history.
A Thomson, Ga., native, Guy played punter, as well as defensive back, for the Golden Eagles from 1968-1972 before being drafted by the then Oakland Raiders in 1973 as the first punter to ever be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft.
Guy holds the Raiders record for most career punts (1,049) and led the league three times in gross punt average, along with having 210 punts inside the 20-yard line (not counting his first three seasons where the NFL did not track the stat), with just 128 touchbacks. He finished his career with a streak of 619 consecutive punts without a block.
The late John Madden, who coached Guy on the Raiders, once called him “the best punter I’ve ever known.”
“When we first drafted him, it was a heck of a choice. I thought then he could be the greatest in the league, but I changed my mind. I think Ray proved he’s the best of all time,” Madden said.
After his playing career, Guy worked at University of Southern Mississippi as the director of the M-Club and community relations, and later as part of the USM Alumni Association,
In 2000, The Augusta (Ga.) Sports Council named an award in Guy’s honor to reward the top punter in college football each year.
Following his hall of fame enshrinement, USM dedicated the street in front of its athletic building, The Duff Athletic Center, to Ray Guy Way in the summer of 2015.
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