FORT WORTH, Texas — NFL Hall of Famer and former Texas A&M great Yale Lary ’52 passed away earlier today in the Metroplex. He was 86 years old.
Lary was born Nov. 24, 1930 in Ft. Worth and attended North Side High School. He played football, basketball, baseball and competed in track and field in his high school career.
At Texas A&M, Lary was a three-year letterman in both football (1949-50-51) and baseball (1950-51-52) and earned his degree in 1952. On the girdiron, he earned All-SWC honors in 1951 as a senior football player. On the diamond, Lary helped the Aggies reach the 1951 College World Series.
In the 1952 NFL Draft, Lary was selected in the third round by the Detroit Lions. Lary would play 11 seasons helping the Lions win three NFL Championships (1952, 1953 and 1957) as a defensive back, punter and return specialist. He missed two seasons (1954-55) due to military service. Lary would also play baseball in the Texas Leagues during the summer breaks.
Lary was named to the NFL 1950s All-Decade team, was a nine-time NFL Pro Bowl selection and led the NFL in punting three times. His career punting average was 44.3, which ranked second in NFL annals at the time behind Sammy Baugh. Lary also recorded 50 interceptions and earned All-NFL honors five times.
Lary was inducted into the Texas A&M Lettermen’s Association Hall of Fame in 1973. He was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, in 1979. He was inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in 1988 and the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 1994.
After his NFL career, Lary was in business in the Fort Worth area and also served two terms in the Texas Legislature.
His wife, Mary Jane Boothe Lary, and children Yale Lary Jr. and Nancy Jane. Yale Jr. was a 1977 Aggie baseball letterman.
Funeral details are pending.
Pro Football Hall of Fame President & CEO David Baker made the following statement regarding Lary’s passing.
“Yale Lary was a true American hero. He was defined by his heart and character that made him one of the game’s greatest players. Yale led by example and raised the level of all his teammates that resulted in multiple league titles for the Detroit Lions. Those same traits were on display during his service to our country as a member of the United States Army.
“Yale Lary lived a life of character that will serve as great inspiration to generations of fans. His legacy will forever be celebrated at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.”