john hadl

John Hadl, who played and excelled on the gridiron from 1959 to 1961 for the Jayhawks, passed away early Wednesday morning. He was 82.

Hadl produced most of his achievements as a halfback and quarterback. He quarterbacked  the Jayhawks' to a win in the 1961 Bluebonnet Bowl to end his career at Kansas. 

Perhaps his most memorable moments from his Jayhawk career were made from other positions. He managed a 94-yard punt, which is still the school record. He was known to execute the quick kick from his quarterback spot.

He also had the record for the longest interception return, with a 98-yard return. That stood until Aqib Talib had a 100-yard interception return at home against Florida International in 2007.

His No. 21 is one of three Jayhawks' to have his number retired along with Gale Sayers’ No. 48 and Ray Evans’ No. 42. 

Hadl’s football career continued into the pro ranks, where he was a six time Pro Bowler. He even managed to be named the NFC Player of the Year in the 1973 season for the San Diego Chargers. 

He was also named the NFL’s Man of the Year in 1971.

Once his career was over in 1977, he returned to his hometown and became a coach for the Jayhawks. During his time, he was an assistant coach and offensive coordinator. The Jayhawks' managed to get to the Hall of Fame Bowl during his tenure.

He then pursued coaching in the NFL and USFL until 1988.

Hadl later became one of the leaders in the mission that the Williams Education Fund pursues. He led fundraising for renovation efforts at the university until he retired from his position in 2018, after 30 years of service. 

Hadl will always be known as a legend at the University of Kansas, not just for his athletic achievements, but for his contribution as a coach, to the Williams Education Fund, and his overall love for the school.