Former SIU athletic director, Chicago Bears running back Gayle Sayers dies at age 77

By Brooke Buerck, Madison Taylor, Staff Report

Gayle Sayers, former athletic director at SIU from 1976-1981 died at age 77 on Wednesday. 

Sayers played at University of Kansas and professionally for the Chicago Bears.

Sayers died of complications with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease according to The New York Times.


Sayers, originally from Omaha, Neb., was drafted by the Chicago Bears in 1965 and was named All-Pro from 1965-1971 before suffering knee injuries, according to a statement from United Press International in 1981 about Sayers’ leaving SIU. 

“We will also forever remember Gale for his inspiration and kindness. Gale’s quiet unassuming demeanor belied his determination, competitiveness and compassion,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in an NFL Communications press release. 

Sayers “broke or tied eight NFL records and in 1977 was named to the Hall of Fame,” according to United Press International.

“We are saddened to hear about the passing of Gale Sayers. His remarkable life story included five very successful years as the leader of Saluki Athletics. We are proud to have played a part in the career of a true sports legend.” Tom Weber, associate athletics director for communication at SIU said.


Editor Brooke Buerck can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at bbuerck25

Staff reporter Madison Taylor can be reached at  [email protected] or on Twitter @taylorm08.

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