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Lamar Hunt

From Academic Kids

Lamar Hunt, born August 2, 1932 in El Dorado, Arkansas, is one of the most influential sports promoters in the United States.

The son of oil tycoon H. L. Hunt, Lamar Hunt is a 1956 graduate of The Hill School and Southern Methodist University with a B.S. degree in geology. A college football player and avid sports enthusiast, in 1959 he applied for an National Football League expansion franchise. Refused, Hunt helped organize the American Football League. Lamar Hunt had a dream . . . to bring professional football to Texas and to American markets that had a yearning for the game in places other than the traditional Northeast. In fulfilling that dream, Hunt gave life to the league that contributed considerably to the modern concept of professional football: the American Football League.

Contents

Football

As his head coach of the Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs for the entire ten-year history of the AFL, he chose Hall-of-Famer-to-be Hank Stram. Hunt encouraged, entreated, wheedled, and cajoled seven other like-minded men to form a league that would forever leave its mark on American football. (One of them, fellow Texan Bud Adams of Houston, had likewise tried and failed to be granted an NFL franchise.) Unlike previous pro football competitors to the NFL which had often tried to build around the popularity of a few star players and otherwise fill out rosters with men of minor talents, the AFL had teams with solid-quality professional-level players who for one reason or another had been ignored or released by the teams of the older league. (One reason frequently cited, often behind the scenes, was racism — many AFL stars were players from historically black colleges and universities.) Coaches and owners new to the pro game often brought new ideas, excitement, and color to AFL cities while other pro football towns watched a older league which was often dominated by conservative, ground-oriented play-calling.

Before his team capped off the league's existence with an upset victory over a hugely favored opponent, it was Hunt who approved the ten-year AFL patch they wore, commemorating the ten years of existence of the American Football League. AFL fans appreciate Lamar Hunt for his foresight and perseverance. He became the first American Football League personage to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1972. The trophy presented to each year's AFC Champions is named the Lamar Hunt Trophy in his honor.

He was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 1984, and is a member of the American Football League Hall of Fame.

Tennis

In 1967, Lamar Hunt co-founded the World Championship Tennis circuit, which gave birth to the open era in tennis. He was made a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1993.

Soccer

Lamar Hunt is an avid soccer fan having attended eight of the past nine World Cups. He was instrumental in forming the two most recent important American soccer Leagues: the North American Soccer League (NASL) and Major League Soccer (MLS).

NASL

Hunt was one of the original owners of the NASL, operating the Dallas Tornado starting in 1967. The Dallas Tornado were one of the lead franchises of the NASL. They were crowned champions in 1971 and were runners-up the following 3 years from 1972 to 1974.

MLS

Lamar Hunt was also one of the original founding investors of Major League Soccer in 1996. This time he owned two teams: the Columbus Crew and the Kansas City Wizards. In 1999, Hunt financed the construction of the Columbus Crew Stadium, the first of several large soccer-specific stadiums in the USA. In 2003, Hunt purchased a third team, the Dallas Burn (now F.C. Dallas), after announcing that he would partially finance the construction of their own soccer-specific stadium.

In 2004, Hunt announced that he planned on selling the Kansas City Wizards.

Honors

Basketball

Hunt was one of the founding investors of the Chicago Bulls of the National Basketball Association.

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External links

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