Rice Institute football player Leo Rucka
Black and white photograph of Rice Owls football player Leo Rucka, accompanied by text headlining his achievement and entry into the Rice Athletic Hall of Fame. Caption reads: One of the most famous squads in the history of Rice Owls football was that of the 1953 team and 1996 Hall of Fame inductee LEO RUCKA (class of 1954) was an integral part of that team. As an all-Southwest Conference center in 1953, Rucka saw the Owls put together a 9-2 season, which was capped with a 28-6 win over Alabama in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, the last win for Rice in the famed bowl game. One of three captains on that team, he also had a part in one of the most famous plays in all of college football when back Dicky Maegle was tackled by Alabama reserve Tommy Lewis who sprang off the bench around midfield to stop the Rice running back. The Owls finished the season ranked sixth in both the United Press International and Association of Press polls. Known as the “Quiet Man,” Rucka was characterized as a calm, cool and collected player who always knew his assignment. He was definitely in the minority as a starting linebacker his sophomore season for head coach Jess Neely, who was known for starting his juniors and seniors. An extremely versatile athlete, he made appearances as a linebacker, center, guard, and end during his tenure at Rice. In fact, before signing with Rice, he was selected to play in the Texas High School All-Star game at tackle. Two days after graduation, Rucka was drafted and was attached to the Air Force as an aviation engineer. After leaving the service, Rucka chose to continue his football career, playing in the 1956 season with the San Francisco 49ers and then one-half season with Vancouver in the Canadian league. Following the end of his playing career, Rucka when to work for Rohm Haas in production and worked there until 1993, when he retired. He married his wife Lilian in 1959 and the couple has five children: three sons and two daughters. They also have a total of 10 grandchildren. Rice is proud to honor former all-SWC center Leo Rucka as one of its 1996 inductees in the Hall of Fame.
Rice University Athletic Hall of Fame
Citable link to this pagehttps://hdl.handle.net/1911/64570
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