USC’s first All-American recounts life in football
Lou Sossamon, the first Associated Press football All-American in University of South Carolina history, died early Monday morning at the age of 97, his daughter Kit Smith told The State.
“I would say in the last six weeks we had seen a marked decline, but until then, he was as spry and charming as every and receiving visitors,” said Smith, who added her father died of “natural causes.”
“Basically of playing too much football,” she said.
Sossamon was the president of the student body at USC and went on to serve in the Navy in World War II and serve four terms on the USC board of trustees. The Gaffney native played center and linebacker for head coach Rex Enright from 1940-42 and was named to the AP All-America team in 1942.
Sossamon was selected by Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL draft but ended up signing with and playing for the New York Yankees of the All-America Football Conference.
“He had a great life,” his daughter said.
The family is planning on receiving visitors Wednesday at 2 p.m. at the Still Hopes Mansion retirement community and a memorial service at Sossamon’s home church, Limestone Presbyterian in Gaffney, Thursday at 2 p.m.
“He had friends from so many different generations that it was just amazing to me,” Smith said. “I don’t want people to feel like they have to step out of their way (to attend services). He knew he was loved, and he loved back twice as much.”