Harry Szulborski: 1927-2017
Aug. 5, 2017


WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Harry Szulborski, a former Purdue football player and member of the Purdue Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame, passed away Friday. "The Hurricane" was 90.


A native of Detroit, Szulborski was a four-year starting halfback for the Boilermakers from 1946 to 1949, leaving as the career rushing yards leader with 2,478. That total now ranks seventh. His 5.18 rushing yards per attempt currently ranks eighth, and he is 10th with 478 career rushing attempts. His 3,103 all-purpose yards rank 14th in school annals.

Szulborski, who played in an era of nine-game seasons, amassed 11 100-yard rushing games - including five in 1948 - a total topped only by Mike Alstott (16) and Otis Armstrong (13).

Szulborski led the Big Ten Conference in rushing his sophomore and junior seasons, earning second team and first team all-conference honors. He was an honorable mention All-American both years. He nearly became the first 1,000-yard rusher in school history as a junior, finishing with 989 yards, and was selected Purdue's Most Valuable Player.

"We had a lot of fun at Purdue," Szulborski said in a 2014 interview. "I know I had a great line, and you don't get those yards without good blocking. I don't care how fast you are."

At the conclusion of his Purdue career, Szulborski played in the East-West Shrine Game and the inaugural Senior Bowl. He was selected in the eighth round (No. 95) of the 1950 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers. Injuries curtailed his professional football career.

In 1951, Szulborski began teaching and coaching at Emerson High School in Gary, Indiana, and he retired 39 years later with a Distinguished Service Award for exemplary service from the Gary Community Schools.

Szulborski was inducted into the Indiana Football Hall of Fame in 1996 and the Purdue Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame in 2004.

His Purdue teammates included Hank Stram, John McKay and Abe Gibron, each of whom went on to become head coaches in the NFL; Bob DeMoss, who became head coach at Purdue; Lou Karras, who went on to star in the NFL; and Bill "Moose" Skowron, who went on star in Major League Baseball.

Szulborski, who earned his bachelor's degree in physical education, is survived by his daughter, Katherine (husband Carl Sims); four grandchildren (Harry Sims, Carl Sims, Brian Sims and Rose Sims); and nine great grandchildren (Cole, Hayden, Collin, Sophia, Morgan, Hanna, Adam, Ava and Olivia). He was preceded in death by his wife of 65 years, Katherine.

Visitation is scheduled for Aug. 7 from 2 to 7 p.m. CT at Burns Funeral Home, 10101 Broadway, Crown Point, Indiana. The funeral service is Aug. 8 at 10 a.m. at Holy Spirit Church, 7667 East 109th Ave. Crown Point.
 

 

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