College Hall of Famer, UK great Vito 'Babe' Parilli passes away

  • College Hall of Famer, UK great Vito 'Babe' Parilli passes away

College Hall of Famer, UK great Vito 'Babe' Parilli passes away

Parilli came to United Kingdom from Rochester, Pa., recruited to Lexington by Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant.

Parilli started as a sophomore in 1949, as Kentucky went 9-3, including wins over LSU, Ole Miss, Georgia and Florida.

Kentucky finished No. 7 in both the final Associated Press and United Press polls, although the final polls were selected before the bowl games were played.

During the regular season, Parilli, wearing the No. 15 uniform that he sported with the Pats, completed 29 of 55 passes for 401 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions for the Jets. He was fourth in the Heisman Trophy balloting as a junior and third as a senior. Parilli held the franchise mark for most touchdown passes in a season (31 in 1964) until 2007 when Tom Brady threw 50 scores. He was inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame in 1993.

The Green Bay Packers selected Parilli with the fourth overall pick in the 1952 National Football League draft.

His death was announced by the New England Patriots organization, where Parilli played in 94 games from 1961-67. Namath would later return and cap off one of the greatest upsets in National Football League history. Parilli's playing career ended with the Jets, where he won a ring as Joe Namath's backup in Super Bowl III.

He was voted to three AFL All-Star games (1963-64 and 1966) and earned the AFL's Comeback Player of the Year Award in 1966. He later coached six different Arena Football League teams.

While at Kentucky under Bryant, Parilli took United Kingdom football to new heights, including trips to three major bowls (Orange, Sugar and Cotton).