American Football Database
American Football Database
Larry Libertore
Libertore running on Florida State.
Florida GatorsNo. 14
Quarterback / Halfback Graduate (B.S., 1963)
Major: Physical education
Date of birth: (1939-11-18)November 18, 1939
Place of birth: Canton, Ohio, U.S.
Career history
High school: Miami Edison
*Florida (1960–1962)
Bowl games
*Gator Bowl (1960, 1962)
Career highlights and awards
*University of Florida Athletics Hall of Fame
  • Second-team All-SEC (1960)
  • Gator Bowl MVP (1960)

Lawrence Paul "Lightning" Libertore Jr. (November 18, 1939 – December 25, 2017) was an American college football player and later Lakeland, Florida, real-estate agent as well as a Florida state legislator.[1]

Early years

Libertore was born on November 18, 1939, in Canton, Ohio, to Lawrence Paul Libertore Sr. and Jean Maggiore Libertore. He is the eldest of three children. His siblings are Douglas Libertore and Lana Jacobs Swartzwelder.[2]

His family moved to Miami, Florida, when he was in ninth grade.[3] Libertore played football at Miami Edison High School.[4] At Miami Edison High, Libertore was recruited with a football scholarship to attend the University of Florida.[5][4]

University of Florida

At the University of Florida, Libertore was a Sigma Nu fraternity member.[5] On coach Ray Graves Florida Gators football team, Libertore was an option quarterback and defensive back. Libertore was a small player at just 138 pounds.[6] As Libertore once recalled, "They always had trouble getting equipment to fit me."[7] In his first game against George Washington, he used tape to keep his pants from falling down.[7]

But he was fast. Libertore's 786 rushing yards remained the most by a Gators quarterback until eclipsed by Tim Tebow in 2007. Libertore was inducted into the University of Florida Athletics Hall of Fame as a "Gator Great" in 2005.[8]

Libertore led the Gators to a record 9 wins in 1960, placing second among the twelve SEC teams—their best-ever SEC finish at that time. In Libertore's first ever game as a sophomore, at Tiger Stadium, Libertore made a criss-crossing 66-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage to help lead the Gators to a 13–10 victory over LSU.[9][10] The Gators offense stalled after Libertore's run, and the defense stole the LSU quarterback's wristband and studied it at halftime.[11] In the 18–17 upset of Bobby Dodd's tenth-ranked Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, the Gators, led by Libertore, drop-back passer Bobby Dodd Jr., and running back Lindy Infante, gambled on a successful two-point conversion for the last-minute win.[4][12] A pass from Libertore to fullback Jon MacBeth won the game.[4] Libertore also led the Gators to a win over Fran Tarkenton and the Georgia Bulldogs.[4][13] The season closed with a hard-fought 13–12 victory over the twelfth-ranked Baylor Bears in the Gator Bowl on New Year's Eve 1960. Baylor dropped a pass for the two-point conversion and the win. Libertore was the game's MVP.[14]

File:Larry Libertore Florida State Representative 1972.jpg

Libertore in 1972

In 1962, Libertore hurt his knee in a loss to Georgia Tech, and did not play quarterback again.[15] Libertore helped the Gators to defeat Penn State alongside Larry Dupree in the 1962 Gator Bowl from the halfback position.[16]

Political career

Libertore served in the Florida House of Representatives from 1970 to 1974 from District 51. He was a Democrat.[17][18] He served as a County Commissioner of Polk County from 1984 to 1992 and served as chairman of the county commission.[19]

Personal life

After graduating from the University of Florida, Libertore moved to Lakeland, Florida where he received his real estate license. He married Marla Deniece Jones[5] and had three children: Lisa, Christy, and Larry III.[5]

Libertore died on December 25, 2017, in Lakeland, Florida, at the age of 78, following a brief illness.[20]

See also


  1. Avie Schneider (August 26, 1984). "Libertore Challenges Taylor". Lakeland Ledger: p. 6.,4774803&hl=en.
  2. "Lawrence Libertore, 86". Lakeland Ledger: p. B4. August 10, 1999.,8299131&hl=en.
  3. Mike Cobb (November 1, 1982). "UF Football led Libertore to Lakeland". Lakeland Ledger: p. 1.,4020&hl=en.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 "New Class gets Hall pass tonight". Gainesville Sun. February 18, 2005. p. 3C.,4267096&hl=en.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 "Jones-Libertore". The Orlando Sentinel: p. 68. May 15, 1966. Retrieved November 17, 2017. open access
  6. Ralph Warner (September 17, 1961). "The little man who's always there". The Post-Standard: p. 35. Retrieved September 27, 2015. open access
  7. 7.0 7.1 Golenbock 2002, p. 133
  8. Ted Beck (February 18, 2005). "Libertore to Be Inducted In Gators' Hall of Fame".
  9. Golenbock 2002, p. 140
  10. Robbie Andreu. "No. 83 – Larry Libertore".
  11. Nash, Bruce; Zullo, Allan (September 1, 1990). "Football Hall of Shame 2". Simon and Schuster.
  12. Noel Nash, ed., The Gainesville Sun Presents The Greatest Moments in Florida Gators Football, Sports Publishing, Inc., Champaign, Illinois, pp. 24–26 (1998).
  13. Golenbock 2002, p. 144
  14. Golenbock 2002, p. 146
  15. Golenbock 2002, p. 160
  16. "The Greatest Moments of Florida Gators Football".
  17. Members of the Florida House of Representatives 1967–2001
  18. "State Archives of Florida".
  19. Lawrence Paul Libertore-obituary
  20. Political leader, developer, Gator QB Libertore dies at 78

Further reading

  • Golenbock, Peter (2002). Go Gators! An Oral History of Florida's Pursuit of Gridiron Glory. St. Petersburg, Florida: Legends Publishing, LLC. ISBN 0-9650782-1-3.