Date of birth: May 1, 1930
Place of birth: Trinity, Texas
Date of death: February 19, 2011 (aged 80)
Place of death: Los Angeles, California
: High School San Francisco (CA) Washington
: College San Francisco
: NFL Draft 1952 / Round: 1 / Pick: 3
Debuted in 1952 for the Chicago Cardinals
Last played in 1966 for the Philadelphia Eagles
Career highlights and awards
Pro Football Hall of Fame
College Football Hall of Fame
Ollie Genoa Matson II (May 1, 1930 – February 19, 2011) was an American Olympic medal winning sprinter and professional American football running back who played in the National Football League, in 1952 and from 1954 to 1966. He graduated from George Washington High School in San Francisco in 1948.
College career Edit
Matson attended the
City College of San Francisco prior to transferring to the University of San Francisco. While in school, Matson became a member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity. In 1951, Matson's senior year at USF, he led the nation in rushing yardage and touchdowns en route to leading the Dons to an undefeated season. He was selected as an All-American and finished ninth in Heisman Trophy balloting that year.
Despite its 9-0 record, the 1951 San Francisco team was not invited to a bowl game. It was later reported that the Orange, Sugar and Gator Bowls - all in the
American South - did not consider inviting any teams that had black players, and the USF refused to play without its two African-American teammates. 
Matson was inducted into the
College Football Hall of Fame in 1976.
NFL career Edit Drafted #1 by the Chicago Cardinals, he went on to share 1952 Rookie of the Year honors with Hugh McElhenny of the San Francisco 49ers. During his 14-year career, Matson also played for the Los Angeles Rams (traded by the Cardinals for nine Rams players following the 1958 season), the  Detroit Lions and the Philadelphia Eagles, and he was named to the Pro Bowl six times (1952, 1954-1958). When Matson retired in 1966, his 12,799 career all-purpose yards were second only to Jim Brown.
Matson was inducted to the
Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1972.
Olympic Games Edit
Matson also won a bronze medal in the 400-meter run and a silver medal as part of the United States 4x400-meter relay team in the
1952 Summer Olympics held in Helsinki, Finland.
Personal life Edit
He married his wife Mary, whom he met when both were San Francisco teenagers in the mid-1940s, in 1952. He and Mary lived in the same Los Angeles home from the time he played for the Los Angeles Rams until his death. The site is being nominated as the 'Ollie and Mary Matson Residence', a City of Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument.
In his later years Matson suffered from dementia, which was linked to
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE),a progressive degenerative disease, diagnosed post-mortem in individuals with a history of multiple concussions and other forms of head injury.
On February 19, 2011 Matson died of dementia complications (respiratory failure) surrounded by family at his home in Los Angeles.
Eisenberg, John (2009), That First Season:: How Vince Lombardi Took the Worst Team in the NFL and Set It on the Path to Glory. New York:Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. ISBN ISBN 978-0-618-90499-0
External links Edit
NFL Alumni Order of the Leather Helmet
1978: Pete Rozelle, George Halas, Art Rooney | 1979: Paul Brown, Red Grange, Bronko Nagurski | 1980: Don Shula, Wellington Mara, Dominic Olejniczak, | Pro Football Hall of Fame 1981: Lamar Hunt, Tom Landry | 1982: William Bidwill, Alex Wojciechowicz, Bud Grant | 1983: F. William Harder, LeRoy Neiman | 1985: George P. Marshall, Weeb Ewbank | 1986: Howard Cosell, Vince Lombardi, Vic Maitland | 1987: Ray Scott, Steve Sabol, Ed Sabol, Bert Bell | 1988: Raymond Berry | 1989: Tex Schramm | 1990: Bill Dudley, Ollie Matson, Steve Van Buren | 1991: Hugh McElhenny 1992: Chuck Bednarik, Art Modell | 1993: Elroy Hirsch, Marion Motley | 1994: Sid Luckman, Sammy Baugh | 1995: Otto Graham, Chuck Noll | 1996: Johnny Unitas, Curt Gowdy | 1997: Pat Summerall, Ralph Wilson | 1998: Jim Brown, Al Davis | 1999: Bobby Mitchell, Paul Tagliabue | 2000: Len Dawson, Deacon Jones | 2001: Mike McCormack, Mel Renfro | 2002: Mel Blount, Jim Otto, Jim Tunney | 2003: Tom Flores, Willie Davis | 2004: Dick Vermeil, Val Pinchbeck, Don Weiss | 2005: Larry Wilson, Joe Greene | 2007: Sonny Jurgensen, Jack Youngblood | 2008: Eric Dickerson, John Madden, Alex Spanos