Hank Lauricella dies at 83

JEFFERSON, La. -- Hank Lauricella, a former Heisman Trophy runner-up at Tennessee who went on to serve more than three decades as a Louisiana state legislator, has died. He was 83.

Lauricella's wife, Betty, confirmed Wednesday that Lauricella had died Tuesday at Ochsner Medical Center in Jefferson, La.

Lauricella was a single-wing tailback at Tennessee from 1949-51. He finished second to Princeton's Dick Kazmaier in the Heisman Trophy balloting in 1961 while leading Tennessee to a national title.

"He was a gentleman's gentleman with the competitive edge of a Heisman Trophy contender," Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart said in a statement released by the university. "Hank was all Vol and will be missed."

Lauricella earned the nickname "Mr. Everything" at Tennessee, where he played safety, punted and served as Tennessee's main kick and punt returner while also starring at tailback.

Lauricella was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1981.

After his football career, Lauricella returned to his home state of Louisiana. He was a Louisiana state representative from 1964-72 and served on the state senate from 1972-96.

"We are all deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our friend and colleague Hank Lauricella," Louisiana Senate President John Alerio said in a statement. "For decades he worked tirelessly to represent the citizens of Jefferson Parish, first in the Louisiana House of Representatives and then in the Louisiana Senate. He was truly a dedicated public servant and community leader at all levels. He left Louisiana a better place. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, and the Senate shares their loss."

Tennessee football coach Butch Jones opened the Volunteers' post-practice media session Tuesday night by saying "our thoughts and prayers are with the Hank Lauricella family." Jones called Lauricella a "true VFL (Vol For Life) who accomplished everything that you could accomplish at the University of Tennessee. He's what Tennessee and Tennessee football stand for."