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Football legend Charley Trippi celebrates 100th birthday in Athens

Charley Trippi played for UGA around the time of World War II.

ATLANTA — Pro and college football Hall of Famer Charley Trippi celebrated his 100th birthday on Tuesday in Athens.

Trippi played for UGA around the time of World War II. In 1942, 1945, and 1946, he won the Maxwell Award as the nation's all-around top player. 

Other notable accomplishments included being chosen as the SEC's Player of the Year and helping the Bulldogs win a national championship. He also both played for and coached the university's men's basketball team.

"He is proud to be a Bulldog,” UGA Head Coach Kirby Smart said. “His legacy, like that of so many of the great players who have come through here, has enabled us to develop one of the great traditions in college football.”

Smart was in attendance, along with Trippi's family members and Lenn Chandler of the National Football Foundation, to celebrate the football star's momentous birthday.

"Was I impressed to see him blow out all the candles?” Smart asked. “Being such a great second-effort athlete, he wouldn’t stop until he blew them all out. I was really overwhelmed. He was perhaps the greatest all-around football player on our campus. Many historians and observers have said that. And from reading about him, I understand why.”

After his time at UGA, Trippi was the first overall draft pick for the Chicago Cardinals, and accumulated more than 7,000 total yards and accounted for 50 touchdowns with the team. He would also win an NFL championship with Chicago and was selected as a member of the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 1940s. He would later coach there as well.

In 1959, Trippi was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 1965, and the Pro Football Hall of Fame – as well as Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame – in 1968.

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