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Maczuzak was two-sport star

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Thursday, June 19, 2014, 12:36 a.m.

Playing professional football, John Maczuzak's career was almost over before it started.

During his first year at Ellsworth High, Maczuzak's dad would not sign a consent form to allow him to play.

Only after John's brother Mike convinced their dad that John would be safe playing did the form get signed and turned in.

The rest, as they say, is history.

A standout in both football and basketball, Maczuzak lettered three years in both sports and was a captain in both during his senior year.

After graduating from Ellsworth High School in 1959, Maczuzak accepted a scholarship to the University of Pittsburgh. He received 27 scholarship offers.

A pioneer as a two-sport star, Maczuzak started for both the Pitt football and basketball teams.

In 1963, the Panthers went 9-1 and were ranked third in both national polls.

A two-way tackle on the football team, Maczuzak was drafted by the NFL's San Francisco 49ers and the AFL's Dallas Texans after his redshirt-junior year, but he remained at Pitt and was signed by the AFL's Kansas City Chiefs.

He played in the Blue-Gray All-Star game in December 1963 in Montgomery, Ala., and was selected to play in the College All-Star game on Aug. 7, 1964, against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field.

A few days later he reported to the Chiefs' training camp and head coach Hank Stram.

He saw plenty of time during the second half of his rookie season at defensive tackle and was invited back in 1965, but Maczuzak decided it was time to move on to a better paying job.

For his rookie year, he received a signing bonus of $8,000 and earned $13,000 for the season.

Maczuzak passed away Dec. 27. His son, John Jr., will accept his dad's award Friday as an inductee into the Mid Mon Valley All Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2014.

“I have always been proud to be his son,” John Jr. said. “Our family is happy to see him be recognized.”

“This would mean a great deal to him,” John Jr. said. “He was so humble.

“Back in the day, he didn't appreciate what he had done but the older he got, the more he realized it.”

Bill Hughes is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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