Syracuse football bringing No. 44 out of retirement

Save Story

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Syracuse is bringing back the football team's famed No. 44.

The school made the announcement on Tuesday at a groundbreaking ceremony for Plaza 44, which will be constructed adjacent to the new Ensley Athletic Center. The plaza will honor the great trio of running backs who wore the number and helped make it one of the most recognizable numbers in college football — Jim Brown, Ernie Davis and Floyd Little.

Statues of Brown, Davis and Little, all of them members of the College Football Hall of Fame, will be placed in the plaza, which is expected to be completed by the start of next season.

Since 1954, 11 players have worn 44 at Syracuse, none since the number was retired in 2005 and placed on permanent display inside the Carrier Dome.

Syracuse developed a tradition in which the number was passed down to a promising player. None matched the accomplishments of the honored trio.

Brown played for the Orange from 1954-56 and led the team to a berth in the Cotton Bowl before becoming an NFL star with the Cleveland Browns. Davis led Syracuse to its lone national championship in 1959 and two years later became the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy. Little is the school's only three-time All-American, from 1964-66.

"This is very special. I truly appreciate it," said Little, now a special assistant in the athletic department at his alma mater. "Wearing the No. 44 was magical. You always challenged yourself to live up to the standards, the greatness."

A small committee will be formed to decide who gets to wear the number, and that group will include Little.

The last member of the Orange to wear 44 was fullback Rob Konrad in 1998. In all, 25 players have worn the number at Syracuse.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Most recent National Sports stories

Related topics

CollegeNational Sports


    From first downs to buzzer beaters, get’s top sports stories delivered to your inbox weekly.
    By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

    KSL Weather Forecast