Leo Nomellini

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Leo Nomellini
Leo Nomellini.jpg
No. 73
Position: Tackle
Personal information
Date of birth: (1924-06-19)June 19, 1924
Place of birth: Lucca, Tuscany, Italy
Date of death: October 17, 2000(2000-10-17) (aged 76)
Place of death: Stanford, California
Height: 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight: 259 lb (117 kg)
Career information
High school: Crane (IL)
College: Minnesota
NFL draft: 1950 / Round: 1 / Pick: 11
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
GP / GS: 174 / 166
Fumble recoveries: 13
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR
Leo Nomellini
Allegiance United States United States
Service/branch U.S. Marines seal U.S. Marine Corps
Battles/wars World War II

Leo Joseph Nomellini (June 19, 1924 – October 17, 2000) was a Hall of Fame American football offensive and defensive tackle for the San Francisco 49ers and professional wrestler. He played college football for Minnesota.

Early life[edit]

Nomellini was born at Lucca, Tuscany, Italy, and immigrated to the United States as an infant to Minnesota, before later moving to Chicago, Illinois where he attended Crane High School. After high school, he joined the Marine Corps. It was there that in 1942, he first started playing football.

After the war, he received a football scholarship to the University of Minnesota, where be became a two-time All-American and the 49ers' first-ever NFL draft choice in 1950.[1]

Professional career[edit]

Nomellini was selected in the 1st round (11th overall) of the 1950 NFL draft, the first draft pick in the history of the San Francisco 49ers. As a professional, he appeared in 174 regular-season games and 266 games in total for his 14-year career.

While with the 49ers, he played both offensive and defensive tackle, winning All-Pro honors at both positions. He was selected to the All-NFL team six times, two years on offense, four years on defense. Nomellini was named to the NFL's all-time team as a defensive tackle. In 1969, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and in 1977, the College Football Hall of Fame.

Professional wrestling[edit]

NWA San Francisco[edit]

During the off-season Nomellini often wrestled professionally as Leo "The Lion" Nomellini debuting in Minnesota in 1950. For his career, he was a 10 tag team champion. He won his first tag team championship on March 14, 1952 when he teamed Hombre Montana. The duo defeated Mike Sharpe and Ben Sharpe for the NWA World Tag Team Championship (San Francisco version) . Four months later, Nomelini and Gino Garibaldi won the NWA Pacific Coast Tag Team Championship. In April 1953, Nomellini regained the NWA Pacific Coast Tag Team Championship while teaming with Enrique Torres when they defeated Fred and Ray Atkins. Nomellini and Torres defeated the Mike and Ben Sharpe on May 6, 1953 for the NWA World Tag Team Championship (San Francisco version). On May 11, 1954 Nomellini teamed with Rocky Brown to defeat the Sharpes and win the NWA World Tag Team Championship (San Francisco version). In 1957, Nomellini, again teaming with Torres, defeated Lord James Blears and Ben Sharpe for the NWA World Tag Team Championship (San Francisco version).

While working for the National Wrestling Alliance, Nomellini once defeated Lou Thesz 2/3 falls but was not awarded the NWA title because the first fall was a disqualification.

NWA Minneapolis Wrestling and Boxing Club/American Wrestling Association[edit]

Nomellini would leave NWA San Francisco to head to Minnesota to work for Verne Gagne and the NWA Minneapolis Wrestling and Boxing Club.

On May 15, 1958, Nomellini, teaming with Verne Gange defeated Mike and Doc Gallagher for the NWA World Tag Team Championship (Minneapolis version). He would win the title again on July 14, 1959 while teaming with Butch Levy and defeated Karol and Ivan Kalmikoff. He would win it for the last time on July 19, 1960, once again teaming with Gagne and defeating Stan Kowalski and Tiny Mills.

Nomellini won his final professional wrestling championship on May 23, 1961 when he and Wilbur Snyder defeated Gene Kiniski and Hard Boiled Haggerty for the AWA World Tag Team Championship.

Death[edit]

Nomellini died on October 17, 2000 after suffering a stroke.[2]

In wrestling[edit]

  • Finishing moves
    • Flying tackle

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Leo Nomellini". Italian American Sports Hall of Fame. Retrieved April 12, 2013. 
  2. ^ Sullivan, Pat (October 18, 2000). "Ex-49er Leo `Lion' Nomellini Dies at 76 / Hall of Famer suffered stroke 3 weeks ago". SFGate.com. Retrieved April 18, 2016. 

External links[edit]