Auburn Great Sidle Dies

Former Auburn All-America Jimmy Sidle, who in 1963 became the first quarterback to lead the nation in rushing, died Sunday in a Montgomery hospital. He was 57.

Sidle had heart problems for several years. He died of heart failure Sunday morning after being hospitalized last Thursday with pneumonia, former teammate Mike Alford said.

Alford, Sidle's center and college roommate, said he underwent quadruple bypass surgery about five years ago and his heart had only been about 25 percent efficient since then.

As a junior, Sidle ran for 1,006 yards in 1963 and was named first-team AP All-America. He and tailback Tucker Frederickson led Auburn to a 9-1 record and a No. 5 ranking in the AP poll before losing to Nebraska in the Orange Bowl.

Sidle was injured in the 1964 season opener against Houston, and was moved to tailback. The Tigers had been picked by Sports Illustrated to win the national title, and Sidle was featured on the cover. They finished 6-4.

"Jimmy wasn't the greatest passer in the world, but with all the blockers in front of him, there wasn't much a defense could do with him in 1963," said Alford, who lives in Birmingham.

Sidle later played with the Dallas Cowboys and Atlanta Falcons and in the Canadian Football League.

Sidle, who was a star athlete at Banks High School in Birmingham, was living in Millport with his wife, Mary Ann, and her parents at the time of his death.

Sidle was inducted into Auburn's "Tiger Trails," a walk of fame honoring former Tiger greats, before the Mississippi State game earlier this season.

"It meant a lot to him to be recognized," Alford said.

Sidle is also survived by a daughter, Kim, and a son, Chris.

Family visitation will be held Tuesday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Jefferson Memorial Funeral home in Trussville. The funeral will be held there Wednesday at 10 a.m.

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