MANHATTAN (Kan.) — Veryl Switzer is a trailblazing formerHalfback, who gave up a career as an NFL player to serve his country as a lieutenant in Air Force, has died. He was 89.
Switzer was a Kansas State athlete who competed in gridiron and track and field before he became an administrator. The school released a statement Sunday confirming the death of Switzer, citing his family. Additional information was not provided.
Gene Taylor, Wildcats' athletic director, stated that Veryl was one the most influential and significant K-Staters during his lifetime. He also helped to pave the way to many others. He will be remembered as a trailblazer forever.”
Switzer was an All-American Wildcats player for three consecutive seasons. He led the team in rush in 1952 and 1953 and was selected by the Packers as the fourth overall pick in the 1954 draft.
In his rookie season, Switzer was the NFL's leader in punt returns average. He then left the NFL after playing 24 games to join the military. Switzer served in the Air Force between 1956 and 1958, before he spent two more years playing in Canada.
Switzer spent 10 years at the Chicago Board of Education, before returning home to Kansas State. He created the school's first universitywide student minority program. Switzer started many of the programs we have today, including Ebony Theater, United Black Voices and Black Student Union.
Switzer, who graduated with a master's of education from Kansas State in 1974 and was a charter member in 1990 of the school’s athletics hall. In 2002, he was inducted into the school's football rings of honor.