Sad news today as Syracuse Orange football great Floyd Little died from cancer on Friday at the age of 78. Little had been ill for some time and entered hospice care back in November. However it’s still shocking to have to say goodbye to the legendary player and Hall-of-Famer.
Though it’s been decades since he wore the vaunted number 44 for Syracuse, Little was a fixture around Orange football over the last decade plus. He frequently interacted with fans, was a mentor to current and former players and remained an engaged alumnus.
In response to the tragic news, SU’s John Wildhack shared the following:
“Floyd Little is a Syracuse treasure. The legacy that he leaves here is so much more than just one who wore #44, was an All-American, was in the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Floyd’s legacy is that he was a wonderful, wonderful person. He treated everyone with genuine care and respect and was always there for people. His impact as a person is those who he impacted. He was always willing to share his time, his wisdom, his support. His passion for Syracuse University – not just Syracuse Athletics, but the entire University – was inspiring to all of us. It is a legacy that will last forever and will never be replaced. He is someone who leaves a legacy of pure class in every single respect. There was only one Floyd Little and there will never be another one like him.”
Sharing SU’s release, Orange football coach Dino Babers added his own personal note as well:
I will never forget the smile. Uncle Floyd had that glorious smile that would light up a room and a personality that radiated around it. His passion for life and for Syracuse were contagious.— Dino Babers (@CoachBabersCuse) January 2, 2021
A Hall of Famer in College, the NFL, marriage, and in life. Heaven got one of our best. https://t.co/146NDtp8vE
Men’s basketball coach Jim Boeheim shared his own short statement as well about his longtime colleague and friend:
I have lost a great friend and Syracuse University has lost one of its all-time greatest ambassadors. Floyd Little brought a smile to the face of everyone he encountered. Juli and I send our condolences to DeBorah and Floyd’s family. pic.twitter.com/sIdzEdwhkV— Jim Boeheim (@therealboeheim) January 2, 2021
Returning redshirt senior defensive lineman Josh Black was one of several Syracuse players to say something as well. His tweet in the wake of the news speaks to the positive impact Little had on current players:
Floyd Little was a once in a lifetime player and human. His motivation, courage, and all around personality will be missed. He was one of the best to ever do it and will be dearly missed by everyone especially the Syracuse family. Forever 44. Always 44.— Joshua Black (@jnblack85) January 2, 2021
We’ll have more on Little’s life and legacy on Monday. But in the meantime, we wanted to just make sure we acknowledged Little’s passing and offer condolences to his family — his wife DeBorah and their three children, Marc, Christy and Kyra.
Rest in peace, Floyd.