Family: U of L's 1st black football player dies

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Associated Press

Posted on February 18, 2013 at 3:01 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A family member said the University of Louisville's first African-American football player, Laurence Simmons, was killed over the weekend in a house fire.

Maj. Henry Ott, of Louisville Fire & Rescue, said the 79-year-old Simmons was living in a basement bedroom when a fire started Saturday morning likely due to a frayed extension cord used to power a space heater. No one else was injured.

His brother, Norman Simmons, told The Courier-Journal (http://cjky.it/UylF1J ) that Laurence Simmons played offensive lineman for the University of Louisville in 1952 and was a standout football player at Central High School.

Rocco Gasparro, a spokesman for the football team, said two published history books about the team identified Simmons as the school's first black player.

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Information from: The Courier-Journal, http://www.courier-journal.com

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