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