Kansas two-sport standout Gil Reich dies

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Former Kansas football All-American and men’s basketball standout Gil Reich died April 22, in Barrington, Illinois. Reich was 87 years old.

A native of Steelton, Pennsylvania, Reich came to KU after transferring from the United States Military Academy in 1952. He excelled at cornerback, quarterback and punt returner for head coach J.V. Sikes, leading the Jayhawks to a 7-3 record in 1952. Reich earned All-American honors from multiple media outlets, including Associated Press and the Football Writers Association of America. Additionally, he was an All-Big Seven First Team selection as a defensive back. Reich accounted for 428 yards in total offense that season, splitting quarterback duties with Jerry Robertson, and threw five touchdowns passes. He averaged 17.2 yards on 19 punt returns, and also served as the Jayhawks’ punter and kicked extra points.

Under head coach Phog Allen, the 6-foot Reich was a starter on the 1952-53 NCAA runner-up team that posted a 19-6 record, won the Big Seven regular season title and ended the year ranked No. 3 by the Associated Press. Reich averaged 8.0 points his lone season at KU.

Reich was a second-round NFL Draft pick of the Green Bay Packers in 1953, and the Boston Celtics selected him with the 32nd overall pick of the NBA Draft that same year.

From his obituary, Reich graduated from KU with a civil engineering degree in 1954 and followed that with two years of active duty as a commissioned officer in the United States Air Force in Lake Charles, Louisiana. He was a retired executive vice president of the Equitable Life Assurance Society, now known as AXA Equitable, with 35 years of service in Chicago, Milwaukee and New York. He and his wife, Kay, lived 14 years in Skidway Island, Savannah, Georgia, before moving to Barrington.

Chairman of the University of Kansas Alumni Association in 2001-02 and member of the Kansas Athletics K Club, Reich has been inducted into many hall of fames, including the Kansas Athletics Hall of Fame and the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.