Former Raiders great and Clovis native Daryle Lamonica has died at 80, family confirms

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NFL All-Pro and Clovis High School graduate Daryle Lamonica has died.

Lamonica, 80, is the namesake of the school’s football stadium. A family member confirmed the death on Thursday but declined to immediately comment further.

The Fresno County Coroner’s Office said Lamonica died at his Fresno home Thursday morning of natural causes.

Pro Football Hall of Fame coach Tom Flores remembered Lamonica.

“Daryle was a good guy,” he said. “He loved to play football and loved to throw the ball. Big strong body who loved to hunt and fish. He’s a guy’s guy. It’s just sad. Daryle enjoyed living. He did that. He enjoyed being around the guys. He enjoyed holding court.”

Lamonica was inducted into the Fresno Athletic Hall of Fame in 1976.

After Clovis High, he played quarterback at Notre Dame, and the 6-foot-3, 218-pound Lamonica was drafted by the Green Bay Packers and the Buffalo Bills. That was before the NFL merger in 1966.

He signed with the Bills and later starred for the Oakland Raiders.

Announcer Howard Cosell reportedly gave him the nickname “The Mad Bomber” in 1967 for his penchant of throwing deep passes.

Lamonica told Sports Illustrated at first he thought it was a “dumb name,” but quickly changed his mind. “I thought, ‘Ooh. I like that. Maybe that is not such a bad nickname.’ It stuck and that is what I ended up with. … Now it’s my registered trademark.”

Lamonica accomplished a lot on the field.

He played football and baseball and lettered in four sports (football, baseball, track and basketball) at Clovis High.

Lamonica was drafted by the Bills of the AFL and the Green Bay Packers of the NFL in 1963 and played for the Bills from 1963-1966.

The Raiders acquired Lamonica from the Bills in 1967 and Oakland went 13-1 and went to the Super Bowl in his first season with the Silver and Black.

Two-time American Football League Player of the Year in 1967 and 1969.

Three-time American Football League All Star in 1965, 1967, 1969.

Two-time Pro Bowl selection in 1970 and 1972.

Three-time American Football League champion in 1964, 1965, 1967.

Held the Raiders’ career passing records: Most passes attempted, most completions, total yards, and touchdown passes.

Oakland quarterback Daryle Lamonica surveys the field in a Dec. 14, 1967, game against the Chiefs at Municipal Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. Lamonica has two of the top three single-season passing touchdown records in Raiders history, with 30 in 1967 and 34 in 1969, with Derek Carr moving into the No. 2 spot this season with 31 heading into Sunday’s regular-season finale.
Oakland quarterback Daryle Lamonica surveys the field in a Dec. 14, 1967, game against the Chiefs at Municipal Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. Lamonica has two of the top three single-season passing touchdown records in Raiders history, with 30 in 1967 and 34 in 1969, with Derek Carr moving into the No. 2 spot this season with 31 heading into Sunday’s regular-season finale.

Clovis Unified released a statement:

“The Clovis Unified community lost an icon today with the passing of legendary athlete Daryle Lamonica, the namesake of Lamonica Stadium on the Clovis High School campus. Lamonica established a high standard of athletic excellence, performance and character for student athletes who followed his graduation from Clovis High School. In recognition of Lamonica’s impact on local high school athletics, and his outstanding collegiate and professional career, Clovis High School’s football stadium was named in his honor in 1974. Daryle Lamonica was also an inaugural honoree in both Clovis Unified’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2016, and in Clovis High School’s Football Hall of Fame in 2018. His legacy is one that lives on not only through the beloved stadium that bears his name, but in the coaches, student athletes, and fans who are a part of the Clovis Unified athletic tradition.”

Former Clovis High coach Rich Hammond fondly recalled times spent with Lamonica.

He recalled a time when Lamonica went over Raiders play-calls.

“He would be in his 70s,” he said. “He was such an incredible man and was so talented and successful in everything he did. He was so humble at the same time. In all of my interactions with Daryle, he always talked about the things Clovis and the community and coaches taught him and how he was able to carry those things with him as a professional athlete, but also as a super successful businessman. He can fish, like I’ve never seen anybody fish like him. He would throw it in the river and catch bass. It was amazing. Incredible golfer. Such a tremendous human being and definitely left the world a better place. The world was a better place because Daryle was in it.”

Many also took to Twitter to remember Lamonica.

Lamonica is survived by his wife, Mary, son, Brandon, and sister Beverly.

SUPER BOWL II, Jan. 14, 1968 - Green Bay 33, Oakland Raiders 13: ***** Raiders quarterback Daryle Lamonica (3), behind offensive linemen Gene Upshaw (63) and Jim Otto (00), looks to hand off during a losing effort.
SUPER BOWL II, Jan. 14, 1968 - Green Bay 33, Oakland Raiders 13: ***** Raiders quarterback Daryle Lamonica (3), behind offensive linemen Gene Upshaw (63) and Jim Otto (00), looks to hand off during a losing effort.