John Hadl, former University of Kansas standout and Chargers quarterback, dies at 82

John Hadl, who starred at the University of Kansas and went on to play 16 seasons in the American Football League and NFL, died Wednesday, the school announced. He was 82.

Born and raised in Lawrence, Kansas, Hadl was an all-state football halfback and a baseball center fielder in high school. He stayed in his hometown to play college ball with the Jayhawks, setting records as a halfback, quarterback and punter.

Hadl led the NCAA in punting (45.6 yards per punt) and set Jayhawks records for longest punt (94 yards) and longest interception return (98 yards). The punt record still stands and the interception mark stood until 2007.

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During Hadl's junior and senior years, the Jayhawks were ranked in the top 20. He led the team to the program's first bowl victory his last season.

“John Hadl had a generational impact on Kansas Football, the University of Kansas and the Lawrence community," athletics director Travis Goff said in a statement. "He was a once-in-a-lifetime Jayhawk student-athlete, a coach and mentor, a prolific fundraiser ... and the ultimate ambassador for KU. In short, our University and athletic program has been transformed by John and his legacy will forever be cemented. Our deepest thoughts and prayers are with Diana and the Hadl family. We will deeply miss John and his contagious smile but will proudly honor him and his unrivaled legacy as we move forward.”

Hadl was inducted to the College Football Hall Fame in 1994 and went on to have a 16-year professional career, most notably as the San Diego Chargers quarterback. He was selected 10th overall in 1962 NFL draft by the Detroit Lions but played for the AFL's Chargers. He led the NFL in completions and passing yards and touchdowns in 1971.

He also played for the Los Angeles Rams, Green Bay Packers and Houston Oilers.

After retiring, Hadl served as an assistant head coach and offensive coordinator for the Jayhawks. He also coached in the NFL and USFL in the 1980s. Hadl was a leader in fundraising efforts to construct and renovate Kansas' athletic facilities for 30 years.

Contact Analis Bailey at or on Twitter @analisbailey.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: John Hadl dies at 82; former Kansas star played for Chargers