Tuesday, February 22, 2005

All-America Hawkeye Punter Reggie Roby Dies at 43

Reggie Roby, an all-America punter at the University of Iowa and a 16-year veteran of the National Football League, died Tuesday at his home in Nashville, Tenn..

Roby, 43, was found unconscious and without a pulse at his home by his wife, Melissa. He was later pronounced dead at Saint Thomas Emergency Department.

Roby, a native of Waterloo, was marketing and development director for Backfield in Motion, a non-profit organization that combines athletics and academics to inspire inner-city boys to reach their maximum potential and become significant contributors to society.

“Reggie Roby was a WINNER!” said former Iowa Hawkeye Coach Hayden Fry. “He was a tremendous athlete and a wonderful person. His Hawkeye teammates and coaches are so sad to learn of his death. His family has our deepest sympathy.”

Roby was a member of the first recruiting class of Coach Fry. He led the nation in punting in his final two seasons, setting an NCAA record in 1981 with an average of 49.8 yards per kick. That mark is still an NCAA record for a player with a minimum of 40 punts. He remains Iowa’s record holder for punting average in a game (55.8), season (49.8) and career (45.4).

Roby earned first team all-America recognition in both 1981 and 1982 and he earned honorable mention honors in 1979. Roby was used to kickoff and also handled extra point and field goal duties during his career. An all-around athlete, Roby was an Iowa baseball letterman as a freshman.

As a prep at East High School, he earned all-state honors as a punter and tight end and. He also earned all-conference and all-state honors in baseball and was a three-year basketball letterman.

Roby was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the sixth round of the 1983 NFL Draft. Roby played for the Dolphins for 10 seasons. He also spent time with the Washington Redskins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Houston Oilers, Tennessee Titans and San Francisco 49ers before retiring in 2002.

“We are all saddened by the death of Reggie Roby and offer our condolences to his wife, Melissa, and his family,” said Bob Bowlsby, athletic director at Iowa. “Reggie was well liked and respected by his coaches and teammates as a student-athlete at Iowa and during his lengthy professional career. He was a great ambassador for Hawkeye football and the University of Iowa.”

Said Iowa State coach Dan McCarney: "I am deeply saddened by the news of Reggie Roby's death. I helped recruit him to Iowa. His family has our deepest sympathy here at Iowa State. I remained good friends with Reggie long after he left Iowa for the National Football League.

"First and foremost, he was about family -- a great father and husband. On the field, football is a team game. That being said, I can't think of anyone under Hayden Fry who had more to do with turning the Hawkeye football program around when we were there than Reggie Roby."


For almost 53 years, Arlene Hamilton was the rock behind Milo Hamilton, one of the most famous voices in baseball. She was the Iowa sweethearts' steady hand at home, raising two children as her husband marched through a Hall of Fame broadcasting career.

For more than half a century, Arlene sat quietly in the booth behind Milo, the voice of the Astros since 1985.

For that reason, the mood was somber at the Astros' spring-training facility at Osceola County Stadium on Sunday as players learned Milo's wife had died at 2:30 a.m. at Houston's Methodist Hospital.

"She was the rock," Hamilton said from Houston, fighting off tears between pauses. "With me being gone, she had to raise two kids alone. With all the traveling, with all the moves I made throughout the years, she always was the one that said, 'Let's go.' "

Arlene Hamilton, 73, had been a fixture at events with her husband. Before her health began failing in recent years, she almost always was at Milo's side for home games and the numerous public appearances he made on behalf of the franchise.

"She was positive and loved baseball and loved Milo's role for the Houston Astros," team owner Drayton McLane said from his home in Temple. "She was an important part of the Houston Astros family."

An accomplished silver life master bridge player, Arlene is survived by Milo and their two children, Mark and Patricia Joy of Atlanta.

Arlene Hamilton, who recently had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, had a heart attack late Friday night. She also had been fighting pneumonia. The Hamiltons were to celebrate their 53rd wedding anniversary April 6.

--Houston Chronicle (c)