Kazmaier was born November 23, 1930, in Toledo, Ohio, the only child of Richard and Marian Kazmaier. He graduated from Maumee High School in Ohio in 1948. He played football (four years), basketball (four years), track and field (four years), baseball (four years) and golf (one year) earning a letter each year in each sport. He was recruited by 23 colleges, most offering full scholarships.
As a halfback, kicker and quarterback, he ended his career third all time in Princeton history with over 4000 yards of offense and 55 touchdowns. His career was capped in 1951 as he was named an All American as well as winning the Maxwell Award and the Heisman Trophy. John McGillicuddy was Kazmaier’s fellow football player and roommate at Princeton. He was named Ivy League Football Player of the Decade in 1960 and Time Magazine ran his picture on its cover. He was the last Heisman Trophy winner to play for an Ivy League institution. The Chicago Bears drafted him in the 1952 draft, but he declined to play pro football, instead going to Harvard Business School. After spending three years in the Navy (1955–1957) and attaining the rank of lieutenant, he founded Kazmaier Associated Inc, an investment firm in Concord, Massachusetts.
Kazmaier served as a director of the American Red Cross, director of the Ladies Professional Golfers Association, trustee of Princeton University, director of the Knight Foundation on Intercollegiate Athletics, chairman of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush and president of the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame. The NCAA gave him its Silver Anniversary Award. He also received the National Football Foundation Distinguished American Award.
In 2007, during a Maumee football game against Perrysburg, Kazmaier was honored by having his jersey number (#42) retired. He also donated his Heisman Trophy to Maumee High School, where it is displayed inside a glass case in the main hallway. The stadium at Maumee High School is named in his honor. His daughter, the late Patty Kazmaier-Sandt, was an All-Ivy member of the Princeton women’s ice hockey team who died in 1990 at the age of 28 from a rare blood disease. The Patty Kazmaier Award, which was established by Kazmaier to memorialize his daughter, is given to the top woman college ice hockey player in the United States at the annual Women’s Frozen Four NCAA championship. Kazmaier died on August 1, 2013, in Boston from heart and lung disease. He was 82 and is survived by his wife of 60 years, the former Patricia Hoffmann, five daughters, and several grandchildren. He was predeceased by daughter Patty Kazmaier-Sandt.
- November, 23, 1930
- Maumee, Ohio
- August, 01, 2013
- Boston, Massachusetts