One of the greatest players in CU football history, All-American defensive end Bill Brundige passed away at his home in Knoxville, Tenn. on Dec. 29 after a long battle with cancer. He was 70.
The 6-foot-5 Brundige, who was known as one of the most respected pass rushers in the Big Eight, was born on the eastern plains of Colorado in Holyoke. He came to the University of Colorado as a standout at Haxtun High School and was a Football Writers Association of America first team All-American in 1969. Brundige racked up a total of 13 sacks and 24 tackles for loss to earn All-Big Eight honors during his senior year.
A true student-athlete as a physics major, Brundige was named to the academic all-conference first team as a junior with a 3.8 GPA. He also participated in track and field during his time in Boulder and was inducted into the CU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2016.
“Big Bill” along with College Football Hall of Famer Herb Orvis were key contributors for the Buffs’ defense in the 1969 Liberty Bowl win over Alabama. The duo caused nightmares for Tide quarterback Scott Hunter, who recalled that December afternoon in Memphis, Tenn. “Colorado was bigger and stronger than we were. Orvis was working over our offensive tackle and every time I went back to throw, I couldn’t get the ball off.” Brundige had a total of five sacks in the game which remains a CU record to this day.
The “genius” field general was drafted in the second round of the 1970 NFL Draft (43rd overall) by the coach Vince Lombardi and the Washington Redskins. Lombardi was quoted as saying the Redskins were “Very, very fortunate” to get Brundige in the second round without having a first round pick, and that he ranked him as the third-best defender coming out of college that year, but would have “picked him first if we had the chance.” Brundige was one of the last draft selections for the legendary NFL coach, who died from cancer eight month later at the age of 57.
Brundige played eight seasons for Washington including in Super Bowl VII. In 2002, he was named to the Redskins’ 70 greatest team.