Watch this introductory video to learn what others who knew him when and now have to say about Floyd.
A promise made … a promise kept … and surely no regrets.
But put yourself in Floyd Little’s shoes. You’re a kid from New Haven, Conn., out of Hillhouse HS (CT)and Bordentown Military Academy (NJ), invited to the Waldorf Astoria to meet Gen. Douglas MacArthur.
Well, that Old Soldier did not just fade away … he was recruiting Little to play football for Army and attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Tempting? You bet!
Floyd had previously met Ernie Davis, the Heisman Trophy winner who inherited Syracuse’s No. 44 from the great Jim Brown. Ernie wanted Floyd to be another great Orange ’44.’ Floyd said he would. Much too soon thereafter, Ernie passed away from leukemia at age 23 … and Floyd knew — General MacArthur notwithstanding — he had a promise to keep.
Little was a three-time All-American for legendary Hall of Famer Ben Schwartzwalder. The bowlegged 5-foot-10, 196-pound tailback set countless records. Syracuse went 22-10 including two bowl appearances during Floyd’s 1964-66 varsity seasons, when he teamed with backs such as Larry Csonka, Jim Nance and Tom Coughlin, running behind the blocking of Pat Killorin & Co.
At SU, Floyd ran for 2,750 yards (5.4 per carry), averaged 11.6 yards per reception and scored 234 points. He was fifth in Heisman voting as a junior and senior.
The 1966 ECAC Player of the Year was the sixth player chosen in the ’67 NFL Draft, signing with Denver and playing his entire nine-year pro career with the Broncos. Dubbed ‘The Franchise,’ he rushed for 6,323 yards, caught 215 passes, scored 54 TDs, gained 12,000-plus all-purpose yards, was 1st team All-Pro in 1969 and a five-time Pro Bowler (’68-71 and ’73).
Little earned a Denver College of Law degree in ’75 and owned a car dealership in Seattle.
In 2011, Floyd came back to his alma mater, as special assistant to Athletic Director Daryl Gross. His position involved development and donor relations, assisting with student-athlete/team development and prospective on-campus recruiting activities. He recently returned West.
Honored coast to coast, Little has received 19 pro athlete achievement awards, 31 community service awards, the 1978 Walter Camp Man of the Year Award, 1992 NCAA Silver Anniversary Award, 2011 Walter Camp Distinguished American Award and enshrinement in seven halls of fame — including College (1983) and Pro Football (2010).
Now, Floyd Little — a promise made, a promise kept — becomes a member of the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame, Class of 2019.