Tulane Hall of Famer Tommy Mason dies at 75

Oliver Grigg, Print Sports Editor

Former Tulane football All-American running back Tommy Mason died Wednesday night at his home in Newport Beach, California. Mason was 75 years-old and is survived by his wife, Karen, his three sons, Buck, Ryan and Taylor, as well as several grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

Mason, from Lake Charles, Louisiana, played for the Wave from 1958-60, before becoming the first-ever draft pick of the Minnesota Vikings in 1961. Mason played 11 seasons in the NFL, where he earned three Pro Bowl invites and All-Pro honors. Mason was inducted into the Tulane Athletics Hall of Fame in 1978.

“We are saddened to hear of the passing of Tommy Mason and offer our heartfelt condolences to his family,” Tulane Director of Athletics Rick Dickson said. “He established a wonderful legacy of athletic and academic excellence at Tulane that continued through his time here, to the NFL, through law school and his post-playing career. He will be forever remembered.”

In his senior year at Tulane, Mason led the Southeastern Conference with 663 rushing yards and eight touchdowns on 120 carries and tallied 28 receptions for 376 yards and five touchdowns. Mason was named first-team All-SEC by the league coaches, claimed first-team All-America honors from Time Magazine and participated in the East-West Shrine Game, Hula Bowl, Coaches All-American Game and College All-Star Game following his senior year.

Mason was selected No. 1 overall by the Minnesota Vikings in the 1961 NFL Draft and ran for 4,203 yards and 32 touchdowns on 1,040 carries in his career. Mason also hauled in 214 passes for 2,324 yards and 13 scores and was a dynamic special teams player, as he tallied 1,550 yards as a punt and kickoff returner.

Mason was voted to the Pro Bowl from 1962-64 and was Minnesota’s first All-Pro Player in 1963. Mason claimed first-team All-NFL recognition from the Associated Press, Newspaper Enterprise Association, New York Daily News and United Press International in 1963. Mason later played for the Los Angeles Rams and Washington Redskins. 

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