Dec. 14, 2014
– Former University of Notre Dame quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner John Huarte will be honored Monday night at the 80th Annual Heisman Memorial Trophy Dinner Gala at the Marriott Marquis Times Square in New York City on the 50th anniversary of the Heisman he captured in 1964.
The Heisman Trophy Trust annually recognizes previous trophy winners on the 25th and 50th anniversaries of their winning the award. (Houston’s Andre Ware will be honored on the 25th anniversary of his award.) Huarte will be joined in New York by his wife Eileen and a handful of other family members. Representing the Notre Dame athletics department will be associate athletic directors Beth Hunter and Mike Danch and senior associate athletics director John Heisler.
Huarte previously was honored during the 2014 Notre Dame football season at the Sept. 6 Irish home game against Michigan. At that contest Heisman Trophy Trust representatives Jim Corcoran and Anne Donahue presented Huarte with a framed collage recognizing the golden anniversary of his Heisman win.
Huarte enjoyed a magical senior season in 1964 in Ara Parseghian’s first season as Notre Dame head football coach. After the ’63 Irish team ended 2-7, Huarte and his teammates came within minutes of winning the national title as Notre Dame finished 9-1, losing only at USC.
Huarte, a 6-0, 180-pound signal-caller who played at Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, California, never earned an Irish monogram until that 1964 season when he completed 114 of 205 passes for 2,062 yards and 16 touchdowns. Until that year a Notre Dame quarterback had never completed 100 passes in a season. His passing yardage total easily passed the previous Irish season record of 1,374 by Bob Williams in 1949. Huarte also ran for three other TDs in 1964.
Huarte’s final year in a Notre Dame uniform in 1964 highlighted an Irish aerial circus that included fellow Californian and split end Jack Snow, who caught 60 passes that season for 1,114 yards and an Irish record nine TDs. Notre Dame’s opening game in that 1964 season–Parseghian’s first on the Irish sideline–featured an upset win at Wisconsin that included 270 passing yards by Huarte and TD throws of 61 and 42 yards to Snow (he finished fifth in the Heisman voting that year).
Born in Anaheim, California, Huarte established 12 Notre Dame records as a senior while ranking third nationally in total offense yards (2,069). He was named the United Press International player of the year and a consensus first-team All-American. His collegiate career earned him selection in 2005 to the National Football Foundation College Football Hall of Fame.
Huarte’s career passing efficiency rating of 144.7 at Notre Dame still ranks third all-time in the Irish record book (behind Kevin McDougal and Jarious Jackson).
A second-round draft selection of the New York Jets, Huarte played with Boston, Philadelphia, Minnesota, Kansas City and Chicago, as well as the Memphis World Football League. He retired in 1975.
Once out of football Huarte began his own highly-successful tile business, Arizona Tile, that specialized in tile, marble and granite countertops and became the largest importer of granite in North America.
— ND —