Born on March 1, 1933, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Lino Dante "Alan" Amici was an American football player who played with the Baltimore Colts after winning the Heisman Trophy in college at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. His father, Augusto, from Montemonaco, in the province of Ascoli Piceno, Marche, and his mother, Elizabeth, were Italian immigrants who came to the United States in the 1930s, although they returned for a year to Italy during his childhood. He was a cousin of famous actors Don Ameche and Jim Ameche. At sixteen, he changed his name, Lino, into Alan and began his football career at Kenosha's Bradford High School, where he was an all-state fullback. In 1950 his team went undefeated and he scored 108 points.
In 1952, Alan married his high school sweetheart, Yvonne Molinaro, on Thanksgiving. They had their first two of six children while Ameche was playing for Wisconsin. All four of his sons played college football.
Nicknamed "The Iron Horse", or simply "The Horse" for his tremendous training ethic, power, and stamina, Alan earned All-America honors at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he played linebacker as well as fullback in single-platoon days. In four years as a Badger, he gained 3,212 yards, then the NCAA record, scored 25 touchdowns, and averaged 4.8 yards per carry.
Alan won the Heisman Trophy in 1954, the first player to do so in Wisconsin's history.
He then played fullback for the Baltimore Colts from 1955 until 1960. Named NFL Rookie of the Year in 1955, he was a four-time Pro Bowler (1955–58) and averaged 4.2 yards per carry over his career. He held the record for rushing yards in his first three NFL games until Carnell "Cadillac" Williams passed it in 2005.
He will always be remembered for his role in the December 28, 1958 NFL Championship Game at Yankee Stadium, often cited as "The Greatest Game Ever Played." He scored the winning touchdown for the Colts on a one-yard run in overtime as the Colts beat the New York Giants, 23-17, the first "sudden death" game in NFL history. It was his second touchdown of the day; he also scored a TD on a 2 yard run in the second quarter. A national television audience – it was the first national title game to be televised, and forty-five million people were watching - and a Yankee Stadium crowd of 64,185 witnessed the game.
Alan finished a relatively short six-season NFL career with 4,045 rushing yards, 101 receptions for 733 yards and 44 touchdowns. He was inducted into the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame in 1967 and into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1975.
When he retired, with colleague (and former Colts teammate) Gino Marchetti, Alan founded the Gino's Hamburgers chain. He also founded the Baltimore-based Ameche's Drive-in restaurants. He was a devoted husband and father, a highly successful businessman, a pioneer in race relations, a patron of the arts, and a committed philanthropist.
Alan Ameche died of a heart attack at age 55 in Houston, on August 8, 1988. He is interred at Calvary Cemetery in West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania.
Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Ameche