Birthday: August 2, 1932
Died At Age: 74
Sun Sign: Leo
Born Country: United States
Born in: El Dorado, Arkansas, United States
Famous as: Businessman
Spouse/Ex-: Norma Hunt (m. 1964), Rosemary Carr (m. - div. 1962)
father: H. L. Hunt
mother: Lyda Bunker
siblings: Caroline Rose Hunt, Haroldina Franch Hunt, Haroldson Lafayette Hunt III, Helen LaKelly Hunt, Helen Lee Cartledge Hunt, Howard Lee Hunt, Hugh S. Hunt, June Hunt, Lyda Bunker Hunt, Margaret Hunt Hill, Nelson Bunker Hunt, Ray Lee Hunt, Swanee Hunt, William Herbert Hunt
children: Clark Hunt, Daniel, Lamar Hunt Jr., Sharron Munson
Died on: December 13, 2006
place of death: Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas
U.S. State: Arkansas
Cause of Death: Cancer
Lamar Hunt was an American businessman who promoted professional-level sports including American football, soccer, basketball, tennis and ice hockey in the United States. Along with his brothers, William Herbert Hunt and Nelson Bunker Hunt, he made efforts to corner the silver market in the late 20th century. He was the principal founder of the American Football League as a competitor to National Football League, and also coined the term 'Super Bowl' after the two leagues merged. He helped found the North American Soccer League, the predecessor to Major League Soccer, for which he was an original investor as well. He was a co-founder of World Championship Tennis. He owned the Kansas City Chiefs (NFL); the Kansas City Wizards, Columbus Crew and FC Dallas (MLS); and the Chicago Bulls (NBA). He also founded the theme parks Worlds of Fun and Oceans of Fun.
Childhood & Early Life
Lamar Hunt was born on August 2, 1932, in El Dorado, Arkansas, United States, to oil tycoon, H. L. Hunt, and his first wife Lyda Bunker. He was the youngest of his parents' seven children, even though his father had four more children each from his alleged wife Frania Tye and wife Ruth Ray.
He was raised in Dallas, Texas, where he attended Culver Military Academy before graduating from The Hill School in Pennsylvania in 1951.
He earned his B.S. degree in geology in 1956 from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, where he played college football and was named 'Man of the Year' of the Kappa Sigma fraternity in 1972.
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Lamar Hunt, whose attempts to own an NFL franchise were turned down repeatedly, approached several other businessmen and formed the American Football League (AFL) in August 1959. He became the owner of the Dallas Texans and appointed Hank Stram as the team's first head coach.
NFL quickly placed the new Dallas Cowboys franchise to regain fans from the Dallas Texans, which prompted Hunt to consider moving the franchise to Kansas City. The team finally became the Kansas City Chiefs in 1963 after mayor H. Roe Bartle promised him home attendance of 25,000 people per game.
Despite lower turnouts during the first couple of seasons, in 1966, the Chiefs won their first AFL Championship (and second overall, counting one as Dallas Texans) in front of an average 37,000 fans on home matches. That year, the NFL and AFL agreed to merge, with a special match between the champions of the two leagues, which the Chiefs lost to the Green Bay Packers.
Hunt had "kiddingly" suggested the term 'Super Bowl' for the championship match while writing to NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle, and it became a media favorite over the original name 'AFL-NFL Championship Game'. The Chiefs performed consistently in the following years and won their first Super Bowl in 1970, following which the AFL was absorbed into the NFL as the American Football Conference.
In 1967, Lamar Hunt founded the professional soccer franchise, Dallas Tornado, as members of the United Soccer Association, which merged with the National Professional Soccer League the next year. Dallas Tornado, which won the 1971 championship, began to run in losses and was merged with the Tampa Bay Rowdies in 1981, and Hunt sold the team in 1983, one year before the league collapsed.
When Major League Soccer debuted in 1996, Lamar Hunt became one of the original founding investors of the league and owned two teams: the Columbus Crew and the Kansas City Wizards (now Sporting Kansas City). In 1999, he financed the construction of the large soccer-specific stadium Mapfre Stadium.
He purchased his third soccer team, Dallas Burn (now FC Dallas), in 2003, but sold the Wizards on August 31st 2006. He was one of the founding investors for the basketball team Chicago Bulls, briefly owned the NHL franchise Columbus Blue Jackets, and co-founded the World Championship Tennis circuit in 1968.
Lamar Hunt hugely contributed to the development of different sports in the US, most prominently the American Football League. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the National Soccer Hall of Fame, and the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
Family & Personal Life
Lamar Hunt had two children, Clark Hunt and Lamar Hunt Jr., from his first wife Rosemary Carr, whom he divorced in 1962, Two years later, he married Norma Lynn Knobel, with whom he had two more children, Sharron and Daniel.
He died of complications related to prostate cancer on December 13, 2006, at Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.
After founding the soccer team Dallas Tornado, Lamar Hunt became involved in a successful legal battle with NFL over ownership of more than one sports franchise.