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NCAA Football

Former Notre Dame Defensive Lineman Pete Duranko Dies at 67

MSU vs. Notre Dame football game, 1966

Pete Duranko played in the 10-10 tie against Michigan State in 1966. (Photo Courtesy of Michigan State University Archives, Flickr)

Pete Duranko, a starting defensive lineman on Notre Dame’s 1966 National Championship squad and longtime Denver Bronco, passed away yesterday after a 11-year bout with Lou Gehrig’s disease. He was only 67 years old.

Duranko was a star and All-American member of Ara Parseghian’s first championship team in 1966. During that season, the big man had 73 tackles and help led a defense that only gave up 3.8 points per game and had six shutouts in 10 games that season.

A few months later, Duranko was drafted by the Broncos during the fourth round of the 1966 NFL draft. He would go on to spent his entire seven-year career in the Mile High City. During his seven seasons in Denver, he started 76 of 98 games.

After he retired from football following the 1974 season, the Pennsylvanian became a steel company executive. Following being diagnosed with ALS in 2000, Duranko became a key spokesman to try and raise money for the terrible disease.