Gus Cifelli

American football player (1926–2009)
Gus Cifelli
Born:(1926-02-03)February 3, 1926
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died:March 26, 2009(2009-03-26) (aged 83)
Royal Oak, Michigan, U.S.
Career information
Position(s)Offensive tackle
CollegeNotre Dame
NFL draft1950, Round: 19 / Pick 239
Career history
As player
1950–1952Detroit Lions
1953Green Bay Packers
1954Philadelphia Eagles
1954Pittsburgh Steelers
Career highlights and awards

August Blase Cifelli (February 3, 1926 – March 26, 2009) was an American football offensive tackle who played for three College Football National Championship teams with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team and won the 1952 NFL championship with the Detroit Lions. After retiring from football, he went to law school and was elected as a Michigan district court judge, where he served for more than two decades.[1][2]


He was born on February 3, 1926, in Philadelphia and attended La Salle College High School.[1] He served in the United States Marine Corps during World War II, and was awarded the Purple Heart for his service in the Pacific Theater.[3] He attended the University of Notre Dame after completing military service, where he majored in philosophy.[3] He was a part of three national championship teams at Notre Dame, graduating from the school in 1950.[2]


He was selected by the Detroit Lions in the 19th round of the 1950 NFL Draft, as the 239th pick overall, and played for the Lions from 1950 to 1952. He also played for the Green Bay Packers in the 1953 season, and split time between the Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1954 season.[1][2]

Cifelli was one of the former players who participated in the May 1967 old-timers game against the 1967 Notre Dame football team. While the bulk of the "old-timers" were graduates from the previous year, Cifelli was joined by Heisman Trophy winners Johnny Lattner and Leon Hart. The game was broadcast on ABC and played in front of 20,000 fans at Notre Dame Stadium.[4]

Legal career

After retiring from football, he earned a law degree at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law.[3] He was elected to serve as a judge of the 48th District Court in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and served in that role from his election in 1973 until he resigned from his seat in 2000.[2] For 10 years, he served as the court's chief judge.[3]

Personal life

Cifelli died at age 83 on March 26, 2009, at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan, due to natural causes.[2]


  1. ^ a b c Gus Cifelli Archived 2010-02-18 at the Wayback Machine, Accessed March 31, 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d e via Associated Press. "Football star, Mich. judge Gus Cifelli dies at 84", Chicago Tribune, March 31, 2009. Accessed March 31, 2009.
  3. ^ a b c d Cortez, Dan. "Gus Cifelli dies; football star, judge's life full of success" Archived 2015-06-07 at the Wayback Machine, Detroit Free Press, March 29, 2009. Accessed March 31, 2009.
  4. ^ via United Press International. "OLD-TIMERS TO PLAY NOTRE DAME TODAY", The New York Times, May 6, 1967. Accessed March 31, 2009.
  • v
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Detroit Lions 1950 NFL draft selections
  • Leon Hart
  • Joe Watson
  • Thurman "Fum" McGraw
  • Art Murakowski
  • Ernie Kiely
  • Hal Fitkin
  • Floyd Jaszewski
  • Bill Leverman
  • Ralph McAlister
  • Ed Wood
  • Roland Malcolm
  • Jack Wilson
  • Bucky Walters
  • Jim Ryan
  • Cliff Squires
  • Tom Worthington
  • Jerry Greiner
  • Connie Callahan
  • Don Stansauk
  • Gus Cifelli
  • Fred Davis
  • George Brewer
  • Jim Tate
  • Irv Heller
  • Jim McDowell
  • Gene Glick
  • Bobby Coy Lee
  • Elbert Johnson
  • Johnny Karras
  • Russ Steger
  • Rube DeRoin