Dec 162009
Authors: Stephen Meyers

The CSU Athletic Department lost one of its all-time greats last week with the passing of Alex Burl Jr., a CSU Hall of Famer.

Burl will be laid to rest today after passing away last week in Denver from a heart attack. He was 78.

A U.S. Army veteran and football player who made the NFL, Burl made his biggest athletic mark on the track.

During his time at CSU in the early 1950s, Burl was one of the nation’s top sprinters in the 100- and 220-yard dashes. He was a three-time All-American and earned several AAU and U.S. Military honors for his track efforts.

He finished third in the 100 and fourth in the 220 at the 1954 NCAA Championships. Later that year, he became the first African-American in CSU history to win the Nye Trophy, presented annually to the institution’s most outstanding male athlete.

At age 19, he qualified for the 1952 U.S. Olympic Trials, reaching the finals in the 100, barely missing a spot on Team USA.

Burl was also a star on the football field and was selected by the Chicago Cardinals in the 1954 NFL Draft. The halfback spent several seasons on the team’s roster before returning home to coach in his hometown, Denver.

Burl enjoyed a long career as one of the region’s premier coaches in the Denver Public Schools system, guiding both Manual and West high schools. He coached football, cross country and track and field and served as an educator.

He has inducted into the CSU Hall of Fame on Oct. 6, 2000, having joined the Colorado High School Activities Association Hall of Fame one year earlier.

His grandson, Davis, started several games for the Rams at outside linebacker this season.

Services begin at 11 a.m. at Denver’s New Hope Baptist Church, 3701 Colorado Blvd., followed by burial at Fort Logan National Cemetery.

Football Beat Reporter Stephen Meyers can be reached at

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