Notable sports deaths in 2022
Dan Reeves, who died on New Year's Day at age 77, reached nine Super Bowls as a player or coach, winning two. He coached the Giants for four seasons, but was best known for his time coaching the Broncos and Falcons, both teams he led to Super Bowls.
Ross Browner, a two-time All-American at Notre Dame and one of four brothers who played in the NFL, died on Jan. 4. He was 67.
Don Maynard, a Hall of Fame wide receiver who played in two of the most important games in NFL history — one for the Giants and one for the Jets — died at 86 on Jan. 10.
Clark Gillies, one of the key members of the Islanders' Stanley Cup dynasty and a Hockey Hall of Famer, has died on Jan. 21. He was 67
Jeff Innis, a former sidearming righthanded reliever for the Mets, died on Jan. 30. He was 59.
Gerald Williams, who played 14 years in the big leagues – including stints with the Yankees and Mets – died on Feb. 8. He was 55.
Jeremy Giambi, a former major league outfielder and first baseman, died Feb. 9 at his parents' home in Southern California, police said. He was 47.
Emile "The Cat’’ Francis, the former Rangers coach and general manager who oversaw one of the most successful periods in franchise history, died on Feb. 20. He was 95.
Shane Olivea, the Long Beach and Lawrence High School football standout who went on to excel for the Chargers and block for LaDainian Tomlinson’s record-setting season, died at the age of 40, the Chargers said on March 4. The cause of death was not announced.
Longtime NFL journalist John Clayton died on March 18 following a short illness. He was 67.
On a team known for its blue-collar grit, Mike Bossy was the elegant, finely tailored deal-closer, as pure a goal-scorer as hockey has produced, with a prime that neatly aligned with the Islanders’ dynasty years. Bossy died on April 15 at age 65 after battling lung cancer.
Daryle Lamonica, the deep-throwing quarterback who won an AFL Player of the Year award and led the Raiders to their first Super Bowl appearance, died on April. He was 80
Hockey Hall of Famer Guy Lafleur, who helped the Montreal Canadiens win five Stanley Cup titles in the 1970s, died on April 21 at age 70.
Bob Lanier, the left-handed big man who muscled up beside the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as one of the NBA’s top players of the 1970s, died May 10. He was 73.
Bill Russell — the towering and team-oriented 11-time NBA champion with the Boston Celtics, the first Black coach in major sports and a voice for social justice — died July 31 at age 88. A statement by the Russell family did not give the cause of death, but Russell was not well enough to present the NBA Finals MVP trophy in June because of a long illness.
Vin Scully, often called baseball’s poet laureate for his eloquent reportage in a singularly lengthy broadcasting career with the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers, died Aug. 2, the Dodgers announced on Twitter. He was 94. The Dodgers did not provide a cause of death.
Elias Theodorou, former UFC fighter died from liver cancer at age 34 on Sept. 11. He was an athlete, actor, model, stuntman, dancer, TV pitchman, Harlequin romance cover model and cannabis advocate.
"Bad Dude" John Stearns, an All-Star catcher for the Mets, died from pancreatic cancer on Sept. 15. He was 71.
Maury Wills, who intimidated pitchers with his base-stealing prowess as a shortstop for the Los Angeles Dodgers on three World Series championship teams, died on Sept. 19 at age 89.
Ray Guy, the first punter to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame, died Thursday. He was 72.
Anthony 'Rumble' Johnson
Anthony “Rumble” Johnson, an MMA light heavyweight fighter who went 23-6 in his career, died at 38 after a long illness. Bellator MMA announced Johnson's death on social media on Nov. 13.
Baseball Hall of Famer and two-time Cy Young Award winner Gaylord Perry, a master of the spitball who wrote a book about using pitch, died on Dec. 1 at age 84.
Hall of Fame tennis coach Nick Bollettieri, who worked with some of the sport’s biggest stars including Andre Agassi and Monica Seles, and founded an academy that revolutionized the development of young athletes, died Dec. 5, at age 91.
Paul Silas, who won three NBA championships as a player and went on to become a longtime head coach in the league, died Dec. 10 of cardiac arrest at age 79.
Grant Wahl, an American journalist who helped grow the popularity of soccer in the U.S. and reported on some of the biggest stories in the sport, died Dec. 9 while covering a World Cup match between Argentina and the Netherlands. He was 49.
Mike Leach, the gruff, pioneering and unfiltered college football coach who helped revolutionize the passing game with the Air Raid offense, died following complications from a heart condition on Dec. 12 at age 61.
Franco Harris, the Hall of Fame running back whose heads-up thinking authored “The Immaculate Reception,” considered the most iconic play in NFL history, died on Dec. 21 at age 72.
Pelé, the Brazilian king of soccer who won a record three World Cups and became one of the most commanding sports figures of the last century, died Dec 29 at age 82. The standard-bearer of “the beautiful game” had undergone treatment for colon cancer since 2021 and had been hospitalized for the last month with multiple ailments.