SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WWNY) - In the 50′s and 60′s the Syracuse football program produced one of the greatest trios of running backs to ever play the game.
First there was Jim Brown, who was named by ESPN the Greatest College Football player ever, then Ernie Davis, who would win the Heisman Trophy and Floyd Little, a Hall of Famer who has kept close ties with the university and the program.
Now, Little finds himself in a battle like no other he’s faced, and he’s getting some help from a former teammate and Watertown native who’s had his back before- blocking for Little as a 2-time All-American for the Orange.
He wore the legendary number 44 at Syracuse, following] Brown and Davis, but Floyd little is arguably the most popular 44 in the Syracuse community.
On Thursday, it was revealed Little had been diagnosed with cancer, and it didn’t take long for former teammate and Watertown native Pat Killorin to step up to help his friend take on the toughest battle he’s faced on or off the football field.
“Of course, it’s a shock to myself, 'cause you think Floyd Little’s gonna go on forever he’s such an icon. After a few conversations with family, we found out that it would be a great idea if we could set up a GoFundMe to help him with some expenses that he’s gonna incur over a period of time that they’re treating him for this terrible disease,” said Killorin.
So far, the response has been overwhelming with former teammates, former S.U. players, coaches, staff, and fans reaching out to do whatever they can to help Little.
Killorin says there’s a reason for that.
“He’s been elected to 10 individual hall of fames including the Pro and the College Hall of Fame. Besides all of that, all of his fame, he always takes time to make sure that he welcomes you when he sees you, and he always makes time to for everyone to understand that he’s a Syracuse man. And that’s what makes everybody so happy to be able to reach out to him,” said Killorin.
That was evident in 2012, when Little accompanied the Orange to Fort Drum for a week of workouts during his time as Special Assistant to the Athletic Director at Syracuse.
“I cannot imagine our young men, after a week of this, don’t become more mature, more experienced, more committed, more dedicated, understand what leadership is really about and become better players as a result,” said Little.
Killorin says his relationship with Little goes back to 1963 when the 2 played at Syracuse and adds that he wants to do what he can for his former teammate who has been there for him when he’s needed his help.
“He’s been a intregal part of our family, all of our family love him, he’s always very gracious to my family when he sees us, and to me basically. He’s stepped up to the plate and helped me on a couple of occasions that were just wonderful,” said Killorin.
Killorin says he spoke with Little a few weeks back and Little’s spirits are high.
Killorin adds Little is ready to take on this challenge head on and fight as hard as he did when he suited up every Saturday and Sunday..
“His attitude is absolutely great. I just- When I talked to him a couple weeks ago at home, he told me basically he’s had some difficult times, but he says we’re gonna beat this, and we are. And not only with the help of every way we can, but also with the prayers. That’s what he really is looking for and this is what we’re doing,” said Killorin.
If interested in making a donation you can go to the Friends of Floyd GoFundMe page and make a contribution to a man who has given so much to the Syracuse University community.