Don Fleming

Don  Fleming Don Fleming (Shadyside High School, Class of 1955). The two-time All-Ohio Valley Athletic Conference first team honoree in football, Fleming was captain of the Tigers’ undefeated conference champions in 1954. He also played center for the Shadyside squad that won an OVAC division title in basketball.

This versatile athlete played in the Ohio East-West All-Star baseball game held in Columbus and performed in the Ohio- West Virginia All-Star Football Game held during the summer of 1955 at Wheeling Island Stadium.

Fleming went on to the University of Florida on a football scholarship. He was a three-year starter and a two-way end performer for the Gators. He was elected captain of the 1958 team that played in the Gator Bowl and was a member of the All-Southeastern Conference team that same year.

He was drafted by the Chicago Cardinals of the National Football League and the Boston Patriots of the American Football League. However, Fleming elected to remain in college to complete work on his degree and play baseball. As a senior, Fleming also was chosen captain of the Florida baseball team that won the SEC championship and earned a berth in the NCAA tournament. In the spring of 1959, Fleming earned a degree as a construction engineer.

When Paul Brown, owner-coach of the Cleveland Browns, traded for Fleming’s NFL rights, Fleming bypassed signing with the baseball Baltimore Orioles and decided to play professional football. Despite never having played defensive back, he started as a rookie with the Browns at safety and made the NFL All-Rookie team in 1960. After his third season with the Browns, Fleming was named to the All-NFL first team. In that off-season, while working on a construction job building a bank in Florida, Fleming was killed in an electrical accident.

Born June 11, 1937, Fleming was just 25 years old at the time of his passing. Despite having played just three seasons with the Browns, he had such an impact on the franchise that they named their practice field, Fleming Field, in his honor and retired No. 46, which was his number.

The University of Florida named its intramural field, Fleming Field, and the Florida Alumni Association established an award in his name that is given annually to the senior in any sport exemplifying the best leadership qualities. He also was selected for induction into the University of Florida’s Hall of Fame and is a member of the State of Florida’s Athletic Hall of Fame. Shadyside High School retired his number (59) and named its athletic complex Fleming Field.
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