by UofSC Athletic Communications
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The University of South Carolina mourns the passing of Gamecock football legend Lou Sossamon. The first Associated Press All-American in the history of Carolina Football, Sossamon passed away Monday at the age of 97.
"Lou Sossamon loved the University of South Carolina and all of us Gamecocks loved him," University of South Carolina Athletics Director Ray Tanner said. "From his playing days as an All-American football player and student body president to his military service and his tenure on the Board of Trustees, he served his alma mater with distinction. It was always fun to watch him participate in our annual spring football alumni game and know he took joy from playing in it. Lou will go down in history as one of the greatest Gamecocks ever."
Sossamon played center and linebacker under Coach Rex Enright from 1940-42. Following the 1942 season, Sossamon was selected as a second-team All-American by the AP. He was also a first-team All-Southern Conference selection and participated in the 1942 Blue-Gray All-Star Game.
Sossamon served as student body president at USC and following his graduation from Carolina in 1943, he was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers.
However, he played professionally for the New York Yankees of the All-American Football Conference. He was elected to the USC Athletics Hall of Fame in 1968 and the South Carolina Athletics Hall of Fame in 1974. In 2018, Sossamon was honored with the South Carolina Athletics Hall of Fame's Felix "Doc" Blanchard Athlete/Citizen Award.
Sossamon served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and later began working at the Gaffney Ledgernewspaper in 1950. He became publisher in 1968 and served in the role until 1999. Sossamon won the South Carolina Press Association's Freedom of Information Award in 1962 and served as its president in 1968.
Sossamon's contributions to the University of South Carolina extended far beyond his playing career. He served four terms on the USC Board of Trustees, and in 1990, he made the motion in a Board of Trustees meeting to accept, if extended, an invitation to join the Southeastern Conference. Carolina officially became a member of the SEC in 1990.
In 2013, the tutoring room at the Dodie Anderson Academic Enrichment Center was named in honor of Louis C. and Kathryn E. Sossamon. In 2016, Sossamon returned to Williams-Brice Stadium and, at the age of 94, scored a touchdown at the annual spring football alumni game. He continued to participate in the game each year until 2018.
Sossamon was married to Kathryn Edgerton Sossamon (d. 2008), a Gamecock cheerleader and daughter of Gamecock football coach N.B. Edgerton (1912-15). The couple had three children - Kit (Smith), Polly (Player) and Cody.