Carroll Hardy, who was the Director of Player Personnel for the Denver Broncos, received his long overdue recognition by being inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame in February, 1979.
“Being inducted into the Hall of Fame is a great honor. I am very proud and thankful to the committee for selecting me,” Hardy notes.
According to Dial Ward, Hardy’s college football coach at CU, Hardy was “the best all-around athlete the University of Colorado has ever produced,” which includes even the likes of Byron “Whizzer” White. While at CU, Hardy lettered a record ten times; four in football, four in baseball and two in track. He was All-American in football, played in the East-West Shrine Game and received the “Outstanding Player Award” for his participation in the Hula Bowl.
Together with a stumpy little southpaw, Frank Bernardi, Hardy became one of the most potent halfback combinations in CU history.
It was only fitting that Hardy’s final game for CU was his greatest. It came in the 1954 season finale and his figures are still in the Big Eight Conference record book. Hardy carried only ten times that day, but reeled off 238 incredible yards for an average of 23.8 yards per carry. At that time, no other back in league history had averaged that many yards on ten or more carries.
Hardy was something more than just a football player, however, while at CU. He hit, fielded and ran brilliantly for CU’s baseball team as the Buff’s regular centerfielder, and he also set the school record in the broad jump despite competing only in the indoor season.
Following college, Hardy decided to try both professional football and baseball. He signed a contract with the San Francisco 49ers and also with the Cleveland Indians. He made it big as a wide receiver for the 49ers, teaming with Y.A. Tittle to form a potent passing combination. But Hardy soon realized that pro football was not what it is today. So baseball it was.
After some years in the minors for the Cleveland Indians, Hardy, at age twenty-six, felt almost like a has-been. He played behind the popular Jimmy Piersall for a year at Cleveland, then, was traded to the Boston Red Sox, only to be in competition with Carl Yastrzemski and Lu Clinton. Hardy states that his greatest moment in sports came while at Boston. “I hit a grand slam home run to win the game 4-0, Boston versus Cleveland in 1962.”
From Boston, Hardy was traded to the infant Houston Colts in 1963. After a season with their farm club at Oklahoma City, he was acquired by the Denver Bears. While in Denver, Hardy began scouting part-time for the Broncos in the off-season leading to his most recent position.
Hardy was happy as head of the Bronco’s player personnel and takes great pride in the fact that some of the men he recommended, like Lyle Alzado and Otis Armstrong, helped the Broncos the their first Super Bowl.
Hardy married CU relays queen, Janice Mitchell, and they have three children, Jay, Jill and Lisa.
Hardy was the best all-around athlete the University of Colorado has ever produced.