In another era, Gary Glick might have graduated from high school and gone on to live an ordinary life. When he left tiny Cache La Poudre High School in LaPorte, he weighed all of 163 pounds.
“No college wanted a 163-pound fullback,” he said. Glick, who turned 18 shortly after graduation, decided to join the Navy, where he spent “four years, 1 hour, and 26 minutes-roughly. I was so important that they fired MacArthur and kept me,” he laughed.
The decision changed his life. Not only did he have the chance to hone his skills while playing service football, but also he started growing. By the time he left the Navy, he weighed 195 pounds and was coveted by several colleges. But he decided to stay home and play for Colorado A&M, now Colorado State University.
During his career, Glick established himself as perhaps the most valuable athlete in CSU history. He played running back, receiver and quarterback on offense and linebacker, halfback and end on defense. As a place-kicker, he led the nation in field goal percentage.
“He was the complete player-he could do it all,” said Fort Collins physician Robert Pike, a longtime Fort Collins resident and a sports historian. “He was just a dominant player. He could pull out a close game all by himself.”
Glick still holds CSU’s single-season (8) and career (14) interceptions records, and is ninth on the all-time punt return list.
After his senior year when the Rams finished 8-2 and won the Skyline Conference title, Glick played in the Blue-Gray Game, the Hula Bowl and the Chicago All-Star Game.
But it was two days after his final CSU game, a 10-0 win over rival Colorado, that Glick’s legend began to grow. The Pittsburgh Steelers, desperate for multi-talented players, made him the No. 1 selection in the 1955 draft with their bonus pick. He remains the only defensive back taken first in the NFL draft.
Glick played three years for the Steelers, three for the Washington Redskins, and one for the Baltimore Colts. That year, 1961, he tied a team record with three interceptions in one game, and led the NFL’s best defensive team in interceptions. He moved on to the San Diego Chargers in 1963 where he started for the AFL champions.
He then began a career in coaching and scouting that lasted 14 years. He had stints with the Denver Broncos, the Norfolk Neptunes of the old Continental League, the Montreal Allouettes and the University of Arizona. He retired as a Canadian Football League scout in 1985.
Glick is almost as famous in Fort Collins for his work off the field. He is a tireless worker for local, state and national charities. He served as an eight-year term on the board of directors for Easter Seals and was the organization’s “Outstanding Volunteer” in 1990. He also is active in the NFL Alumni Association and its charity work.
Glick was in the first class of inductees in the CSU Sports Hall of Fame in 1988.
No college wanted a 163-pound fullback.