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Larry Varnell

Inducted 1997


Larry Vanell is one of Colorado’s most important sports builders.

Growing up in Tennessee, Varnell played baseball and basketball earning All-American honors in basketball at Milligan College. Varnell’s military career eventually lead him to the Navy’s V-7 program at Colorado College where he came in contact with the AAU Denver Nuggets.

While Vice President of Public Affairs for Central Bank, Varnell became involved in efforts to bring major league sports to Denver. He helped Denver Bears owner Bob Howsam acquire a franchise in the new American Football League. That team, the Denver Broncos, began play in 1960. In 1968, Varnell led a successful campaign to renovate and enlarge Bears Stadium. Without expansion of the stadium, it was feared, the NFL might force the Broncos the move to another city.

Varnell also played a significant role in bringing Major League Baseball to Colorado. He served on both the Denver and Colorado Baseball Commissions that successfully led the expansion effort. In 1991, when Denver became the home of the new NL franchise, the Colorado Rockies.

Larry Varnell

One of Colorado’s most important sports builders.