Eddie Ayers, who played running back at UCLA in the 1970s, died this weekend after a battle with Lupus. He was 54.
Below is the release from UCLA:
Eddie Ayers, 1000-Yard Career Rusher, Passes Away
Ayers Lettered Three Seasons in Football, 1973-75
Feb. 10, 2009
Eddie Ayers, who earned three letters as a running back and kick returner on the UCLA football team, passed away on Sunday, Feb. 8, at age 54, following a battle with Lupus.
Ayers lettered on the 1973-1975 Bruin teams coached by Pepper Rodgers (1973) and Dick Vermeil (1974-75) which compiled a 24-7-3 overall mark. The 1975 team finished tied for first in the Pacific-8 Conference and defeated top-ranked Ohio State in the Rose Bowl game. Coach Vermeil called him “pound for pound, the best blocker I’ve ever seen.”
Ayers totaled 1,249 yards rushing and scored 13 touchdowns in his three-year varsity career. As a senior in 1975, he totaled 699 yards on 154 carries and scored 10 touchdowns for a team which went 9-2-1 on the season and finished the year ranked fifth on both AP and UPI polls.
In 1974, Ayers ran for 311 yards on 61 carries and scored one touchdown. He also returned five kickoffs for 113 yards and made one reception. In 1973, the Richmond, CA native rushed for 239 yards on 55 carries and scored a pair of touchdowns. He returned five kickoffs for 85 yards on a team which finished 9-2 on the season and scored 470 points to rank as one of the highest scoring teams in school history.
In 1972, Ayers was the recipient of the Charles Pike Memorial Award for outstanding scout team player. He ran for 409 yards on 46 carries and scored four touchdowns on the junior varsity team that season.
Ayers’ son, Derek, attended UCLA and was a member of the football team from 1993-96. Derek, a running back, wide receiver and kick returner, was also the recipient of the Charles Pike Memorial Award in 1992.
The funeral services will be held on Sat., Feb. 14 at Faith Tabernacle A.O.H. Church of God in Richmond, CA Flowers may be sent to Wilson & Kratzer Mortuary at 455 24th Street in Richmond, CA 94804.