Don Shinnick, 68; Football Star at UCLA and With NFL’s Colts

Times Staff Writer

Don Shinnick, who played 13 years as linebacker for the Baltimore Colts and was the first player from UCLA to play in a Super Bowl, died Tuesday at a rest home in Modesto of a degenerative brain disease. He was 68.

Shinnick had 37 career interceptions with the Colts from 1957 to 1969, still an NFL record for a linebacker. He played on the Colts’ championship teams of 1958 and 1959.

The 1958 game, in which the Colts defeated the New York Giants, 23-17, in sudden-death overtime, is considered by many to be the greatest game in NFL history.


After retiring as a player, he served as an assistant coach with the Chicago Bears, St. Louis Cardinals, Oakland Raiders and New England Patriots, retiring after the 1990 season.

Born in Kansas City, Mo., Shinnick grew up in San Pedro, graduating from San Pedro High.

He played on UCLA’s 1954 national championship team and was a second-round draft choice of the Colts in 1957.

He was the first Bruin to play in a Super Bowl, when the Colts lost to Joe Namath and the New York Jets in 1969.

Shinnick was inducted into the California Community College Sports Hall of Fame in 1995 for his playing and coaching at Los Angeles Valley College.

For the last six years, he had been struggling with frontal lobe dementia, a condition similar to Alzheimer’s disease.

Shinnick is survived by his wife, Marsha, and sons Joel, Josh, Peter, Adam and Chris.

Funeral arrangements were pending.