IOWA CITY, Iowa – Former University of Iowa football All-American Curt Merz passed away on April 22, 2022.
Merz, a native of Springfield, New Jersey, was 84. He graduated from Iowa in 1960 with a degree in geography. He enjoyed a radio broadcasting career in Kansas City and Springfield, Missouri, following his playing career.
Merz was a three-year letterman with the Hawkeyes (1957-59), playing an end position on Hawkeye teams that won 20 games during those three seasons. The 1957 Hawkeyes posted a 7-1-1 record and ended the season ranked fifth in the nation by United Press and sixth in the final Associated Press rankings.
Iowa won the Big Ten Conference in 1958, posting an overall 8-1-1 record as Merz earned second-team All-Big Ten honors. Iowa was voted by several media outlets as the mythical national champion that season, which concluded with a 38-12 win over California in the 1959 Rose Bowl. Iowa posted a 5-4 record in 1959 as Merz earned first-team All-America accolades.
Merz was drafted in the third round of the 1960 NFL Draft by Philadelphia and was the first pick of the New York Titans in the 1960 AFL Draft. After beginning his professional career in the Canadian Football League, he returned to Iowa as an assistant coach. He began his AFL career in 1962 with the Texans (who became the Kansas City Chiefs) participating in the first-ever Super Bowl with the Chiefs (1967) before ending his playing career in 1968. He played both offense and defense during his AFL career.
Merz is a member of the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.
Merz was preceded in death by his wife, Marilyn Haas. His survivors include his brother Norman (Nancy), nephew Gary (Elke), niece Donna Lee Freeman (Stephan), grandnieces Anja Merz and Ava Merz, and grandnephew William Freeman.