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Lawrence Joseph Onesti (November 12, 1938 - July 7, 2018)[1] was a professional American football linebacker[2] in the American Football League. He played four seasons for the Houston Oilers.

Larry Onesti
No. 45
Personal information
Born:(1938-11-12)November 12, 1938
Chicago, Illinois
Died:July 9, 2018(2018-07-09) (aged 79)
Career information
NFL Draft:1962 / Round: 8 / Pick: 110
AFL draft:1962 / Round: 9 / Pick: 71
Career history
Career NFL statistics
Games played:38
Fumble recoveries:1
Player stats at

Onesti was a three-year football letterman for the Northwestern University Wildcats from 1959–61, and one of the first NU football players to be named Academic All-America. He won the honor in 1961, following his senior season. As a captain for the 1961 squad, Onesti also was named All-America, All- Big Ten, and Academic All-Big Ten. He is one of only three NU football players to be named both All-America and Academic All-America in the same season. He participated in the 1961 North–South Shrine Game, where he was name MVP for the North team, as well as the 1962 Coaches' All-America Game and the 1962 College All-Star Game. Onesti was a ninth round draft pick of the Houston Oilers in 1962 and played four seasons in the AFL.

Professor Onesti taught for many years at Indiana University Bloomington in the faculty of Geography. He was a popular member of the faculty with his students.

Larry attended Assumption College High School in Windsor, Ontario, and was awarded many honors there including a Kiwanis award for outstanding high school student in the Chicago area. It was at Assumption that he would begin to play football, a sport that would be part of his life for many years. Larry then went on to college studies at Northwestern University where he played linebacker and was one of the first football players to make Academic All American and was later inducted into the Northwester Hall of Fame. At Northwestern he studied Education and met his future wife, June Skowronski.

After graduating from Northwestern in 1962, he was drafted by the Chicago Bears and the Houston Oilers but chose to play for the Oilers because the salary was $1000 more (which always amused him). He and June married in 1964 and moved to Houston where he was a linebacker for the Oilers for four seasons. After his pro football career, he went to Michigan State University where he earned an M.A. in Geology and Geography in 1969. In 1973 he earned a Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin. After earning his Ph.D., Larry held postdoctoral teaching positions at the University of Wisconsin, UCLA and the State University of New York at Buffalo. In 1976, he joined the Indiana University Bloomington faculty where he forged a distinguished career as a teacher and researcher, first as an Associate Professor of Geography and then as Professor of Geological Sciences in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences (formerly Geology). Later in his IU career, he moved to the School of Continuing Studies where he served as Associate Dean of Academic Programs and Principal of Indiana University High School. His IU career spanned 23 years.

Throughout his career Larry received numerous academic and athletic awards as well as fellowships from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at California Institute of Technology and the Goddard Space Flight Center. His University service at IU ranged from serving on the University Athletic Committee and the Bloomington Faculty Council and being an advisor and mentor for the Briscoe Fellows Program. During his career as a geologist researching hydrology and sedimentation, Larry wrote and presented numerous research papers and pursued projects in Russia, China, Mexico, Japan and throughout the United States. He also served as a consultant to the Navajo Nation on mine restoration in Tsaile, Arizona, and as an evaluator of avalanche activity and dynamics for the Alyeska Pipeline in Anchorage, Alaska. In 1992, he was invited by the government of the Kyrgyz Republic (former Soviet Union) to serve as a geological evaluator.

During their marriage of 54 years, Larry and June raised four children and traveled all over the world. Larry was a passionately devoted father to his four children and a loving husband to June. Over the years he made many friends and often heard from football card collectors requesting his autograph.


  1. ^ "Lawrence Joseph Onesti". Retrieved 2018-08-15.
  2. ^ Boyles, Bob; Guido, Paul (2007-08-01). 50 Years of College Football: A Modern History of America's Most Colorful Sport. Skyhorse Publishing Inc. pp. 1064–. ISBN 9781602390904. Retrieved 7 May 2012.