Ex-USC And NFL Fullback Mosi Tatupu Dies

Feb. 24, 2010

Mosi Tatupu, a fullback on USC's 1974 national championship football team who then played 14 years in the NFL, died on Tuesday (Feb. 23) in Attleboro, Mass. He was 54. The cause of his death has yet to be determined.

Tatupu, a native of American Samoa who was a 3-sport star at Punahou High in Honolulu, Hi., lettered 4 years (1974-77) with the Trojans. He ran for 1,277 yards on 223 carries in his career at Troy and was USC's Offensive Player of the Year and Most Inspirational Player in 1977. He played in the 1978 Hula Bowl. USC went 37-10-1 in his career and won 4 bowl games (2 Rose Bowls, plus the Liberty and Bluebonnet Bowls).

He then played in the NFL with the New England Patriots (1978-90) and Los Angeles Rams (1991). He was known for his rugged running style, tough blocking and stellar special teams play, making him a fan favorite. He played in the 1986 Super Bowl and made the Pro Bowl that year. He rushed for 2,415 yards and scored 18 touchdowns in his 13-year Patriots career. He set an NFL record for most games played by a running back (199).

After his playing career, Tatupu was the head football coach at King Philip Regional High in Wrentham, Mass., where he coached his son, Lofa, who later lettered on USC's 2003 and 2004 national championship teams and was a 2004 All-American linebacker. Lofa is now a Pro Bowl linebacker with the NFL's Seattle Seahawks.

The elder Tatupu then was an assistant coach at Curry College in Milton, Mass., from 2002 to 2007.

Besides his son, Lofa, Tatupu is also survived by his ex-wife, Linnea.

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