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Remembering former Cyclone and Detroit Lion Tommy Vaughn

The 1965 Iowa State Male Athlete of the Year passed away on July 5.

1964 Media Guide

Vaughn, the 1964 media guide cover athlete, passed away after battling illness on Sunday, July 5 at 77 years of age.

Vaughn led the team in rushing in 1963 and 1964, while also leading the team in interceptions as a defensive back his senior year. He was one of the last two-way players at Iowa State until Derrick Walker and Joel Lanning both switched from quarterback to linebacker.

“I loved Iowa State,” Vaughn said. “Coming from Ohio I needed to simmer down. But at Iowa State it was seven guys to every one girl. I told Coach Stapleton to go out and recruit some girls when I arrived.” (Quotes from a 2013 interview on

Vaughn was invited to the 1965 Hula Bowl with fellow Cyclone John Berrington and fellow Big Eight back Gale Sayers.

The Detroit Lions drafted him 57th Overall and changed his number from 10 to 48 in 1965. He was also drafted in the 11th Round, 81st Overall in the AFL Draft by the Broncos.

He finished his NFL career with 9 interceptions, 9 fumbles recovered and almost 1600 kick return yards.

Detriot Lions Tackle Brian Piccolo
Bear halfback Brian Piccolo (#41) manages 9 yards running over right tackle before being stopped by Lion Tom Vaughn (#48).

In 1975, Vaughn returned as a running backs coach with Earle Bruce. He also coached for the WFL’s Detroit Wheels, Mizzou and Arizona State.

He left after the 1977 Peach Bowl and eventually became a high school teacher in Phoenix.

The Cyclones inducted him into their Hall of Fame in 2005.