August 1, 2005 by

Ray Oldham


Categories: Sports

Ray “Bob” Oldham, a former NFL cornerback who won a Super Bowl ring with the Pittsburgh Steelers, died on July 23. Cause of death was not released. He was 54.

Although he was short and rail thin, Oldham played on his high school football team for four years and earned a scholarship to Middle Tennessee State University. There he set the regional record for longest interception by making a 100-yard return in a game against Chattanooga. That 1970 record still stands. Two years later, Oldham was named a runner-up to Jim Youngblood for Ohio Valley Conference defensive player of the year.

An eighth round draft pick, Oldham played for the Baltimore Colts from 1973 to 1977. He spent the 1978 season with Pittsburgh as a member of the “Steel Curtain Defense,” and won a Super Bowl ring when the Steelers beat the Dallas Cowboys 35-31.

Oldham was traded to the New York Giants for one season, then finished his 10-year professional football career playing three seasons with the Detroit Lions. The 6-foot, 193-pound defensive back started 62 games and made 14 interceptions in the NFL, including two returned for touchdowns.

Since his retirement, Oldham has run a stock brokerage firm and an upscale dry cleaning/laundry franchise, and worked as a motivational speaker. He was inducted into the Middle Tennessee State University Blue Raider Hall of Fame in 1983 and into the Pittsburg Hall of Fame in 2004. Oldham was training for a 40-mile bicycle marathon when he died.

Watch Oldham (#23) Make an Interception, Touchdown

8 Responses to Ray Oldham

  1. Tom Kirkham

    I have know Ray since childhood and we use to play together as kids, he was one hell of a competative athelete, and one great guy, we will all miss him

  2. Randy

    I went to high school with Ray Oldham. He went to MTSU one year before me. I was at MTSU for one semester as a student trainer. Ray and I were friends even though I had not seen him in over 35 years. He was very competitive. On a college team back then equipment managers and student trainers were not always treated well by some of the players. Ray

  3. Arlene

    Mr. Oldham was a very popular sports figure in my hometown in Tennessee. Especially when I was a teenager in High School, and loved football and the Colts. I did not know him personally, however, he was the featured speaker at Polk County High School for our Annual Sports Banquet in 1976. I was a Cheerleader, and managed to inspire my Father and brothers to love football also. In part, due to the enthusiasm and message of Mr. Oldham at that event. As a result, my younger brother played football throughout his middle and high school years. Mr. Oldham had a big part in my interest in professional sports, and is well remembered. After 20 years, I still have a copy of the Banquet Program with his signature on the back page among my treasured memorabilia from my very impressionable high school years.


    Although it has been almost 2 years since Ray’s passing the children and I miss him everyday. He was loving and kind to everyone. There is no better example of a good father than Ray. His presence is felt often. I know we will all be reunited in eternal life, what a great day that will be. We love and miss you Ray.

    • Jimmy Robinson

      I don’t know if you will remember me. This is Jimmy Robinson, Ray’s former teammate with the NYG. I am embarrassed to say that I never knew of his passing until this morning. It’s hard to believe how we lose touch with our former friends and teammates. I hope that you are well as well as your son and daughter. We live in Atlanta, I am retired from 30 years of coaching, mostly in the NFL. If you should receive this, I can be reached at or 920-737-0667. All the best. Jimmy

  5. Kristen Michelle

    My father Ray was one hell of a football player, and a competative athelete! I looked up to him everday…My Dad is my hero and always will be! I told myself at age 7 that i wanted to be just like my Dad. I am thankful to have such a great atheltic background, because he is how i got through sports, but most of all he is why i always wanted to take first, and felt like i could never finish second! I love my Dad for teaching me to not sit and wait for something i want, to go out there and get it! I will walk in his footsteps forever! And i wilol miss him everyday! He was not only my Father, but he was also my bestfriend and hero! I will aways be your LIL GIRL!!!
    ~Ray with hair~

  6. Tim

    I feel lucky to be able to call Ray a friend. He touched my life in a very special way. Although our friendship was brief, Ray’s impact and genuine compassion will stay with me forever. Ray showed me that it was ok to let your friends and family know that you loved them. I was blessed to have Ray touch my life and I’m sure that everyone that know him felt the same. We miss you buddy!

  7. Steve Cooke

    I had met Ray when he was playing for the Giants in 1979 when he was renting a basement on a neighbor of mine in Lodi, NJ. My father had informed me that a Giant was living across the street from my home, and had met him one day when I and a few kids were playing whiffle ball in the street. I approached him after he had parked his car, and was very polite and courteous to me. I’m sorry to hear of his passing in 2005.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *