Updated Sunday, 7:55 a.m.
The Hampton family has lost one of its own, and they, along with the Jets family, are in mourning today.
Bill Hampton Jr., 51, the Jets’ assistant equipment manager from 1984-92, died of a heart attack Wednesday night en route to the airport following the ESPY Awards in Los Angeles.
“Billy left us way too early,” said Marty Lyons, the Jets radio analyst who knew Hampton well from Lyons’ playing days with the Jets. “He was just a very good person, a loyal friend, and he had a contagious personality. He could make you laugh, and he was always supportive.
“I guess the way I try to understand it is that the Good Lord needed to take a good friend for his own. That’s what Billy was to so many people. He was a good friend.”
Hampton, who worked for UnderArmour since 2006, came to the Jets as part of the Hampton family business. Father Bill Sr., the Jets’ longtime equipment manager, brought Bill Jr. to Weeb Ewbank Hall, the team’s Hofstra University headquarters, to assist him in the daily operation of the equipment room in 1984.
Billy also assisted with training camp operations and complex maintenance and was active in recruiting players for charity events. He became an executive with NFL Properties and then with Cleveland when the Browns returned to the field in 1999 before moving on to UnderArmour.
“The Hamptons have been a part of the Jets for a long time,” general manager Mike Tannenbaum said today. “Even though I arrived here after Bill left, I knew him and I was well aware of the great background that he came from. Our thoughts and prayers here at the Jets go out to the Hampton family for their tragic loss.”
Bill Sr. has a daughter, Beth Ann, and all five of his sons worked for the Jets in the early Nineties. Clay, in his 22nd season with the Jets, is the Green & White’s former equipment manager and currently their senior director of operations. Drew has been the Jacksonville Jaguars’ equipment manager since 1998. Brian and Derek also worked for the Jets at that time.
We extend our condolences to the Hampton family.
A tribute to Bill will take place at the Higgins and Bonner Echo Lake Funeral Home at 582 Springfield Ave., Westfield, N.J., on Tuesday, July 19, from 7-9 p.m., and Wednesday from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Thursday at 11 a.m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Westfield. Interment will follow at Fairview Cemetery, also in Westfield.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorial donations be made in Bill Hampton’s memory to the St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, Memorial and Honors Program, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis TN 38105, or online at www.stjude.org.
Tags: Bill Hampton Jr., Bill Hampton Sr., Clay Hampton, Cleveland Browns, Drew Hampton, Jacksonville Jaguars, Mike Tannenbaum, UnderArmour
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