Born in Italy, Leo Nomellini came to the U.S. as a youngster when his family settled in Minneapolis. He was a three-sport start at the University of Minnesota and was twice named first team All-American in football. He also was a regular on the Gopher wrestling team and was a standout at heavyweight.
As a lineman with the San Francisco 49ers, he played in every game for 14 years and was All-Pro many times. He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the University of Minnesota Athletic Hall of Fame.
Leo Nomellini began wrestling professionally in the off-season and won numerous titles, including the NWA world tag-team title and for a brief period, the NWA singles title. Known as “Leo the Lion” in the ring, he stood six foot three and weighed 250 pounds. He was also a promoter in the San Francisco area for many years.
He died on October 17, 2000.