On This Day

January 1979 in Sports History

Events in Sport

  • Jan 1 65th Rose Bowl: #3 Southern California beats #5 Michigan, 17-10
  • Jan 1 45th Sugar Bowl: #2 Alabama beats #1 Penn State, 14-7
  • Jan 1 45th Orange Bowl: #4 Oklahoma beats #6 Nebraska, 31-24
  • Jan 1 John Y. Brown attends his first game as owner of the Boston Celtics NBA franchise after trading the Buffalo Braves to previous Celtics owner, Irving H. Levin
  • Jan 2 Australian Open Women's Tennis: unseeded Australian Christine O'Neil wins her first and only Grand Slam event; beats American Betsy Nagelsen 6-3, 7-6

Sport awardAustralian Men's Tennis Open

Jan 3 Australian Open Men's Tennis: Guillermo Vilas of Argentina wins 3rd Grand Slam title; beats Australian John Marks 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3

Tennis Player and Four-Time Major Champion Guillermo Vilas
Tennis Player and Four-Time Major Champion
Guillermo Vilas
  • Jan 7 AFC Championship, Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh Steelers beat Houston Oilers, 34-5
  • Jan 7 NFC Championship, LA Memorial Coliseum Dallas Cowboys beat Los Angeles Rams, 28-0

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jan 9 Bobby Orr's #4 jersey is retired by the Boston Bruins

Ice Hockey Legend Bobby Orr
Ice Hockey Legend
Bobby Orr

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jan 14 John McEnroe wins his first of 3 season-ending ATP Masters Grand Prix tennis titles 6–7, 6–3, 7–5 against fellow American Arthur Ashe at Madison Square Garden, NYC

Tennis Player John McEnroe
Tennis Player
John McEnroe
Tennis Player Arthur Ashe
Tennis Player
Arthur Ashe

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jan 14 Puerto Rican boxer Wilfred Benitez beats WBC welterweight champion Carlos Palomino of Mexico in a 15-round split decision in San Juan, Puerto Rico; becomes two-division champion at the age of 20

  • Jan 21 Super Bowl XIII, Miami Orange Bowl, Miami, FL: Pittsburgh Steelers beat Dallas Cowboys, 35-31; MVP: Terry Bradshaw, Pittsburgh, QB

Hall of fameHall of Fame

Jan 23 NY/SF Giants / New York Mets center fielder Willie Mays elected to Baseball Hall of Fame

MLB Legend Willie Mays
MLB Legend
Willie Mays
  • Jan 27 Islanders ends 23 undefeated games at home streak (15-0-8)
  • Jan 29 NFL Pro Bowl, LA Memorial Coliseum: NFC beats AFC, 13-7; MVP: Ahmad Rashād, Minnesota Vikings, WR

Birthdays in Sport

  • Jan 4 Tristan Gommendy, French racing driver, born in Le Chesnay, Yvelines
  • Jan 5 Ronnie O'Brien, Irish footballer, born in Bray, County Wicklow
  • Jan 8 Adrian Mutu, Romanian footballer, born in Călinești, Romania
  • Jan 8 Stipe Pletikosa, Croatian footballer, born in Split, Croatia
  • Jan 8 Seol Ki-hyeon, South Korean footballer, born in Jeongseon County, South Korea
  • Jan 12 Jenny Schmidgall, American ice hockey forward (USA, Olympics 1998), born in Saint Paul, Minnesota
  • Jan 12 Grzegorz Rasiak, Polish footballer, born in Szczecin, Poland

Person of interestDrew Brees

Jan 15 Drew Brees, American football quarterback (Super Bowl MVP 2009, New Orleans Saints; 13 x Pro Bowl; 7 × NFL passing yards leader), born in Austin, Texas

NFL Quarterback Drew Brees
NFL Quarterback
Drew Brees
  • Jan 15 Martin Petrov, Bulgarian footballer, born in Vratsa, Bulgaria
  • Jan 16 Brenden Morrow, Canadian ice hockey player, born in Carlyle, Canada
  • Jan 16 Jason Ward, Canadian ice hockey player, born in Chapleau, Canada
  • Jan 16 Jimmy Walker, American golfer (PGA C'ship 2016), born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • Jan 18 Paulo Ferreira, Portuguese footballer, born in Cascais, Portugal
  • Jan 18 Brian Gionta, American ice hockey player, born in Rochester, New York
  • Jan 18 Kenyatta Jones, American football player, born in Gainesville, Florida
  • Jan 19 Josu Sarriegi, Spanish football player, born in Lazkao, Spain
  • Jan 19 Svetlana Khorkina, Russian gymnast, born in Belgorod, Russia
  • Jan 21 Byung-Hyun Kim, Korean baseball player
  • Jan 21 Brian O'Driscoll, Irish rugby union footballer
  • Jan 23 Larry Hughes, American basketball player, born in St. Louis, Missouri
  • Jan 23 Juan Rincón, Venezuelan baseball player, born in Maracaibo, Venezuela
  • Jan 25 Pi Hongyan, Chinese-born French badminton player, born in Chonqing, China
  • Jan 25 Gabe Jennings, American distance runner, born in California
  • Jan 27 Rodrigo Ribeiro, Brazilian racing driver, born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • Jan 27 Liesbet Van Breedam, Belgian beach volleyball player
  • Jan 27 Daniel Vettori, New Zealand cricketer
  • Jan 28 Ali Boulala, Swedish skateboarder
  • Jan 29 Sui Feifei, Chinese basketball player, born in Qingdao, China
  • Jan 30 Karen Smith, Australian hockey player (Olympics 1996)

Deaths in Sport

  • Jan 22 Ali Hassan Salameh [Abu Hassan], killed by car bomb; believed to have helped mastermind massacre of 1972 Munich Olympics athletes