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Alfred Lerner

Induction Year: 2003 Sport: Football

A remarkably successful and generous businessman, this transplanted native of Brooklyn, NY brought to his adopted city of Cleveland, a stunning array of values –humanity, generosity, patriotism, leadership and genuine devotion – which assured his name in a permanent place of honor in the city’s annuals. But, while his unparalled support of the healthcare and educational communities built a listing legacy, he will, in all likelihood, be remembered best by the city’s legion of football fans as the man who resurrected their beloved Cleveland Browns by purchasing the dormant franchise in September, 1988 for a then-record sum and working with unswerving determination to rebuild both an organizational infrastructure and a team worthy of the Browns’ proud tradition. The process was not without obstacles, but the team seemed headed toward a resumption of its once-familiar role as a perennial playoff team when Mr. Lerner passed away in October, 2002. Dedicating the season to his memory, the Browns provided their popular leader with the most appropriate farewell gift they could muster by powering their way into the playoffs for the first time since their return to the league. Mr. Lerner is survived by his wife, Norma, two sons and seven grandchildren. His oldest son, Randy, succeeded him as president, keeping the quiet Lerner touch in plane with the city’s favorite football team and assuring its continuing presence in the city of its birth.