Arizona Football

Arizona Wildcats Defensive Tackle Ken Giovando, Who Achieved Rare Interception Feat in 1964, Passes Away


Two unique individual achievements took place at Arizona Stadium (then called Varsity Stadium) on the night of Sept. 26, 1964, in the Wildcats’ 39-6 win over WAC rival BYU.

Floyd Hudlow became the only Wildcat to return two punts for a touchdown in one game, including a 69-yard return in which he broke free from nine BYU tacklers who got a hand on him.

Ken Giovando also became the only Wildcat defensive lineman to intercept two passes in one game.

Giovando, a 213-pound tackle from Globe, often played off the line because of his size and versatility. He resembled a linebacker, tracking down two screen passes for interceptions thrown by BYU quarterback Virgil Carter. One interception stopped a drive deep in Arizona territory and the other in the fourth quarter set up Arizona’s last touchdown.

Clipping of 1964 Arizona Daily Star article

According to the Arizona Daily Star game story, when he came off the field following the second interception, his teammates greeted him with “Fullback Giovando” chants.

Giovando, who went on to coach for more than 50 years at the high school and college levels, passed away Thursday at age 76.

He was recognized for his achievement in the 1964 game against BYU when the Wildcats played the Cougars in the 2018 season opener at Arizona Stadium.

“I’ve never heard of a tackle intercepting two passes in one game anywhere, anytime,” Arizona coach Jim LaRue told the Star. “Giovando certainly was alert.”

Ken Giovando

After graduating in 1965, Giovando began his coaching career as the offensive line coach for Arizona’s freshman team. He then coached both the offensive and defensive lines at Amphi High School before becoming the defensive coordinator at Salpointe.

His first collegiate coaching assignment came in 1970 as the defensive coordinator at Towson State. Three years later, he was hired as the offensive coordinator at Scottsdale Community College. In 2001, he was named head coach of the Artichokes. Three years later, he guided them to a conference title and a No. 2 national ranking.

He was replaced as head coach following the 2005 season but remained at the school as a physical education professor. He then served as coach emeritus at Scottsdale.

His son Mike Giovando is a noted Scottsdale-based private quarterback coach and trainer helping development at all levels from youth through the NFL.


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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.

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