Sad News: QB Jerry Waldvogel [1953-2009]

The Bootleg marks the sudden and sad passing of a memorable former football player. Jerry Waldvogel, who played quarterback on the Farm from 1971-75 during the controversial Jack Christiansen era. A highly accomplished and popular biology professor at Clemson, Waldvogel's loss comes as a painful shock to the many who knew and loved him. Rest in peace, pal! You were a Stanford man all the way!

Still mourning the tragic loss of our dear friend Vince Mulroy, it is with great sadness that we note the too-soon passing of another former Stanford football favorite, quarterback: Jerry Alan Waldvogel '76.

Jerry died of a massive heart attack on May 30, 2009, at the tender age of 55. He was a free spirit, a fine student and very good football player. Many will recall that he was part of Jack Christiansen's infamous, three-headed "Mike Cordova-Guy Benjamin-Jerry Waldvogel" quarterback "competitive situation", a controversial topic the discussion of which surely would have dominated the BootBoards, had such things existed from 1973 to 1975. Jerry was known and widely admired for having handled the difficult depth chart situation with poise, maturity and class. 

Jerry was born on Christmas Eve, 1953 in Honolulu, Hawaii, but grew up in San Diego where he attended Kearny High School and won a CIF title as a junior. He would have just one college start, a very respectable outing as a redshirt senior in 1974 in which he completed 21 of 40 passes for 229 yards and a TD in Stanford's 27-14 loss at home against Michigan (attended on a warm and clear, 70-degree day by just 52,500 in an 83,866-seat Stanford Stadium). Under Waldvogel, the Cardinal(s) led at the half and almost pulled off a significant upset of the visiting Wolverines. #15 connected with senior fullback Scott Laidlaw on a seven-yard scoring pass early in the fourth quarter to bring the score to 20-14 and Michigan didn't put the game away until the final minute of the game. Unfortunately, a shoulder separation caused him to miss all but one day of the spring session in 1975 and after attempting just six passes during his fifth-year senior season in 1975, he never played football again.

From personal experience, I can say that Jerry was a really wonderful, engaging guy and a unique character. My family and I had the pleasure of knowing Jerry quite well while he was a student-athlete at Stanford. He was in our Menlo Park home on multiple occasions (for Thanksgiving, Easter, etc.)

After his Stanford days, Jerry earned a Ph.D. in behavioral biology from Cornell University, did post-grad study at Penn, joined the Clemson University faculty in 1989, and over the next twenty years became an award-winning and very popular, if quirky biology professor, playing 70s-era rock and roll for his students as they entered class. An accomplished, but fun-loving academic, he was known to dress up as Charles Darwin.

Jerry is survived by his wife, Sherry Savage Waldvogel and a daughter, Sarah Marie Waldvogel, 13; his mother, Alice Waldvogel, of San Diego; and three brothers, Jack, Jim and Jeff Waldvogel. 

Our thoughts are with the entire Waldvogel family during this time of sorrow. Condolences may be sent to the family home at 233 Lay Bridge Road, Central, SC 29630. Contributions to a fund for the future education of Waldvogel's 13-year-old daughter Sarah can be made at any BB&T bank branch or mailed to: Sarah Waldvogel Education Fund, BB&T, 1070 Tiger Boulevard, Clemson, SC 29631.

A few links for those interested in learning more about Jerry's wonderful life: I strongly recommend reading the nice tributes in the virtual memorial section, which include words from former teammates Alex Karakozoff, Mark Hoaglin, and others and his senior honors thesis advisor - former Stanford President Donald Kennedy.

Beloved Clemson biology professor understood that life is precious 

Virtual Memorial 

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