Tuesday, June 16, 2009

An All-Time Great

Bill Wazevich never joined Marty Domres in the NFL... but he should have

DAY 96: Bill Wazevich

No discussion of wide receivers in Columbia history should exclude Bill Wazevich '70.

Wazevich was QB Marty Domres' favorite target for two seasons, but he was much more than just a small cog in a combo.

Wazevich caught 45 passes for 593 yards in 1967; in his varsity career he caught 102 passes for 1,336 yards, then an Ivy League record. His 214 receiving yards against Princeton in 1967 still is a Columbia record and was an Ivy League record at the time. That game was a heartbreaker loss, as it came during Columbia's long losing streak to the Tigers that stretched from 1946 until 1971.

The Ohio native then made the jump to the NFL, getting signed by the Cleveland Browns and putting up a Hell of a fight to get a slot on the team before he finally was cut.

Here's a fantastic local newspaper piece about Wazevich's struggle to make the Browns that I recently found.

Wazevich went into finance instead, becoming a vice president at Merrill Lynch.

In 2002, he died at the way too young age of 54. When I interviewed Domres during the 2007 season, Marty said Wazevich's was still too new, painful, and raw to talk about.

But it's easier to talk about what he did as a student, athlete and an alum. He excelled at all those roles.

After football, he still had a career in sports. He was a very well-respected high school basketball official for boys’ and girls’ games. He worked district and regional tournaments and officiated in three state tournaments in Ohio.


At Tue Jun 16, 09:27:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bill Wazavich could jump up and catch the ball in his belly over the middle as well as anybody. He was a gutty short yardage possession receiver. Mike Stephens reminds me of him, but Wazavich was somewhat bigger and stronger. On the other hand, Stephens seems to have more speed and is improving all the time. He did a really nice catch and run for the game winning touchdown in the spring scrimmage. Go Lions!

At Wed Jun 17, 03:49:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remeber Wazevich catching an 80 yard TD against Princeton on the first play from scrimmage.

At Mon Sep 21, 01:40:00 PM GMT+7, Blogger chadd said...

Bill Wazavich is my uncle, he taught me a lot about sports and everything and i miss him so much and everything he did lives through me and everyone he knew in his life. His football career doesn't give justice to the man he was to everyone, i never met a person like him and i cant wait until the day i see him again,

see you someday uncle bill
your newphew chad


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