Craig Fertig Dies
Oct. 4, 2008
Craig Fertig, the popular and glib former USC quarterback, assistant coach, athletic department administrator and football television analyst whose involvement with the Trojans spanned 5 decades, died this morning (Saturday, Oct. 4) in Newport Beach, Calif., of kidney failure. He was 66.
Information is pending about a memorial service at USC, as well as a USC scholarship fund in his name.
'The entire Trojan Family is saddened to learn of the passing of one of the great Trojans, Craig Fertig,' said USC athletic director Mike Garrett, who was a teammate of Fertig's in 1963 and 1964. 'Craig meant so much to USC. Not only was he an outstanding quarterback, coach and administrator, but he was a connection to the John McKay era of Trojan football and he spent his entire life representing USC. He embodied what it meant to be a Trojan. Craig knew everybody and everybody knew Craig. He was one of the great storytellers and we all loved listening to his anecdotes delivered with his well-known sense of humor. We'll miss him dearly. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.'
Fertig will long be remembered for throwing the winning touchdown pass to Rod Sherman in the final 2 minutes of the 1964 game against Notre Dame to lead USC back from a 17-point halftime deficit and upset the unbeaten, top-ranked Irish.
A 3-year letterman (1962-64), he set 8 USC passing records when he started in 1964 (he was Troy's co-captain that year). He was a member of USC's 1962 national championship team.
He then served as a Trojan assistant coach to John McKay from 1965 to 1973 as USC won 2 national titles and made 6 Rose Bowl trips.
He spent 1974 as an assistant with the Portland Storm of the World Football League, returned to USC as an assistant for the 1975 season, then was the head football coach at Oregon State from 1976 to 1979.
After that, Fertig was the West Coast talent scout for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers until returning to USC as an assistant athletic director involved in fundraising from 1983 to 1990. He then became assistant athletic director for development at UC Irvine.
From 1992 to 2003, he was the analyst on FOX Sports Net West 2's cable broadcasts of Trojan football games and also was a contributor on the network's USC Sports Magazine Show.
He then was the head football coach at Estancia High in Costa Mesa, Calif., for 2 years.
He was inducted into the USC Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001.
He is survived by son Marc, mother Virginia, sister Trudi Fertig Marinovich, nephew Todd Marinovich (a former USC and NFL quarterback) and niece Traci Marinovich Grove, as well as his special friend Margaret O'Donnell and his ex-wife Nancy Fertig. His daughter, Jennifer, died in 2002.