Wayne Erdelack ’68 was a character, larger than life. He was a truly great guy, a born leader, a family man, and one helluva football player.
I first met Wayne in the fall of 1964 on the freshman football team. He was a tough kid from the north side of Pittsburgh. We became good friends, roommates, and fraternity brothers and played alongside each other on the field for four years. Wayne, who played center, loved Rochester football. Cocaptain, along with Dave Ragusa ’68, ’76W (Mas), in our senior year, he never missed a single offensive play over that four-year period.
Wayne was a spirited teammate. Each week he would play the 1812 Overture, just prior to the start of the game, to get us all in the mood. This was a 10-inch 78-RPM record, long before iPods. Wayne would also remove the bridge holding his front teeth before each game, making himself quite a sight for the opposing defensive lineman. During our senior year we played against an excellent Amherst team coached by the legendary Jim Ostendarp. At the end of the game, which we won, Wayne approached the coach and yelled, “How do you like the score, Jungle Jim?” Coach Ostendarp was speechless.
I also remember Wayne with his motorcycle, which he rode to school each year from Pittsburgh. He loved the movie The Wild Ones, starring Marlon Brando, and Wayne and his motorcycle were inseparable despite the Rochester weather.
Wayne went on to serve in the Army, graduated from Case Western Reserve University law school, and had a distinguished career as corporate counsel for Nestle. He passed away in November at his home in Cleveland, surrounded by his wife, Barbara, and sons Drew and Wesley.
Drew Mittelman ’68 and I remained in touch with Wayne over the years. We visited with him the weekend before he passed. We reminisced about the time we all saw the movie Animal House together with our wives in 1978. We were the only people laughing hysterically. We had lived it together.
—Larry Brodney ’68
Brodney is founder and president of Brodney & Sons, a commercial flooring company in Waltham, Mass. He played tackle on the Yellowjackets football team.