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Craig Fertig - 1942-2008

While we celebrate the big win over Oregon our celebration is a tempered with the loss of Trojan Great Craig Fertig

From The Daily News.

Craig Fertig, a record-setting quarterback for USC's teams of the 1960s who went on to be one of John McKay's top assistants and later a broadcaster on the Trojans' TV telecast, died Saturday of kidney failure. He was 66.

Fertig had been battling poor health the past several years. He died at Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian in Newport Beach.

"He embodied what it meant to be a Trojan," USC athletic director Mike Garrett said in a release. "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."

Fertig was a teammate of Garrett's in 1963 and 1964, when the quarterback set eight USC passing records. Fertig was also a member of USC's 1962 national championship team.

Fertig is remembered for throwing the winning touchdown pass to Rod Sherman in the final two 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.

He helped lead USC to two national titles and six championship games as an assistant coach to McKay from 1965 to 1973. After stints as the head coach at Oregon State (1976-79) and West Coast talent scout for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (under McKay), Fertig in 1992 began an 11-year run as an analyst on the Prime Ticket broadcasts of Trojans' football with Tom Kelly.

Here is a little more from the LAT.

Even after his official connection with the university ended several years ago, Fertig was a welcome presence, always ready with a story or joke told in the dry wit of his former coach, the legendary John McKay.

"Craig knew everybody, and everybody knew Craig," said Athletic Director Mike Garrett, who played alongside Fertig in the early 1960s. "He was one of the great storytellers."

Fertig was a sophomore playing behind Pete Beathard and Bill Nelson on the 1962 team, which went undefeated and won a national championship. He started only one season, in 1964, but threw one of the most memorable passes in school history.

That fall, undefeated Notre Dame arrived at the Coliseum with quarterback John Huarte, who had won the Heisman Trophy a few days earlier.

The Irish built a 17-0 lead, but USC scrambled back in the second half, closing the gap to four points, then driving to within 15 yards of the end zone in the final two minutes. On fourth down, Fertig completed a slant pass to Rod Sherman for the winning touchdown.

I can just imagine his interactions with John McKay. I would also love to hear Alan Page's thoughts once he heard of Fertig's passing. There have to be some incredible back stories in a game like that.

We pass on our deepest sympathies to the Fertig Family.

Fight On Craig!