Joe Ruetz, 86, former athletic director at Stanford University credited with launching Bill Walsh's career as a head football coach, died Jan. 2 at Stanford Hospital of an apparent heart attack.
One of seven children, Ruetz was born in Wisconsin but grew up in South Bend, Ind. He attended Notre Dame, where he played guard and one season of quarterback on the football team. During World War II, he was a physical education instructor and pilot in the Navy. Later, while studying at the University of Chicago, he played two seasons for the Chicago Rockets of the All America Football Conference.