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OBITUARIES / Passings / Roland Ortmayer

University of La Verne coach

October 10, 2008|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Roland Ortmayer, 91, longtime football coach at the University of La Verne, died Thursday at Hillcrest Homes retirement community in La Verne after battling pneumonia, the school announced.

Ortmayer was hired to coach football and baseball at what was then La Verne College in 1948. When he stepped down as football coach at the end of the 1990 season, he had compiled a record of 182-193-8 at the Division III level and had been named to the National Assn. of Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame.

He retired from the university the next year, having also served as athletic director and overseen the basketball and track and field programs. Ortmayer Stadium on the La Verne campus is named after him.

Win-loss records were not paramount to Ortmayer, who also taught various courses at the small liberal arts college. He didn't require attendance at practices, didn't use a playbook and didn't mind if his players had time for other extracurricular activities and studying.

Ortmayer was born Aug. 22, 1917, in College Park, Md., the son of a Methodist missionary. He grew up in Montana and graduated in 1941 from Northwestern University, where he participated in football, basketball, and track and field.

Because he was a conscientious objector during World War II, he served on public service projects before arriving at La Verne.

During summers, he returned to his Montana roots to teach a class called "When Lewis and Clark Met the Mountains," leading students on a monthlong trek following the explorers' route, using kayaks, rafts and canoes.

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