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October 03, 1980 - Image 13

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1980-10-03

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The Michigan Daily-Friday, October 3, 1 980--Page

Memory of ex-Cal
quarterback lives on

ST

TE STREET

RE

By RON POLLACK
The 1975 season saw Joe Roth
complete 55.8 percent of his passes and
twice as many touchdowns as intercep-
tions, while leading California to a tie
for first place in the old Pac '8 con-
ference with UCLA. The future looked
"right for Roth. However, an unexpec-
ted turn of events took place that
peither Roth nor the California coaches
could have ever foreseen-cancer.
Following the second game of the 1976
season it became apparent that
sonething was wrong, when a set of x-
rays that had been taken of Roth during
bis, pre-season physical were closley
examined. It was not until the end of the
-year that more tests were taken on
Roth.
These tests proved what Roth must
R t
c w.
Roth
. .. cancer victim
have feared throughout the season; the
cancer that had presumably gone away
from his playing days at Grossmont
Junior College had mysteriously retur-
ned.
The form of cancer that Roth had was
known as melanoma which is "... a
malignant disease that starts in the
cells of the skin that are pigmented. It
jf: fatal if it spreads to distant parts of
Athe body. However, people have been
cured by surgery if it is caught early
einough," according to Dr. Michael
"Ffiedman of the University of Califor-
nia Medical Center in San Francisco.
Apparently this disease was not
caught quickly enough as Roth died in
February of 1977.
-The courage that Roth portrayed by
playing during the entire season was
not lost upon the California head coach
who now holds .the same~;position with
the 'University of Illinois, Mike White.
1' He was an amazing individual to have
completed the season despite the fear
that it (the cancer) might have come
-back."
Despite his efforts to ignore the
possibility that he might have cancer,

Roth's performance was nonetheless
affected. In addition to a drop in
passing percentage of 3.6 percent, Roth
was not able to play at the same
physical level as the previous year, ac-
cording to White, "Using hindsight, he
would get tired more easily and he
wasn't as sharp."}
Following the death of Roth, attempts
were made to reward his bravery. In
honor of the California quarterback, an
athletic and a medical research fund
were started.
See more sports, pages 11 and 14
The medical research fund is based
at the University of California Medical
Center in San Francisco. As of now, the
donations made to this fund have not
been put into research.
The fund, which now has over $30,000,
will be put into use this winter. At that
time, the Roth family will be asked
what type of research they want done
with these contributions, and the foun-
dation will then move in that direction.
Also preserving the memory of Joe
Roth is the aforementioned athletic
fund. In addition to donations, this fund
has also benefitted from the California
football team. During the Joe Roth
memorial game in 1977 versus Southern
California, $1 was taken from each
ticket and put into the fund.
The money from the foundation is
used for a grant-and-aid and scholar-
ship fund in Roth's honor. The manner
in which this fund is set up is explained
by the foundation's fund raising coor-
dinator Margo Smith, "The money goes
into an endowment. The interest from-
this investment is then placed into the
grant-and-aid and scholarship fund."
To date there is $145,000 in the fund.
Another testimony to Roth is the
California record book. He currently
holds the Cal records for the longest
pass completion (88 yards) and is tied
with Craig Morton and Rich Campbell
for the -most touchdown passes in a
season (14). Roth had held the record
for the single game passing performan-
ce (380 yards) and was tied for most
pass completions in a game (27) until
this season when Rich Campbell broke
both of them.
Yes, Joe Roth was a truly exceptional
man, and he has not been and will not
be forgotten.

RE

0'

THO

SPECi

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