USD Faces an Ortmayer Who Plays at Low Key

University of San Diego football Coach Brian Fogarty called last week’s 20-16 loss to Occidental the best game his team has played this year.

The Toreros (3-3) moved the ball well, played good defense, had no turnovers and came within inches of winning when a fourth-down pass from the Occidental 7 was incomplete in the end zone with less than 30 seconds left.

This afternoon, USD will have to be equally prepared when it travels to La Verne University. The Leopards, after dropping their first 4 games, have scored back-to-back victories over Claremont-Mudd and Pomona-Pitzer.

But what worries Fogarty most about La Verne is its director of football operations, if you will: Roland Ortmayer, an uncle of the Chargers’ Steve Ortmayer.


Ortmayer, 71, has been the coach at La Verne for 41 years, including 3 years when Steve was a center. In addition, he has served as athletic director and track coach for the past 30 years and was the basketball coach for 15 years and the baseball coach for 10.

“He’s an institution at La Verne,” says Steve Ortmayer.

Roland graduated in 1940 from Northwestern, where he was a single-wing tailback in football, a guard in basketball and a pole vaulter/hurdler in track. “Football in those days . . . they wanted you to run, pass and kick,” he said. “I was more of a stumble, tumble and fumble kind of player. I guess I wasn’t destined to be great.”

Ortmayer was destined to teach. But he is not your typical coach, college or otherwise.


For instance, Ortmayer has no playbook, does not use headphones or spotters in the press box, rarely looks at films, does not recruit players, never cuts anyone, teaches 8-10 classes per year, gets plenty of sleep, knows his wife, isn’t fanatical about about winning and loves what he’s doing.

“He believes you come to La Verne because you want to go to college, not because you want to play football,” Steve Ortmayer says. “He runs the kind of program where they lay it out for you. If you want to succeed and do well, it’s there for you. If you want to take football as just one of the many activities at La Verne, that’s there for the taking, too.”

“I don’t like to have anyone come to La Verne to play football,” Roland Ortmayer says. “I want him to come to college.