The Texas State Fightin’ Armadillos’ family is saddened to announce the passing of former Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator, Wally Riggendorf at the age of 85. Coach Riggendorf was brought in as part of Coach Ed “Straight Arrow” Gennero’s team, which had been tasked with building a team out of the student body after the program was stripped of all scholarships and trophies after an NCAA investigation uncovered massive rules violations.
Players remembered Coach Riggendorf’s tough but fair nature. Charlie Banks remembered Coach Rig’s trying to encourage him by yelling at him “you’re supposed to be hitting a sled, not humping a butterfly!” Banks said he was a bit gruff but you knew that he was trying to make you the best that you could be. Star Armadillo Quarterback, Paul Blake recalls being recruited by Coach Riggendorf in High School and how he came back 16 years later trying to talk him into coming to Texas State. I recall seeing him getting out of his car and after taking a couple of steps and stepping in a cow pie and how he almost fell over. Even though all the players from that team remembered his gruff exterior they all said, that they all knew even back then that it was just for show and that he truly did care about all of them and wanted them to become the best that they could.
Former Armadillo’s Coach Ed “Straight Arrow” Gennero recalled reaching out to Wally about coming to TSU to coach and help him rebuild the program from the actual student body. I was thankful that he accepted the offer, even though it meant turning down a chance to coach his own team in London. Gennero also pointed out that Riggendorf liked to think outside the box. He noted that it was Riggendorf’s idea to bring in Lucy Draper to the team to fill the gaping hole that was the kicker position. But one of the things that he said he would remember the most was that Wally would not hesitate to standup and protects his players. He recalled an incident during their first year with the program, when they broke up a dinner being thrown by boosters. We broke it up and afterwards Wally called me out on how I behaved. And he was right when he told me that I was being too rough on the players and that they were good kids.
Born: January 3, 1930 in Staten Island, New York, USA
Died: December 4, 2015 (age 85) in Los Angeles, California, USA
Robert Loggia had a long and illustrious television and movie acting career that began in 1951. Early on in his career he played the role of Elfego Baca in ten episodes of Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color between 1958 and 1960. He also had the lead role as T. Hewitt Edward Cat in T.H.E. Cat from 1966-67. But it wasn’t until 1978, when his career started to really pick up when he appeared in Revenge of The Pink Panther. Then picked up supporting roles in An Officer and A Gentleman and then supporting roles as Bruno Langois in Trial of the Pink Panther and in Curse of the Pink Panther.
But it wasn’t until he took the part of Miami drug kingpin Frank Lopez in the 1983 remake of Scarface that he really took off. Loggia’s post Scarface rolls included Prizzi’s Honor and a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for his role as Sam Ransom in Jagged Edge. Other notable performances from his career include Armed and Dangerous, Over the Top, The voice of Sykes in Disney’s Oliver and Company, and Independence Day.
But probably my favorite of his films most definitely not the best movies in his catalogue are probably Big which features my favorite scene of his from his long career, where both he and Tom Hanks play a large electronic piano with their feet at F.A.O. Schwartz. But my favorite movie has to be Necessary Roughness, in which he plays Coach Wally Riggendorf who actually has some of the best lines in the movie.