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Remembering Charlie Wedemeyer

PHOTO (Michigan State Athletics): Charlie Wedemeyer was an all-purpose quarterback, flanker and holder.

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“Spartan Verses” was a book of poems by Michigan State’s Pat Gallinagh, an Academic All-American defensive lineman on the Spartans’ 1965 and 1966 national championship teams.

The Polynesian Football Hall of Fame inducted Charlie Wedemeyer, a three-year Michigan State letterman, 1966-68, on Jan. 21 in his home state of Hawaii.


Feb. 19, 1946-June 3, 2010

Punahou School, Michigan State, Los Gatos High coach


By Pat Gallinagh, Michigan State, Class of 1967

He was from the Islands, one of Hawaii’s most famous sons

Following in the footsteps of Lopes, Kenney & Apisa, some powerful Spartan guns

He came to the banks of the Red Cedar without even breaking stride

For he was a great all-around athlete with a smile a mile wide

He came to East Lansing with his high school sweetheart by his side

Charlie & Lucy would stay together until the day he died

Theirs was a love story for the ages, one to make grown men cry

They took their vow for better or worse and never uttered a mournful sigh

He was nicknamed after the Hawaiian “god of lightening” and packed a nasty punch

He played on one of State’s greatest teams confirming Duffy’s hunch

Even though he was small in stature, he was a perfect fit

For the Green & White of 66 and brother could he hit

In that fabled season, he was part on one incredibly crucial play

Catching Dick Kenney’s only pass and keeping Ohio State at bay

Though he was recruited as a quarterback, he always put the team first

When he was moved to wide receiver, he could still pass on the end reverse

He was loved by teammates but by his classmates even more

And his coaches loved the way he played no matter what the final score

As he ventured forth in life, he was guided by his character and faith

He always kept his chin up high accompanied by his steadfast mate

In his senior year he was voted State’s Most Outstanding Back

He and Berlinski ‘The Bobsey Twins” helped form a potent offensive attack

He played in the East – West Shrine game and got a hero’s welcome home

Where he starred in the Hula Bowl where he let his talents be shown

Once he found his calling, he became a high school football coach

He was destined for greatness but not through the normal approach

He is probably the most inspirational Spartan to have ever lived

Tho his ordeal was not his choosing a titanic struggle he would give

In his early 30’s he was stricken with an illness named after baseball’s Iron Man

Lou Gehrig’s disease is a merciless foe that spares no one is strikes across this land

He continued coaching even when forced to use a wheelchair

And when a tracheotomy robbed him of his voice, his players didn’t despair

He led Los Gatos HS  to the California Sectional championship with Lucy at his side

Reading his lips relaying his plays which did this game decide

The Wedemeyer’s  were immortalized in a documentary, books and a TV movie too

Charlie became a living legend for the decades he defied ALS’s deadly rule

He was voted as the best prep athletes of the sixties in the Aloha state

And one of Hawaii’s fifty greatest sports celebrities of this there can be no debate

His legacy will be way he faced adversary with courage and true grit

Together the Wedemeyers choose happiness over misery and didn’t know the meaning of quit



What is a Spartan? By Pat Gallinagh

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