Friday, March 5, 2010

Uncovering DePaul Treasures: Poffo Baseball Alumni Turned Wrestler

Angelo Poffo - 1925-2010

DePaul Baseball Letterwinner and Wrestling Superstar, Performer and Father

(At Left - Graduation picture)

Angelo Poffo's funeral service will be held at St. Joseph Church in Downers Grove, Ill. on Monday, March 10 at 10 a.m. The address is 4824 Highland Ave, Downers Grove, Ill. 60515-3615

With sadness, DePaul University learned that it lost baseball alum Angelo Poffo on March 4, 2010. Poffo was a 1950 graduate of DePaul's School of Education, earning his degree in Physical Education. In his obituary, it notes that Poffo played baseball for the Blue Demons.

Poffo served in the US Navy before attending DePaul University.  His determination and athleticism was exhibited by his July 4, 1945 record-breaking 6,033 consecutive sit-ups. He was featured in Ripley's Believe it or Not for his effort.

Poffo became one of the biggest names in professional wrestling with his work as a wrestler, a promoter and ultimately as father to two famous wrestlers. As a wrestler, he held multiple titles, including the NWA United States Heavyweight Championship in 1958. He was active as a wrestler into the 1980s and was inducted into the WCW Hall of Fame in 1995.

As a promoter, he ran International Championship Wrestling from 1979-83 in Kentucky.

Poffo and his wife Judy Sverdlin met at DePaul. Two of his sons, Randy "Macho Man" Savage and "Leaping" Lanny Poffo continued his legacy on the mat.

After a brief career as a minor league baseball player, Randy "Macho Man" Savage became a household name in the eighties and nineties. According to Wikipedia, Savage held twenty championships during his professional wrestling career and is recognized by WWE as a six-time world heavyweight champion, a two-time WWF Champion and a four-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion.  For more info on Savage, click HERE.

Lanny Poffo wrestled as "Leaping" Lanny or later "The Genius". Lanny was known for writing poems and reading the to them  crowd to aggrevate his opponent. For more info on Lanny, click HERE.

After retiring from wrestling, Angelo Poffo returned to Illinois to teach physical education.

Angelo Poffo's life may be best captured in the article Poffo was Wrestler, Promoter, Father to Two Stars, written by Greg Oliver, Producer, SLAM! Wrestling. For complete article, Click Here

 D-Club Dance Picture from 1948 DePaulian.
(Poffo is on the extreme left. Among the others in the picture is George Mikan in the center, Sam Vukovich, Whitey Kachan, trainer Frank Stevens, and legendary coach Ray Meyer).

Links to Stories about Angelo Poffo