Bookstore Glossary Library Links News Publications Timeline Virtual Israel Experience
Anti-Semitism Biography History Holocaust Israel Israel Education Myths & Facts Politics Religion Travel US & Israel Vital Stats Women
donate subscribe Contact About Home

Gary Wood

(1942 – 1994)

Gary Fay Wood was born in Taylor, New York, on July 9, 1942, and grew up in Cortland, New York, and was Jewish.

He played football for Cortland High School in Cortland, New York, at which he never played in a losing game.

Wood played as a three-year starting quarterback at Cornell University, beginning in his sophomore season in 1961. Wood was the leading rusher and passer for the Big Red every year in which he was the starter.

In 1962, Wood led the nation in all-purpose yards, with 1,395 (155 yards per game). That season, he also set an Ivy League total offense record in a game against Penn with 387 yards (207 rushing, 106 throwing), and was named first team All-Ivy and to the AP All-East Team. He also lettered as a center fielder-second baseman-pitcher on the 1962 Cornell baseball team, batting .277 in 17 games, with a six-inning ERA of 1.49.

In 1963, during his senior year, Wood was elected team captain, had 545 yards passing and 818 yards rushing (8th in the nation), was again named first-team All-Ivy, and was named to the Associated Press All-East team, and was elected to the National Honor Society. He was first in the country in kickoff return yardage (618 yards on 19 returns, for a 32.5 average).

He was named Ivy League Player of the Week five times in his career, a two-time All-American honorable mention, set five Ivy League career and single-season offensive records (career total offense (3,457 yards); career rushing (1867); single-season total offense (1,616 yards in '62); single-season rushing (813 yards in '62); single-game total offense (387 yards vs. Penn in '62)), and is the only Ivy League player to rush for 2,000 yards and pass for 1,000 more (he rushed for more yards (2,156) than he passed (1,891)). He also set Cornell records for career total offense, single season total offense; career rushing; single season rushing; and single game total offense.

The 5-foot 11-inch quarterback was selected in the eighth round (109th overall) of the 1964 NFL Draft by the New York Giants. He turned down offers from the American Football League and from Canada to play in the NFL. In his rookie season for the Giants he backed-up and frequently replaced injured starter Y. A. Tittle.

In 1967, Wood was picked up in the expansion draft for the New Orleans Saints. After playing two games for the Saints in the 1967 season, Wood was demoted to third string behind Billy Kilmer and Gary Cuozzo. Following this season, Wood was then traded back to New York for a draft pick.

Wood spent the remainder of his NFL career in New York backing up Fran Tarkenton and ended his NFL career in 1969 after having played 63 games. In six NFL seasons, he completed 186 of 400 passes for 2,575 yards and 14 touchdowns, with 18 interceptions. Wood had a career completion percentage of 46.5% and a passer rating of 54.5.

After retiring from the NFL, Wood played in the Canadian Football League from 1970–71 for the Ottawa Rough Riders.

He was inducted into the Cornell Athletic Hall of Fame in 1989, as well as the New York Sports Hall of Fame and the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 1996.

Following his stint in the Canadian Football League, Wood opened an insurance firm in New York City and helped found Temple Beth Torah in Melville, New York.

Wood died on March 3, 1994. He was 51.

Source: “Gary Wood,” Wikipedia.