February 15, 1961

Today, the Raiders removed the word “acting” from Bud Hastings’s title and made him the team’s full-time general manager. Hired as the assistant GM last June, he had filled the top spot on an interim basis since Chet Soda’s resignation on January 2.

The 43-year-old Hastings said the restructuring of the ownership group had resulted in “a definite clarification of management policies.”

“The owners will determine policy and leave the management of the club in my hands,” he said. “The experience gained during our first year of operation makes us feel we’re geared now to do a much better job.”

The team filled another open spot by hiring former Chicago Cardinals guard Bob Maddock to coach the offensive line, replacing the recently departed Ernie Jorge. Maddock, 40, had played nine games for the Cardinals over two seasons before moving on to coaching stints in the college ranks, the All-America Football Conference, and the Canadian Football League. For the last three seasons he had been employed by the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Hayward Daily Review
Oakland Tribune
Pro Football Reference
San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Examiner

February 7, 1961

Eddie Erdelatz had two spots open on his coaching staff and was hard at work trying to fill them.

“We’ve had applicants, of course,” he said, “and we are checking them out, but at this point we haven’t made a decision and the jobs are still open.”

The work of the staff continued, though, and the three men were busy watching the game film from 1960, evaluating strategy and players.

Up in the front office, acting general manager Bud Hastings was working on a preseason schedule for 1961. Adding a potential twist to his plans was news that the 49ers were planning to play just one of their five games at home in Kezar Stadium, going on the road for the other four.

Though that would give the Raiders more solo exhibition dates at home, Hastings said his team would probably play only one game at home, too, though he wasn’t committing to that plan yet.

“The primary point about playing preseason games away is the financial consideration,” he said. “If you can schedule these contests in cities or locations where there are no professional teams, generally you can count on very good interest in the one game. We’ve found that where you play seven league games at home, there’s not as much interest locally in the exhibition as there is in the league contests.”

While the 49ers plan would free up Kezar, Hastings said the team was committed to playing in Candlestick Park.

“We prefer Candlestick,” he said. “The response from a spectator’s standpoint has been very good. The fans told us the seating was much better, that the seats were much more comfortable with arm and back rests. As a matter of fact, in several recent letters from fans, quite a point was made of the comforts of Candlestick Park.”

Hastings was still waiting to hear if would get the general manager’s position on a permanent basis. The owners hadn’t made a decision yet, but signs were pointing in that direction.

Oakland Tribune
San Francisco Examiner

February 4, 1961

The AFL’s hot stove league was in full swing. Yesterday, it was Hugh McElhenny, today is was Joe Kapp. The ex-Cal standout was a big hit in his second season as quarterback for Calgary in the Canadian leagues but was quoted as wanting to return to the States where his exploits would be seen by a wider audience. Like McElhenny, Kapp was considering playing out his option in 1961 to get free agent status the following season. Naturally, the Raiders came up as a possible destination and one that Kapp seemed amenable to. The Raiders response was necessarily noncommittal.

“We could only negotiate a contract with Kapp if he were a free agent,” said acting general manager Bud Hastings.

Oakland Tribune
San Francisco Examiner

February 3, 1961

The word made the rounds today that ex-49er halfback Hugh McElhenny could be in a Raider uniform for the 1962 season. One of the NFL’s top breakaway threats during his nine-year tenure in San Francisco, he had slowed down the last couple of years and was traded to the expansion Minnesota Vikings last week. Now, with the change, he was taking stock of his football future, considering whether it was time to play out his option this season or quit altogether. If he played out his option, he would be free to sign with anyone in 1962 and that’s where the Raiders came in.

When asked about the possibility, he said it “would really be a great idea if it could be worked out, but the chances seem remote.”

Raider officials were quick to point out they had nothing to do with the rumors.

“We haven’t talked to him,” said acting general manager Bud Hastings. “We can’t under league rules against tampering with players in the other two leagues. It carries a $5,000 fine. We can only negotiate with free agents.”

Player personnel director Wes Fry echoed his boss’s thoughts. “It’s against the AFL constitution,” he said, “and we simply don’t tamper. Of course, if McElhenny did play out his option and then came around, we wouldn’t drive him from the door.”

Oakland Tribune
San Francisco Chronicle

January 23, 1961

The Raider coaching staff found itself down a member when secondary coach Ed Cody announced his resignation to take a post under Jim Sutherland at Washington State University. In addition to his coaching duties he would be in charge of recruiting in Southern California for the Cougars. “I’ve been anxious to return to college football for some time now and I consider this an unusually fine opportunity,” he said. “It is with regret that I leave the Raiders and head coach Eddie Erdelatz.”

Hired on May 4, Cody had been the last addition to Erdelatz’s staff and took charge of a unit that lacked speed and occasionally found itself burned by strings of big plays, but also had a keen nose for the ball as exemplified by Eddie Macon’s nine interceptions. Erdelatz couldn’t be reached for comment, but acting general manager Bud Hastings said, “Cody has been a most valuable member of our organization and we accepted his resignation with regret. We wish him well.”

Erdelatz was now tasked with finding two new assistants, one to replace Cody and one to replace line coach Ernie Jorge, who had suffered a heart attack in September and hadn’t coached since. Jorge had recovered and was recently seen speaking at a banquet, but there was no word about his returning to the sideline.

Oakland Tribune
San Francisco Chronicle

January 4, 1961

According to Scotty Stirling in the Oakland Tribune, the anticipated shakeup among the Oakland Raider ownership had begun, with Ed McGah, Robert Osborne, and Wayne Valley assuming more dominant roles. As an interim measure, McGah was named president with Bud Hastings taking the post of acting general manager.

Valley said, “We met for three hours and named McGah president and appointed Bud acting general manager. That was the heart of the meeting. We haven’t had time to think about filling the general manager’s job on a permanent basis because right now we are more concerned with signing some of our top draftees.” The team hadn’t ruled out removing the “acting” from Hastings’ job title at some point.

Hayward Daily Review
Oakland Tribune
San Francisco Chronicle

January 2, 1961

In news that was not unexpected, Chet Soda stepped down as president and general manager of the Raiders today. “I have contemplated this move for some time,” he said. “I expect to stay with the organization and have no immediate plans to sell my holdings in the Raiders.” He said he had twice tried to resign earlier, but the board of directors had talked him out of it each time. There was no comment from the other owners and both Robert Osborne and Wayne Valley said they hadn’t heard of his decision until reporters tried to reach them for comment. “I haven’t been to my office in three days,” said Osborne. “The letter of resignation could be in the mail on my desk.”

No successor was named, but Eddie Erdelatz quickly removed himself from the running. “I am not old enough to quit coaching,” he said. “I don’t think any man could handle both the coaching and the business end of the Raiders. It is too much for one man in a new organization. I want it known that I’m still working for the Raiders and intend to continue as coach.” With no word from the owners and Erdelatz’s lack of interest, assistant general manager Bud Hastings was thought to have the inside track for the position.

Hayward Daily Review
Oakland Tribune
San Francisco Chronicle

December 2, 1960

Two days before the team’s first game at Candlestick Park, the Raiders were cautiously optimistic that ticket sales would improve. “Our advance sale still isn’t much,” said assistant general manager Bud Hastings, “but it is up about 50 percent over other games. I don’t know whether to credit this to the move or the fact that we’re playing Los Angeles.” Noting that the team needed to sell about 20,000 tickets per game to break even, he added, “We have about 15,000 seats between the goal posts on one side of the field. If we play at Candlestick next season and attendance improves, we can move in the temporary bleachers on the other side and handle 25,000 between the goal posts.”

The team hoped they could draw about 15,000 each for the three remaining games with one unidentified team spokesperson saying, “That certainly would indicate we’ve made the right move and, naturally, would make our owners wonder why we didn’t do it before.”

While the ownership was hoping that the rain wouldn’t diminish attendance, the personnel department was gearing up for the finish of the draft scheduled for the 5th. In the meantime, department director Wes Fry and his group were looking at some of the redshirt picks made by the Minneapolis people the year before, including center Fred Hageman from Kansas, tackle Tony Polychronis from Utah, and especially, halfback Pervis Atkins out of New Mexico State.

Atkins was a local, having played his high school ball at Oakland Tech. After a stint in the US Marines, he went to junior college before heading to Las Cruces. At 6’1” and 190 pounds and sporting a 9.6 time in the 100-yard dash, he was thought to be a prime prospect. With the Aggies he had led the nation in rushing, punt returns, and scoring.

Said Fry: “I think we’ll have a good crack at Atkins. He assured me he wouldn’t sign until he weighs the offers and from the way he talked, I think he would be interested in coming here. Of course, we won’t talk to him about a contract until he completes his eligibility in the Sun Bowl.”

Hayward Daily Review
Oakland Tribune

November 23, 1960

A story by Scotty Stirling appeared in today’s Oakland Tribune that was probably, in part, a response to yesterday’s piece in the San Francisco Chronicle criticizing the Raiders’ front office. Addressing rumors that the team would force Chet Soda out of the general manager’s role, to be replaced by Robert Osborne and Wayne Valley, an unidentified owner said it wasn’t true. “We met just ten days ago and gave Soda a vote of confidence,” said the owner. “It would take a majority vote to force Soda out of his position and Chet is held in high regard by at least five of the eight voting owners. There may be some unhappiness with a couple of the owners, and it has become fashionable now to blame Soda for every little thing that goes wrong with the Raiders.

“It’s terrible when you think we have a club that is right in the thick of the title fight and something like this comes up. The only important thing is what the club does on the field and right now we are in a position to pick up all the marbles. I think it’s a tribute to Erdelatz and the team that they perform as well as they do with all this business about the front office continually in the papers.”

The story pointed out that Soda’s position was meant to be temporary and that Eddie Erdelatz was expected to take on the role at some point. Soda was not being compensated for his work and put in as many as twelve hours a day running the team, though he had started to delegate more responsibilities to his assistant, Bud Hastings. According to Stirling, Soda had had enough of the job, but wouldn’t be forced out and would leave on his own terms.

Soda, so far, had refused to comment on the rumor, saying, “Sunday we play in Los Angeles in a game that could put us in a first-place tie. That, and only that, is the number one thing on my mind right now.”

The piece also discussed rumors that Erdelatz was looking for a way out, but the same unidentified owner said the Raider coach had expressed some dissatisfaction with the way the team was run but had never been heard to say he wanted to leave.

In less dramatic news, the Raiders announced they had taken halfback Bobby Crespino out of Mississippi with their sixth-round pick in the draft.

Oakland Tribune

November 18, 1960

Though a final decision wasn’t to be made until next week, Raider assistant general manager Bud Hastings was treating the move to Candlestick Park as a done deal. He said the decision had been made to lay out the field along the third base line into left field. “Laying out the grid this way will give us about 15,000 choice seats down the foul line and a total of about 30,000 good seats. We will rope off the very best section for our season ticket holders and there will be no problem keeping them all satisfied, I’m sure.” The first game in their new digs would be December 4 against the Chargers.

Oakland Tribune