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©2024, Erin Haight

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Photo: Fresno Bee, February 11, 1960

Ernie Jorge

Ernest Lewis Jorge
Born October 7, 1914, Modesto
Died October 6, 1971, Kent, Ohio, age 56

Ernie Jorge was head coach Eddie Erdelatz’s first hire after getting the job to coach what would become the Oakland Raiders. Jorge’s Raider tenure was shortened by a heart attack that sidelined him most of the team’s first year, but he was there during the difficult early days of putting a team together from scratch and was Hall of Fame center Jim Otto’s first professional position coach.

Early Life

Jorge was born in Modesto, California, in the San Joaquin Valley, and spent his formative years in the area. He attended Turlock High, a few miles southeast of Modesto, and was a standout at fullback.

College Playing Career

After high school, he briefly attended Modesto Junior College before transferring to St. Mary’s College in Moraga, east of Oakland, in 1933. He played guard for the Gaels, earning at least one All-Pacific Coast mention as a senior and his tenure overlapped Erdelatz’s there by a couple of years.

Coaching Career

High Schools

His first stop after leaving St. Mary’s was to become the football coach at the Christian Brothers Academy, a private prep school in Sacramento, for the 1938 season. While coaching he also played for semi-pro teams in Stockton and Fresno.

He started the 1939 campaign in the training camp of the Los Angeles Bulldogs, a member of one of the several American Football Leagues that came and went during the early days of pro football, but probably washed out before the regular season, marking the end of his playing days. Afterward, he took an assistant coaching job at Manteca High School, south of Sacramento, then took a similar position at Modesto High in 1940.

The following season at Modesto he was promoted to head coach and stayed there until 1946, winning a couple of league championships along the way.

College of the Pacific

In 1947 he got his break, joining the staff as line coach of the College of the Pacific, under Larry Siemering. Then in 1951, after Siemering’s sudden resignation, the school promoted Jorge to replace him. He coached the Tigers for two seasons, amassing a 13-8-1 record and taking the team to the Sun Bowl after each season, losing to Texas Tech the first year and beating Mississippi Southern the next.

Chicago Cardinals

In 1953 he got his first real taste of the pro game when he resigned from Pacific to become the Chicago Cardinals’ line coach under Joe Stydahar. The Cards weren’t particularly good under Stydahar and when he was gone after the 1954 season, so was Jorge.

His old teammate Erdelatz, now the head man at Navy and one of the rising stars of the collegiate coaching world, hired him to coach the line there. When Erdelatz left after the 1958 season, Jorge stayed on under the new man, Wayne Hardin.

In 1960, when Erdelatz was hired to coach the AFL’s team in Oakland, immediately hired Jorge to coach the line. Jorge was on the field for only two regular season games in Oakland. Just before the team left town for a three-game Eastern swing, Jorge suffered a mild heart attack and spent the rest of the year recovering. He continued to help the team with personnel work off the field, but in January 1961, he resigned to go back to Hardin’s staff at Navy.

Maryland and the Houston Oilers

Hardin left Annapolis after the 1964 season, and Jorge stayed on a couple of years under his replacement, Bill Elias, but he left for good in 1967 to join Robert Ward’s staff at the University of Maryland. After two seasons with the Terrapins, Jorge got out of the coaching game altogether and joined the Houston Oilers to scout college players in the Ohio area.


He continued in that role until his death in 1971, from another heart attack, in a Kent, Ohio, hotel room where he was scheduled to scout an upcoming Kent State football game. He died one day before his 57th birthday, leaving behind his wife, Dorothy, a daughter, Joanne, and at least one grandchild.


February 10, 1960 - Hired by Raiders as offensive line coach.

February 1, 1961 - Resigned.

See Also

ernie_jorge.txt · Last modified: 2024/04/14 17:08 by ehaight