The One and Only Doc Chodoff

 

chair

Players came and went, so did parents and coaches and athletic directors and student managers and band members.

Peter “Doc” Chodoff was always there, no more than an arm’s length away on tailgate row every single game day of my adult life, holding court from a folding chair. That’s the thing I will always remember about Doc and Temple football. He was always there, always in that folding chair, waiting to move into the stadium about a half-hour before each game.

He seldom remained silent.

doc

Most of the time, he would say something about this road trip or that road trip that he made or make a statement about a coach or a player that was usually on the mark.  Or he would say something funny, which he said a lot.

Always from that Cherry and White tailgate, or camping, chair. He was always there, surviving coaches, players, parents, other fans.

Now he isn’t, having passed away. He lived a full life, but I wanted him to live until 114.

Whenever I see one of those chairs, I will think of Doc. If they ever give an award in his name, it should be for a long-time fan, a season ticket-holder, who has been there through the downs as well as the ups because that defined Doc. When I tried to call him Mr. Chodoff, he admonished me to call him Pete or Doc. I thought Doc was preferable.

One day during the Steve Addazio Era he grabbed my arm and said, “Mike, I just want to tell you that you have a first-class blog.”  (All you had to do last year was ask him what he felt about Addazio and he would go on an invective-filled rant that would make Richard Pryor blush. He loved Al Golden, because he knew Golden gave Temple what he promised.)

I was on Cloud 9 for a few weeks after that because his credibility was already through the roof with me. When I sprained my knee (torn meniscus) in 2007 playing basketball, he even gave me some solid medical advice about who I should see and what I should do on my rehab and how long before it would be before I was playing basketball again.

As usual about everything else, he was right.

I sat behind him only once and it was during a game in the Bobby Wallace Era when I was lucky enough to score seats upstairs. Temple was getting the snot beat out of it, as it usually did in those days, and the subject came around to freshman quarterbacks. He turned to me and said: “Why is it that you see every school in the country with a better quarterback than Temple?”

Then Adam DiMichele came along and I reminded Doc about that statement and he laughed and said, “Well, it was about time.”

When I could not find an answer about Temple football on Google, I knew I could find it from Doc. Last year, someone on this site asked why they built Temple Stadium so far from the main campus. I could not find the answer, so I asked Doc.

“They were planning to move the entire campus to Wyncote and Cheltenham, so they put the stadium there first,” he said. “After they built the stadium, they changed their mind about the campus.”

Thanks, Doc. I did not know that.

When Temple football was threatened, he put his money where his mouth was to save it.  He was always before everyone else, stayed through two Dark Ages (the 50s and the post-Bruce Arians’ Era), and preached that things could and would get better.

They did, as much because of him as anyone else. His passing reminds us all that life is too short and treasure those who have added to your life experience. I always looked forward to Saturday mornings because of people like him.

Doc Chodoff certainly made Saturday mornings for me and for many fellow Temple fans. We all share a deep pain today knowing no one can fill that folding chair quite like he did. If Temple football had 100 Chodoffs, the new stadium would have been built by now and it would be 40,000 seats, not 30,000, with all of the amenities it should have.

There is only one Doc and that’s why this is a very sad day for Temple football and all of us who love it.

Related:

Doc Chodoff

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11 thoughts on “The One and Only Doc Chodoff

  1. nice piece Mike.., It was my honor and pleasure to sit with Doc at the Boca Bowl.., a truly passionate, ardent, loyal fan and TUFB advocate.., never imagined that would be his last Temple game

    • Sad. The last game he saw was a stinker, but he probably handled it well.

      • yes, I never got to hear Doc’s critique of that game but I did hear from someone who did and suffice it to say he wasn’t happy. So glad he got to enjoy the win over Penn State, though.

      • there was a lot going on that night.., snacks, beers, conversation, etc..,and Doc was the only person who actually saw every play and stayed glued to his seat…, he raised quite of bit of eyebrows when he called for Nutile to get in a few series during the second half.., Doc was not a Satterfield fan..

      • Neither was I, nor you as I recall. Addition by subtraction. I can picture Doc staying for every play. I hope he didn’t get too wet.

  2. I met Doc once in the Eagles Strip Search Line. He hated the Eagles’ unsportsmanlike conduct, which showed his wisdom and true hart.

  3. This is a great tribute to Peter. I’m Joan Saltzer’s granddaughter, lucky enough to have had 17 great years with Doc. My Grandmother asked me to share all Temple related tributes with her, I know this one is going to put a big smile on her face. We love you, Doc!

  4. Mike, Doc did not get wet, we were in a suite

    • thanks, KJ, whew. for awhile there, all I could think of was George Allen, who died of pneumonia a few months after Long Beach State’s players dumped a bucket of ice on him after the final game of a winning season. I’m so glad that weather did not contribute to Doc’s death.

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