Former Utah State football player Len Rohde passed away last weekend in California. He was 79 years old.
Originally from Palatine, Illinois, Rohde was a three-year starter (1957-59) for Utah State at offensive tackle and a two-time All-Skyline Eight selection as a junior and senior. As a senior, he was named team captain and the team’s Most Valuable Player.
“All of Utah State University and its athletics family is saddened to hear of the passing of one of our all-time great football players in Len Rohde. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Len’s family and friends in this trying time,” said USU Vice President and Athletics Director John Hartwell.
Following his collegiate career, Rohde was selected in the fifth round (59th pick) of the 1960 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. He spent 15 seasons with San Francisco (1960-74), appearing in 208 games (173 starts), the most among 49ers offensive linemen and tied for the third-most regular season appearances in franchise history.
A 1971 Pro Bowl selection and 1974 Len Eshmont Award winner, Rohde was part of an offensive line that helped QB John Brodie register a 9.14 yards per pass attempt average in 1961, the highest average yards per pass attempt in team history. Additionally, the 49ers registered 27 rushing touchdowns that season, tied for the most in the league and the second-highest single-season total in franchise history. During his 15-year career, Rohde helped block for backs Joe Perry, Ken Willard, J.D. Smith and Hugh McElhenny, each of whom ranks in the top 10 on the 49ers all-time rushing list.
Rohde, who is a member of USU’s All-Century Team, was inducted into USU’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 1995.
Following his playing days, Rohde became involved in the restaurant industry. In addition, he was also part of three generations of farmers who produced Templeton Olive Oil.
Doug Hoffman is the associate athletic director for Utah State University Athletic Media Relations.