LSU vs. ULL
2017 Wally Pontiff Jr. Classic
Remembering No. 31, Wally Pontiff
In lieu of flowers, the Pontiff family asks that donations be sent to:
Wally Pontiff, Jr.
The Strive Center
1139 Napoleon Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70115
Lake Lawn Metairie Funeral Home
5100 Ponchartrain Blvd.
Friday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend
Jesuit High School Chapel of the North American Martyrs
Friday, July 26 at 2:30 p.m.
LSU Sports Information
For Immediate Release: July 30, 2002
CORONER'S REPORT SAYS PONTIFF DIED OF NATURAL CAUSES
HARVEY, La. (AP) -- The 21-year-old LSU baseball player who was found
dead in his parents' home last week died of natural causes and had no drugs in his system, the Jefferson Parish coroner said Monday.
The autopsy on Wally Pontiff, who died Wednesday, found an abnormality in his heart, which is still being tested, the coroners' report said. The determination of exact cause of death might take several more days.
There was also no evidence of trauma or foul play, Coroner Robert E. Treuting said in a statement.
"All toxicology studies were negative," Treuting said. "Specifically, there were no illegal drugs, nor any prescription or over-the-counter drugs in his system." Janie Badinger, of the coroner's office, said there was no indication that the microscopic examination of the heart abnormality would affect the finding of death by natural causes.
Pontiff was taken in the 21st round of this year's draft by the Oakland Athletics, and had not decided whether to return to LSU for his senior year.
He was a member of the All-SEC second team this season and made the first All-SEC team the previous year.
LSU Sports Information
For Immediate Release: July 24, 2002
STUDENT-ATHLETE WALLY PONTIFF FOUND DEAD AT HOME IN METAIRIE
BATON ROUGE -- LSU student-athlete Wally Pontiff, a member of the baseball team, died Wednesday morning in his parents' Metairie home. The cause of death has not yet been determined.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend a Funeral Mass at Jesuit High School Chapel of the North American Martyrs on Friday, July 26, 2002 at 2:30 p.m. Visitation will be at the Lake Lawn Metairie Funeral Home at 5100 Ponchartrain Blvd. on Friday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Burial will be held at Metairie Cemetary.
Pontiff, 21, a three-year letterman, was the designated hitter on LSU's 2000 NCAA championship team, and he was the Tigers' starting third baseman the past two seasons. A biological sciences major with a 3.25 gpa, Pontiff was named to the 2002 District VI Academic all-America team, and he was a two-time of the Southeastern Conference Academic Honor Roll.
Pontiff was selected in June by the Oakland Athletics in the 21st round of the major league baseball draft. Prior to his death, he was considering a decision to either sign with the Athletics or return to LSU for his senior season.
As a freshman, Pontiff helped lead the Tigers to the 2000 national title, batting .347 with 20 doubles, seven homers and 45 RBI. He was voted the Most Outstanding Player of the 2000 SEC Tournament, and he was named an honorable mention Freshman all-American by Collegiate Baseball magazine.
Pontiff also hit .347 in 2001 with nine doubles, seven homers and 58 RBI. He earned first-team all-SEC recognition, and he was voted to the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional all-tournament team. The Tigers reached the NCAA Super Regional round and completed the season ranked No. 9 in the country.
He batted .339 in 2002 with 20 doubles, six homers and 46 RBI, earning second-team all-SEC honors as the Tigers advanced to an NCAA Super Regional and finished No. 11 in the nation.
Pontiff completed the 2002 season on the LSU career Top 10 lists in three offensive categories -- hits (9th, 254), doubles (tied for 7th, 49) and batting average (10th, .344).
Prior to beginning his collegiate career, he was an honor roll student and all-state baseball player at Jesuit High School in New Orleans.
Pontiff is survived by his father Wally, Sr.; his mother, Terry; a younger sister, Haley; and a younger brother, Nicholas.
Head Coach Smoke Laval on Student-Athlete Wally Pontiff's Death
"It's a sad day not only for the Pontiff's but for the whole LSU family."
On memorializing Wally ...
"I'm sure there will be. Patches will be worn. They might put something up with the stars and stripe on The Intimidator (outfield billboard) in remembrance of his leadership."
On Wally the person ...
"He was working to play in the big leagues, every single day. I didn't change much coming in here as coach, but one thing I did is we didn't have an appointed captain, but the players all went to him, which is what I wanted. He would have been the guy and deservingly so. He was a 3.4 pre-med student, an All-American guy."
"I know he was working daily to improve his strength, foot-speed, quickness and lateral movement. He was on a mission. He had a goal."
Quotes from Athletics Director Skip Bertman:
On the passing of third baseman Wally Pontiff
"I know I speak for many voices, certainly the coaches, Coach Laval, Coach Canevari, Coach Thomas and in fact all of the coaches that worked with Wally (Pontiff), the players that are here today and in fact all of the players that have played with Wally to say to the family, the shock, the horror, the grief that we all feel and our prayers are with Wally, Terry, Nick and Haley. They are a great, great family."
"I don't have the words to express the feeling. There is a lot of emptiness and it seems to be hard to fill. A lot of people have called me, especially fans, and have respectfully offered their prayers and sympathies to the family, the entire community of Baton Rouge and especially the LSU community."
"When someone is as talented and popular as Wally, this kind of tragedy affects so many people and it's tough to put it into words. His teammates are here and he was everybody's All-American."
On what he thought of Wally while recruiting him out of high school...
"He caught my attention very, very early. Long before he was a senior. Jim Schwanke was coaching him at that time and I went down to see him the summer before his senior year. When we recruited him in the fall, there was a tremendous rain storm, but he and his dad came up and he was the first recruit that we signed that year. His dad is a former player that I knew when he played, while I was at the University of Miami, and his dad is a wonderful role model."