Andrew Palau (FCRH ’37), who was Fordham University’s quarterback behind the vaunted Seven Blocks of Granite in the mid-1930s, died on Sept. 1. He was 93.
Palau, who had lived in Vero Beach, Fla., since 1986, was an outstanding athlete in high school and at Fordham. Nicknamed “Handy Andy,” he led Bristol (Conn.) High School’s football team to its only undefeated season and captained the basketball team to a state championship. At Fordham, he earned All-America honors in football and was a catcher on the baseball team, signing with the New York Yankees in 1937. In his senior season, Palau led the Fordham football team to its last undefeated season at 7-0-1.
One of Palau’s claims to fame was that he gave his former Fordham teammate Vince Lombardi (FCRH ’37) his first coaching job. Lombardi, who would go on to fame as head coach of the Green Bay Packers, was one of the Seven Blocks of Granite, the dominating group of linemen who helped the Rams become a college football power. Palau became the head football coach at St. Cecilia High School in Englewood, N.J., in 1939 and hired Lombardi as his assistant. He and Lombardi shared a boarding-house room across the street from the school for $1.50 a week. Palau would join the Fordham football team in 1942 as an assistant coach, and Lombardi would do the same a few years later.
Suvivors include his wife of 67 years, Margaret of Vero Beach; daughters, Edith Holland of Gaston, S.C., and Carol Willumstad of New York City; son, Mark Palau of Vero Beach; sister, Alice Winter of Pompano Beach; five grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.