Ed Rollins - School and Sports

School and Sports

Rollins grew up in the Federal Terrace housing project, attending St. Vincent Ferrer Grammar and High School. For a year, at age 14, he attended St. Joseph's, a junior seminary in Mountain View, before returning to Vallejo.

He also fought as a boxer from ages 13 to 23, winning several West Coast amateur titles while an undergraduate. "My dreams of being an Olympic boxer were snuffed out in 1967, when I lost my last fight by a TKO," he wrote in his 1996 autobiography. Rollins recalls his record as 164 victories and just 2 defeats -- "the wins are all a blur . . . but I remember every detail -- every punch, every pain, every mistake -- of my two losses." His last bout was with National AAU Champion (and Olympic Bronze medal winner) Bob Christopherson; Rollins recalled later that he was leading on points, when he threw out his back in the 3rd round, and the referee stopped the fight.

Rollins also played football as a fullback, but suffered a serious back injury his senior year (requiring six surgeries over the next 35 years). Graduating from high school in 1961, he tried to enlist in the Marines, but failed the physical. Shortly thereafter, Rollins spent most of a year in the hospital dealing with his back problems. Once healthy, in 1962, he began undergraduate studies at Vallejo Junior College, eventually earned his Associates' degree and transferred to San Jose State University in 1965. Unable to pass the physical exam because of his continuing back problems (required for a sports scholarship), Rollins transferred after one semester to California State University, Chico, where he was hired as boxing coach. There, he finally earned his BA in Political Science, with a second major in Physical Education, in 1968.

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