San Luis Obispo County

Cal Poly football player who survived infamous 1960 plane crash dies in San Francisco

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - Al Mariani, a former offensive lineman for the Cal Poly football teams of the late 1950s, has died at the age of 79.

Mariani was one of 19 players and coaches to survive the 1960 plane crash that killed 22 people, including 16 Cal Poly players, a team manager and a university booster.

He is regarded as one of the best offensive lineman to ever suit up for the Mustangs, despite having his career cut short by the crash. In 2000, he was inducted into the Cal Poly Athletics Hall of Fame. He joined the San Francisco Prep Hall of Fame in 2006.

In 1963, Mariani graduated from the College of Science and Mathematics with a major in Physical Education. He continued to spend much of his adult life coaching and is credited as one of the "primary movers in the development of Alex G. Spanos Stadium's Mustang Memorial Plaza," according to Cal Poly's Eric Burdick, Assistant Athletics Director for Athletics Communications.

Mariani died Tuesday night at St. Mary's Hospital in San Francisco. A service is scheduled for Tuesday, July 2 in San Francisco. 

He is the eighth Mustang football player to die after surviving the 1960 crash.

Surviving players of the plane crash who have died:

  • Dick McBride
  • Bob Johnson
  • Bill Ross
  • Jerry Williams
  • General Owens
  • Russ Woods 
  • Roger Kelly
  • Al Marinai

Other surviving non-players who have died:

  • Roy Hughes 
  • Sheldon Harden
  • Howie O’Daniels
  • Walt Williamson 
  • Dr. Art James
  • John Nettleship

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