Former Philadelphia Eagles owner Jerry Wolman, at one time the youngest owner in the NFL, died Tuesday at the age of 86.
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Wolman, who was also one of the original owners of the NHL’s Flyers, died at his home in Potomac, Md., after a long illness, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
“I had the pleasure of meeting Jerry on multiple occasions when he came back to watch an Eagles game,” current Eagles Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie said in a statement. “Each time, we enjoyed reminiscing about Eagles football and sharing in the enjoyment of owning such a historic franchise.”
Though Wolman’s sports legacy will not be remembered for much success in the standings, he is credited with being one of the driving forces behind bringing the NHL to Philadelphia and one of the men responsible for the construction of the Spectrum, the former home arena of the Flyers and the 76ers.
Wolman made his fortune in construction and real estate, and bought the Eagles in 1963 for $5.5 million. According to his biography, he was 36 years old at the time. The team failed to garner much success in Wolman’s tenure, going 30-51-3 in that time. Perhaps the most notorious incident in the Wolman era came in 1968, when fans at an Eagles game booed and threw snowballs at Santa Claus in 1968.
Wolman ran into financial troubles near the end of the decade and sold his interest in both the Eagles and Flyers. He sold the Eagles in 1969 to Leonard Tose for $16.1 million, then a record price for an NFL franchise.
Wolman is survived by his wife Bobbie, two children and seven grandchildren.