Today is a great day to wish a Happy Birthday to Michigan man Jerry Quaerna. According to the 1985 Michigan Media Guide, Jerold Oscar “Jerry” Quaerna was born on this day near Janesville, Wisconsin. He was a very good football player in high school. In fact, he was good enough to earn a scholarship to play offensive line for the University of Michigan. Quaerna arrived in Ann Arbor in 1982, but he was redshirted in his first year. At 6’ 5” and 250 pounds, Jerry was not quite ready to line up against the “men” who played defensive line for Wisconsin, Michigan State, Ohio State, and the rest of the Big Ten Conference. He spent a lot of time in the weight room to get his body ready for “big boys” in the Big Ten.
Unfortunately, getting bigger and stronger wasn’t Quaerna’s only challenge. Bo’s football teams always had plenty of talented offensive lineman on the roster. Competition was always tough. It is especially difficult when you are competing against All-Big Ten and All-American caliber talent (Clay Miller and John Elliott) like Jerry had to do.
So, like so many players who came before him, he figured out his role and lived up to it as best he could. He did everything the coaches asked him to do and became a solid player for the Wolverines. He went to the weight room and let Mike Gittleson “grow” him to 282 pounds of people moving power. According to the 1986 Michigan Team Roster, Quaerna also grew two inches (6’ 7”) during his time at Michigan.
Jerry Quaerna’s hard work earned him some valuable of playing time in 1985 and 1986. He started two games in each season at offensive tackle while playing behind Miller and Elliott. Another thing that Jerry Quaerna earned at Michigan was a great nickname. His teammates simply called him “Q” which may have had something to do with the James Bond movies of the day. He also roomed with a guy named Jim Harbaugh twice. Harbaugh and “Q” were roommates as Freshman and again as fifth year seniors.
Jerry Quarena lettered on some very good football teams in Ann Arbor (1985 and 1986). He finished with three starts and plenty of playing time. Jerry, and his teammates, showed a lot of grit in 1984 and came back strong the next two years. They were good enough to win thirty-six games, a Big Ten Championship (1986) and finish second in the nation in 1985.
Quarena is also part of some interesting Michigan Football Firsts that took place during his time in Ann Arbor.
Hopefully, Jerry “Q” Quaerna is home in Wisconsin celebrating his birthday today with family and friends. Happy Birthday “Q” and thanks for your contributions to the history of the winningest program in college football history!
Click on the links below to learn more about the life and times of Michigan Man Jerry Quaerna. Read his “Roomie with a View” stories about Jim Harbaugh in the second link below. Good stuff!