Jesse Freitas Sr., a quarterback on the inaugural San Francisco 49ers squad and longtime football coach at Serra High in San Mateo, died Monday morning at his home in San Diego at the age of 99.
The second-oldest living NFL player at the time, Freitas succumbed to cancer, according to his son, James.
“The 49ers are saddened to learn of the passing of Jesse Freitas Sr., a QB on our inaugural 1946 team,” the organization posted on Twitter.
Freitas, a veteran of the U.S. Army, earned a Bronze Star during World War II and commanded an artillery unit at the Battle of the Bulge.
The native of Red Bluff played quarterback and defensive back at Santa Clara University.
His professional career began with a two-season stretch on the 49ers, who were founded in 1946 as members of the All-America Football Conference before joining the NFL in 1949. Freitas also played for the Chicago Rockets and the Buffalo Bills.
Freitas took over the football program at Serra in 1950 and over a trio of stints amassed a 102-49-3 record _ his 17th and final campaign coming in 1974. He claimed seven league titles, including three in the West Catholic Athletic League.