Johnny Podesto
Saint Mary's Gaels – No. 73
PositionQuarterback, Halfback
Personal information
Born:(1921-03-26)March 26, 1921
Modesto, California, U.S.
Died:November 13, 2015(2015-11-13) (aged 94)
Height6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight190 lb (86 kg)
Career history
CollegeModesto Junior College (?–1941)
Saint Mary's University (1940–1942)
College of the Pacific (1943)
High schoolModesto (CA)
Career highlights and awards

John B. Podesto, nicknamed Presto Podesto from Modesto (March 26, 1921 – November 13, 2015) was an American football quarterback and halfback who played for the St. Mary's Gaels.[1][2] He was drafted in the first round (10th overall) in the 1944 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers but did not play for them. He later was signed by the Chicago Bears but did not play with them either.

Early life and education

Podesto was born on March 26, 1921, in Modesto, California, to Giovannia and Maria Podesto. He was the youngest of nine children.[3] He attended Modesto High School and Modesto Junior College before continuing his education at Saint Mary's University and College of the Pacific. He excelled at baseball and football while at Modesto, Saint Mary's, and College of the Pacific. He played quarterback and halfback when he was in football.[4] In 1943, under coach Amos Alonzo Stagg, Podesto was named All-American while at Pacific.[3] While playing from 1941 to 1943, and from 1944 to 1945, Podesto entered the Marine Corps and achieved the rank of captain while in World War II.[5][3]

Professional career

Podesto was drafted with the 10th pick in the 1944 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers.[6] He was serving in the marines from 1944 to 1945 so he could not play with them. In 1946, he signed with the team.[7][8] However, Podesto did not play with the Steelers. The next season he signed with the Chicago Bears but did not play with them, either.

Later life

After Podesto's sports career, he was a successful business owner.[9] He worked with the Modesto Tallow Company for over 50 years.[3] He died on November 13, 2015, at the age of 94.[10] At the time of his death he had 5 children, 12 grandchildren, and 2 great-grandchildren.[3]


  1. ^ Agostini, Ron (November 20, 2015). "'Presto Podesto from Modesto' had skills". The Modesto Bee – via Open access icon
  2. ^ "ST. MARY'S HURLER FOR OPENING DAY". Oakland Tribune. September 25, 1942 – via Open access icon
  3. ^ a b c d e "John Podesto Obituary (1921 - 2015) - Modesto, CA - San Francisco Chronicle".
  4. ^ "Johnny Podesto is Out for Gaels". The Pomona Progress Bulletin. October 10, 1942 – via Open access icon
  5. ^ "John Podesto, Zacharias to Join Service". Oakland Tribune. December 10, 1941 – via Open access icon
  6. ^ "Johnny Podesto Stats - Pro Football Archives".
  7. ^ Drum, Bob (July 24, 1946). "Podesto Expected to Make Big Hit with Steeler Fans". The Pittsburgh Press – via Open access icon
  8. ^ "Steelers Sign John Podesto, Star Back and Ace Passer". The Pittsburgh Press. May 12, 1946 – via Open access icon
  9. ^ "Andy Bertucci—Johnny Podesto". Petaluma Argus Courier. August 13, 1965 – via Open access icon
  10. ^ Agostini, Ron (November 19, 2015). "John Podesto, 'Presto Podesto From Modesto,' dies at age 94". The Modesto Bee.