The Waverly Wonders

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Joe Namath (top center) and The Waverly Wonders

The Waverly Wonders is a short-lived TV sitcom, starring retired pro football star Joe Namath, that lasted less than a month on NBC in 1978.


Conceived as a vehicle for Namath (who had retired from the Los Angeles Rams after the 1977 NFL season), the show focused on the misadventures of Joe Casey, a washed-up professional basketball player who now taught history at Waverly High School (in Eastville, Wisconsin) and coached the school's basketball team, the Waverly Wonders.

Casey wasn't much of a teacher (he knew nothing about history) and his team wasn't much on the court (they hadn't won a game in three years); about the only decent player they had was a girl, Connie (Kim Lankford). Other "Wonders" included Tate (Charles Bloom), Faguzzi (Joshua Greenrock) and Parks (Tierre Turner). Ben Piazza (the show's only recognizable name other than Namath's) co-starred as stodgy former coach George Benton, who served as a foil to Casey (much like Mr. Woodman did to Gabe Kotter in Welcome Back, Kotter on ABC).


Up against Donny and Marie on ABC and Wonder Woman on CBS, The Waverly Wonders drew poor ratings. A total of nine episodes were produced. However, only three were shown from September 22 through October 6, 1978.[1] Less than two months after The Waverly Wonders failed, a new show with a similar premise -- The White Shadow -- started its three-year run as a 60-minute comedy-drama on CBS.

Namath never starred in another TV series, although he did do guest spots on such programs as The Love Boat and Fantasy Island.

Sitcom veteran Larry Hagman was offered a part in The Waverly Wonders but instead he chose to play J.R. Ewing on Dallas.[2]


  1. ^ McNeil, Alex. Total Television: The Comprehensive Guide to Programming from 1948 to the Present. 4th ed. New York: Penguin, 1996.
  2. ^ A Few Facts About Larry Hagman, Eddie Deezen,, 27 November 2012

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