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Wayne Chrebet

Sport: Football

Born: August 14, 1973

Town: Garfield, New Jersey

Wayne John Chrebet Jr. was born August 14, 1973 in Linden. His father, a loan officer with a mortgage company, was a Viet Nam veteran and Purple Heart recipient. His mother, Pauelette was a stay-at-home mom. Wayne had one sister, Jen, who became a magazine writer.

Wayne up in Garfield. The Chrebets moved to the North Jersey working-class town—which covers a little over two square miles—when he was five. Many folks in Garfield remember Wayne as “Mush,” a nickname he acquired because he did not speak clearly as a boy. The family lived in a part of town where there were more elderly residents than kids, so Wayne, who was an energetic child, found endless ways to amuse himself. Once he was chasing his cat around the house and fell face-first into the family's coffee table. He still bears the scar from the 22 stitches he receive on his chin.

Wayne played a lot of baseball and basketball as a kid; his mother did not approve of football. That did not stop him from trying to talk his way onto the Garfield High football team as an undersized freshman. He approached coach Huff Kotwica, who offered him a chance to make the team as a defensive back, and he did so in his sophomore year.

Wayne impressed the coach with his appetite for watching game films, often showing up at Kotwica’s house the morning after games. The knowledge he gained as a defensive player came in handy as he added some bulk and moved to the receiver position. Wayne achieved the height of 5'10" in high school, and was better known as the basketball team’s star shooting guard and the baseball team’s fleet-footed center fielder than for his prowess on the gridiron.


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