Dr. Jerry Argovitz, former agent and owner of Houston Gamblers, dies at age 89

HOUSTON — Dr. Jerry Argovitz, a dentist who later became a powerful sports agent and owner of the United States Football League’s Houston Gamblers, has died at the age of 89 in Nevada, KHOU 11 News has learned.

Argovitz, a Texas native, was the principal owner of the upstart Gamblers until they were sold in 1985 to a group of New York investors who owned the New Jersey Generals, including Donald Trump. The two clubs eventually merged; Argovitz was later named president and chief of football operations.

The photo above shows Gamblers’ star quarterback Jim Kelly, who went on to play for the Buffalo Bills and became a Hall of Famer.

He earned millions of dollars representing roughly two dozen pro football players in the early 1980s including Billy Sims of Detroit, Robert Brazile of Houston, Joe Cribbs of Buffalo, Curtis Dickey of Baltimore, and Miami’s David Overstreet. The USFL forced Argovitz to sell his agent business when he became a franchise owner to avoid a possible conflict of interest.

“Having Argovitz out of the agenting business is a relief to NFL owners everywhere who became accustomed to Argovitz clients missing training camps and games in contract disputes,” wrote Gary Taylor of UPI in 1983.

The United State Football League never played a 1986 season following an attempt to move its season from spring to fall.

Argovitz and his wife later endowed the Jerry Argovitz Sports Institute in California. In 2015, Rancho Mirage (CA) High School dedicated a football stadium after Argovitz, who was a seasonal resident there.

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