Thinking about some class acts in the game of football September 17, 2012
JACK WOOLWINE – Last Friday night, Capital High School played host to its first-ever Jack D. Woowine, Jr. Memorial Football Game. Woolwine died this past summer following a battle with pancreatic cancer.
Money is being raised in Woolwine’s memory to help aid in the research for pancreatic cancer.
Capital presented CAMC with a check of $1,000 prior to the Cougars win over the Princeton Tigers.
With our TV station right next to UC Stadium/Laidley Field, I visited Woolwine on many occasions during practices and games.
Jack was always more than willing to do interviews, share information and make players available for stories.
I had missed him in coaching the past few years, and it saddens me greatly to know that he is gone.
BILL STEWART – It’s still hard to fathom that the former head coach of the Mountaineers passed away. Stew died suddenly in May. I had known him since my senior year in high school when he lured me to Salem College, where he was a young assistant coach, to play for the Tigers.
Stew has been remembered in a variety of ways over the course of the past several months.
He loved football, family and life.
I never actually played for Stew. He always treated me, though, as if I had. By the time I arrived at Salem he was off to UNC as a graduate assistant.
JIM CARLEN: Besides Stewart, the Mountaineer football program also lost another former head coach this summer. Jim Carlen, who led WVU to that great Peach Bowl victory in 1969, died at his home in South Carolina.
A few years ago Carlen came to Morgantown for a visit. He had planned to stop by Charleston so that we could do an interview. His trip got rearranged and he ended up not coming through the capital city. He was very apologetic.
During a phone conversation I learned he lived in Hilton Head. I told him that is where I vacationed each year. He insisted we visit that particular summer.
So, I made the call and he had me over to his house. I learned plenty about Mountaineer football during our three-hour chat. One bit of information Carlen shared with me was that his salary was something like $12,000 per year while at WVU.
Carlen couldn’t have been more hospitable that day. It’s a visit I will forever cherish.
CALVIN TURNER – This former Mountaineer standout seemed to be a gentle giant. He was an outstanding player at WVU, first for Frank Cignetti and then Don Nehlen.
I can recall seeing Turner play for the first time during the Class AAA state football championship game at Ripley’s Memorial Stadium in 1978.
On a frigid day, Turner and his Fairmont Senior Polar Bears lost to Beckley Woodrow Wilson, 6-0.
It was the final game of Turner’s career on that November Saturday, but it was really just the beginning.
Besides his outstanding work on the field at WVU, Turner spent time with some teams at the professional level. He was on rosters in both the NFL and the old USFL. With the Denver Gold, Turner earned All-USFL honors.
He died recently much too young at the age of 52.
MIKE TOMLIN: One of the classiest things I’ve heard about in terms of remembering Bill Stewart is that the busy head coach of the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers found time to come to Morgantown High’s season opener on August 31. Tomlin was there to see Stewart’s son, Blaine, play the first game of his senior year for the Mohigans.
The young Stewart caught a TD pass in the game.
ZACH GROSSI – Concord’s star quarterback had his outstanding career come to an abrupt end last week.
Grossi, who had thrown for over 7,000 yards while in Athens, was severely injured in a car accident near the CU campus and will miss the rest of the season.
Grossi had worked hard to be a success in Athens and was a fun player to watch.
It’s tough enough for a player when his career comes to an end.
It’s just a shame that Zach Grossi’s didn’t end on his terms.