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Pirate
Time
Machine
No. 15

With Ron Cherubini
©2001-2002 Bonesville.net

 

Also, be sure to catch Ron Cherubini's account of Zack
Valentine's recollections from his 'Steel Curtain' days...


Zack Valentine
----------
Former Pirate and one-time Steeler
relishes his ties to East Carolina

For a man who counts among his friends the likes of Mean Joe Greene, L.C. Greenwood, Terry Bradshaw, Rocky Bleier and Lynn Swann, Zack Valentine’s memories of his days at East Carolina are anything but distant.

A super bowl ring and time in as a member of the legendary Steel Curtain in Pittsburgh during the late 1970s have not changed the player that wowed the Pirate faithful during the days when coach Pat Dye roamed the ECU sidelines.

Coach Zack Valentine, gets a huge hug from former
Woodbury High School linebacker Chuck Adair
during the State Title Game. (Submitted Photo)

In fact, Valentine has smoothly moved on to a new level and a new set of responsibilities. He's adeptly fulfilling a role many thought he was destined for — coaching football and turning out some of the best college prospects in the nation as the head coach of Woodbury High School in New Jersey.

“I am so proud of East Carolina University,” Valentine said. “To be a graduate – an alumni. I was recently reading an article not too long ago for one of my graduate classes and it was written by an East Carolina researcher. That was something, I was so proud when I read that. It’s not only sports. There are television and movie stars, researchers, professors, doctors from the med school. It makes me proud.”

As a prep coach now, he can’t wait for the day that he gets to send one of his prospects to Greenville to don the purple and the gold. One of his protégés, Bryant McKinnie from the University of Miami, was the Outland Trophy winner.

“I would help East Carolina recruit any of my kids,” he said. “I would love to see one of my guys playing there.”

Valentine’s own recruitment about a quarter of a century ago was an odd story.

Valentine at ECU (Submitted Photo)

“My junior year (at Edenton's John H. Holmes High School), we had a senior named Percy Twine,” Valentine explained. “He wore number 88 and I wore number 89. He started on the left defensive end and I was on the right. We had similar builds. Early in the season, Percy found himself on the bench, not playing. Well, one game, North Carolina State sent a recruiter down to watch Percy play. Well, they offered Percy a scholarship… Lou Holtz gave him a scholarship based on my performance on the field. They thought they were watching him and every time the announcer would say, ‘Valentine,’ the recruiter heard, ‘Twine.’

“Percy never played football, but he was a great wrestler and ended up wrestling for them.”

Of course, Holtz immediately started recruiting Valentine after realizing the mistake. But the process was so removed from Valentine, he wasn’t really aware of the opportunities that were there for him.

“In high school, I didn’t even know what a scholarship was,” he said. “I remember overhearing a mom talking about a recruiter coming to the high school and talking to her son and them giving him a scholarship. That was when I realized what that was.”

While State pushed hard, it was another Atlantic Coast Conference school that was pushing even harder.

Valentine was courted by N.C. State and
Clemson — in addition to ECU. He had
even signed a letter of intent to play for the
Tigers before Coach Dye was able to
persuade him to come to East Carolina.
(Submitted Photo)

“I really almost went to Clemson,” Valentine said. “I signed a Letter of Intent. East Carolina got involved after that. The thing that really happened was that the recruiting coordinator for the Edenton area, Ben Gribe, came around and got to know me a little. Well, I had a friend up in Greenville, Thomas Slade, and every time I went up to Greenville, Coach Dye would always find a way to point (out) a certain play here and there during the game and would say to me, ‘You could have helped us on that play, or he would make a comment about how I would have helped on another play. Then, Dye started to come after me.”

It was Coach Dye’s handling of Valentine and his mother, Vergie, that helped sway the hard-hitting linebacker to ECU.

“I believe everything that man says,” Valentine said. “I trusted him then and I still do today. I really believe in Coach Dye. With Clemson, I had played in the Shrine Bowl in Charlotte, which is near Clemson, and they really put the pressure on me. I visited and loved the campus, so I signed. When Coach Dye found out that I had signed, he personally came to my house and talked to me and my mom. These are the words he told us that night: ‘We can’t promise you anything at East Carolina except a great education. I’m not going to promise you that you will start as a freshman, but I will tell you that with your talent and ability, I expect you will play.’

After a recruiting visit to his home, Zack
Valentine's mom indicated to her son
that she trusted Coach Dye — so he signed
to play for the Pirates that very night.
(Submitted Photo)

“And then he said, ‘Mrs. Valentine, will you trust me with your son when he comes to play football at East Carolina?’ Then he looked at me and said, ‘We can become what Clemson is and much more.’ He went on to say, ‘I will make sure that he gets an education and its up to him to play. But, Mrs. Valentine, you will be able to see him play and later, you will watch him play on television.’”

Those words resonated within Valentine's teen-aged head.

“When he told me this, he stood up and then headed out to his car. He was pulling out of the driveway, and I looked at my mom and she gave me that look, like, ‘Zack, I really trust him.’ So I ran out of the front door and chased him down the street behind his car. Fortunately, he saw me and stopped and I told him that night I wanted to sign with East Carolina.”

Dye’s sales job worked, not to the liking of the folks down at Clemson, but Valentine did become a Pirate in spite of the .

“Clemson was not too happy about it,” Valentine said. “Actually, they didn’t like it at all. But I go by how people treat me and Coach Dye was the type of coach I wanted to play for.”

Valentine said that his initiation to East Carolina football was an interesting one.

Valentine (right), with former teammate and
then-assistant coach Cary Godette, during
Valentine's last year at East Carolina.
(Submitted Photo)

“I took my beatings as a freshman,” he said. “Cary Godette was the starter at one end and a senior named (Mike) Cruisie was the other end. After we lost the first game at State, we went to Appalachian State and lost that game. I played a whole lot that game and the following week was the starter opposite Cary.

“Well, teams just didn’t run against Cary, so I got a lot of action. That suited me fine, especially in that year in the game against North Carolina (38-17 ECU win). I remember Bob Loomis (UNC fullback) kept hitting me over and over again. But then, after awhile, I had to fight back and that is when I first became a player.”

Even in high school, one of the things that set Valentine apart from many players was impeccable technique, which served him well through his professional career and has etched him deeply in the East Carolina history books.

“I had very good technique because I had to have it to make up for my weaknesses as a freshman,” Valentine said. “I wasn’t strong at all. We didn’t have weights at my high school. You know, it was like we had one of those Universal machines my senior year. Otherwise, we basically had tire irons and wheels to work out with… it was 1974.”

Valentine went into the ECU program at just 198 pounds, though he was – and still is – in chiseled shape. He had spent the summer after high school working hard to prepare for his collegiate career, but it wasn’t until he hit the weight room at ECU that he began to fully develop physically.

“I had this poster of Floyd Little (Denver Broncos) on my wall because I really admired him. He was a little guy who achieved against all the odds,” he said. “I got in the weight room and found that if I continued to work hard and train hard and continue to learn the game, that I could become a good player.”

The mentality he forged early at ECU has continued today.

Even today, Valentine is still in top physical condition.
He works hard to maintain his NFL weight, running five
days a week and practicing martial arts. He's a second-
egree black belt in Oyama Karate.
(Photo - Linda Cherubini)


“I stay in shape and still train,” he said. “My playing weight in the NFL was 230. Right now, I’m 232. I’m still 6-3 and I’m a second-degree black belt. Five days a week I get up at 5:30 a.m. and lift and then run. It’s always been a big part of my life.”

Valentine listens to a player.
(Photo - Linda Cherubini)

It is also one of those things that, though they can’t exactly put a finger on it, allows his players at Woodbury to connect with him. He’s not that former player who barks directions at his kids while they scratch their heads wondering if he really ever played. They see it every day. He is a tangible example of what it takes to make it in college and, if they can dream, the pros.

Valentine’s contributions to East Carolina as a player were significant. He was a leader on a defense that consistently measured among the best in college football on a team that went 34-11 over his four years, including an Independence Bowl championship over Louisiana Tech in his final year.

Valentine was so good, he was chosen in the second round of the NFL draft as the second pick for the team of the decade in the 1970s, the Pittsburgh Steelers. And, according to Valentine, ECU was good to him right back.

“Even though I don’t get down there as much as I’d like,” he said. “I think the last time I got down there was six or seven years ago for homecoming. It was so great to see so many old friends. The people in the ticket office, like Earline Leggett, gee whizz… the football people… great. Just great people. I remember Bobby Wallace got his first coaching job at ECU when I was a freshman and now he is at Temple. We still see each other now.

“You know, when I was in school, I had to learn things the hard way. How to hit the books. There was a point when I was academically ineligible at ECU, but I got it together and ended up a Dean’s List student. So many people there cared. Nell Stallings – who just recently passed – Dr. Grimsley, Dr. Martinez, Dr. Schwartz, they were all a tremendous influences on me. ECU always stuck by me… everyone was always there for me.”

The school culture was special to Valentine.

“I would love to live my life over again,” he said. “And go back to East Carolina all over again. The people, the weather, the food…”

As ECU history is told and retold, Valentine’s name is never absent from the tales of Pirate greatness, though to him, it’s difficult to believe that Pirate fans judge him as one of the greats.

“Honestly, I’m not a modest guy,” he said. “But I really don’t know what is good. What does that mean? I have had people tell me that I was good, but to me, I was always just doing what I was told and trying not to let the guy in front of me beat me.”

Not many guys who matched up with Valentine ever beat him and the professional ranks took great notice. In particular, the Pittsburgh Steelers. At the time, former Missouri head coach Woody Woodenhofer was the architect behind the 'Steel Curtain' defense and was paying close attention to Valentine’s collegiate exploits.

Valentine with the Steelers vs Buffalo
(Submitted Photo)

“At the time I was at East Carolina, we didn’t have many players going to the pros,” Valentine said. “There was Godette the year before and also Harold Randolph, who went to the Cowboys, but there weren’t many. My senior year, I heard a lot of people talking about the pros, but I just wanted to play football. Coach Dye told me that I would probably get an opportunity. You start to notice that you are doing more and more interviews and more people start to come around spring practices wanting to talk to you. So, I started thinking that maybe I would have a chance, but my senior year was not focused on getting to the pros.”

One of those scouts that came around a lot was Woodenhofer, and after Valentine’s senior year, Woodenhofer visited to ask him a question.

“I remember Woody said, ‘Zack, what would you do if we drafted you with our number one pick?’” Valentine recalled. “I honestly didn’t have an answer. Couldn’t really say anything in response.

“Of course, they ended up taking Red Hawthorne (running back) with the number one pick and they took me with number two. The defensive coordinator for the Giants also was in contact with me and said they may take me, but they passed and picked some guy called ‘L.T’ the next year. He was a pretty good linebacker, I guess.”

Valentine remembers the process and how it was much different than college recruiting. And after all of the different time tests, interviews, agility tests, he truly had no real feel for what round he would go in, only that he was pretty certain it would be on the first day of the draft.

“I never thought I would go (round) two,” he said. “I was happy, of course, but I was never a big Steelers’ fan. I was a Houston fan and really liked Earl Campbell. I liked the Oilers and didn’t really care much about the Steelers.”

Having little knowledge of the Steelers defense led to some interesting moments for Valentine. Like former ECU quarterback David Garrard’s post-draft comments about pushing Jaguars star quarterback Mark Brunell for the starting job, Valentine’s post-draft commentary left the linebacker with some explaining to do later.

Zack Valentine was fortunate enough
to make some great friends while in the
NFL. He counts among them fellow
Pittsburgh Steeler Terry Bradshaw.
( Photo - 1980 Steelers Yearbook)

“After I was picked, I was on a teleconference and a reporter asks, ‘Zack, how do you feel about coming to Pittsburgh with the Steel Curtain?’” Valentine said. “Well, I wasn’t real familiar with all of the players, so I replied, ‘Well, you got Jack Ham, Jack Lambert, and now you got Zack Valentine.’ Some of the players and reporters took it as a joke, but others didn’t take that comment very well. I didn’t really know who Dennis Winston, Loren Toews, Robin Cole, and Andy Russell were. The team was loaded with great linebackers and all I knew were Ham and Lambert.

“I remember sitting in my hotel room in Pittsburgh the day before (he was to meet everyone) and I pick up the Post-Gazette and there was an interview with Jack Lambert where they asked him what he thought about this small, cocky linebacker coming in from a small school who has heard of only two Pittsburgh linebackers. And Lambert says, ‘Evidently, he must be a good one because they drafted me number two also. Now he just has to show it.’ I read that and was thinking to myself, ‘Oh no! What did you say Zack?’ I thought it was kind of funny.”

It all worked out for Valentine as the players let it go and he began to form relationships with the names that have become legends in the NFL. Mean Joe Greene, L.C. Greenwood, Mel Blount, Lambert, Ham, Ernie Holmes, Dwight White… the very fibers of the curtain. And there was Terry Bradshaw, Lynn Swann, John Stallworth, Franco Harris, Rocky Bleier, all of them came to be Valentine’s friends. And with them, came a Super Bowl ring.

When asked what he thought of
Valentine as a new draft pick for the
Steelers, Jack Lambert said, "Evidently
he must be a good one, because they
drafted me number two also."
(Photo - 1980 Steelers Yearbook)

“I got one,” he said. “And, it felt great because I know I earned it. During the opening game of my rookie season against Kansas City, on the opening kickoff, I came off a block and smacked this guy and dropped him right there. The guys on my sideline were cheering like crazy and that play set the tempo for that season.”

It was that season, 1979, that made him part of the team of the decade in the 1970s.

“To be part of that era makes me feel good,” he said. “I usually try not to look at accolades in sports as a judgment of my life, but that felt good. I still have the ‘Team of the Decade’ T-shirt.”

Valentine was with the Steelers until 1981, when a strange turn of events saw him leave Pittsburgh. After the Steelers had gone to a 3-4 defensive alignment and Valentine had secured a starting job at inside linebacker, he was traded to Baltimore. It was a move that took him by surprise.

“I was shocked as were most of my teammates in Pittsburgh,” he said. “I was shocked because I had just won the starting inside job. The whole town was shocked.”

The shock turned to absolute disbelief after he made the trek to Baltimore to the Colts’ facilities there.

“From the start, I really wasn’t feeling good about the trade to Baltimore,” he said. “At the time, Frank Kush was the coach there and he had kind of made an assessment about me before I ever got there. My agent – Ken Hutchinson – had told Baltimore that I would be there the next day and they said ‘fine.’ So, the next morning, I was on my way from Pittsburgh to Baltimore. I got there just a little after 3 p.m. and the team had just got on the field. I went to the main office and there were reporters waiting there to interview me. There had been a luncheon where they announced that they had traded for a starting linebacker – me – who was coming in to lift the Colts’ defense.

“I walk in and ask the front desk person where I should report. They go in the back and out comes the Director of Operations and he asks me to come in the back. He tells me that they didn’t know if I was going to show up or not and that they had called Pittsburgh and that the Pittsburgh people had told them they didn’t know if I was coming or not. So, he tells me, Baltimore waived me. I thought he was kidding, but he told me it was a personal decision by Coach Kush.”

Valentine repeatedly asked to speak to Kush personally, but was denied. So, he called his agent to tell him the news, to which Hutchinson could only reply, “You were what?” Hutchinson told him that he had personally called the Baltimore people to ensure that they knew Valentine was on his way.

“I stuck around to try and talk to Kush and find out what was going on,” Valentine continued. “After I hung up the phone with Ken, I turned around and there were some reporters asking if they could talk to me. The reporter says, ‘Zack Valentine, you are our new starting linebacker. Coach Kush has spoken so highly of you, how do you feel to be in Baltimore?’

“So, I said, ‘Well… first of all, I like being here. It’s close to my home and family in North Carolina.’ Then I paused and said, ‘But, I just found out that I was waived… you know… cut.’ They couldn’t believe it and they started asking a bunch of questions and all I could say was that I didn’t know why I was waived.”

Valentine then called Steelers’ owner Art Rooney and told him what had happened. Rooney told him that something wasn’t right with this and set out to find out what happened.

“You know, Kush never did talk to me. He refused,” Valentine said. “That really upset me and then the Baltimore folks said they would get me a hotel room for the night, but they required me to pay a deposit for the phone, do you believe that? I called my agent again and told him that I was going to drive to North Carolina and get myself together”

Baltimore never explained themselves to Valentine, who found out from Chris Berman via an ESPN broadcast what had happened. The trade for Valentine had involved a high draft pick going to Pittsburgh. At that time in the NFL, if a player was waived, the lower team could claim the player and sign him for less, thus reducing the value of the traded pick. In short, Baltimore wanted to waive and then re-sign Valentine in order to stick Pittsburgh with a much lower draft pick in the trade. But it never happened.

“On the ESPN report, the guy comes on and says that if people wanted to know how tough a coach Frank Kush is, they should ask Zack Valentine. The story said that I was late getting to Baltimore and Kush waived me and then refused to talk to me.

“Within 20 minutes of that report, my phone was ringing with calls from across the league. I don’t even know how they found me down in North Carolina. I decided to sign with Philadelphia.”

Valentine at Veteran's Stadium the last
time he ever wore an NFL uniform- 1985.
(Submitted Photo)

Valentine spent two seasons in Philadelphia before suffering a career-ending knee injury while playing for Dick Vermiel. He was a vested NFL veteran, so he took the retirement.

Today, Valentine is prepping his high school team for his second season as the head coach and his seventh season overall with Woodbury. He is a physical education teacher and he finds that his job now is everything he could want in a career.

“This part of my football career is much different than (the NFL),” he said. “You have to have a base in your life and mine is here. I’ve gone to the top (in football). But even though I won a Super Bowl, I never won an NCAA title in college and I never made the playoffs as a high school player. But, this has allowed me to finally get those accomplishments — as a coach.”

Through one of his prodigies at Woodbury, Bryant McKinnie, Valentine shared in the glory of Miami’s national title last season and, through his hands on guidance, his Woodbury club has gone to the championships three years running. And, it is here that he also has re-discovered the camaraderie that he so missed after retiring from the NFL.

“The players always come back around and I stay connected with them,” he said. “The mark of a true coach, to me, is when the players you have coached come back and want to talk to you and reminisce about old games. Receiving e-mails from the kids or when one is home on spring break or for the holidays and pops in to say, ‘Hey, Coach Val.’ That’s rewarding. I chuckle because I just hired an assistant who was one of the first kids I coached and he told me that I had helped him fulfill a life dream by hiring him. That feels good.”

Though Valentine finds a lot reward in his work, there are moments, he says, that make him wonder.

“I played in the NFL and I’m thinking that this might mean something to the kids,” he said. “But a lot of the kids today really cannot relate to that. Even now, kids will ask me if I played against Emmitt Smith or Deion Sanders. I am Mr. Valentine to them or Coach Val. I don’t think they grasp the full understanding of a Super Bowl ring. We won the state championship three years ago. That, they can relate to.”

Although he does admit that he got a kick out of one thing.

“The kids thought it was great because on one of the Nintendo games, I am on the roster,” he said. “They came in and thought that was really impressive.”

He does try to impress upon his kids a few things he has learned on the way.

“I tell them, ‘I’ve been to the next level,’” he said. “I tell them to work hard and get a piece of what I got.”

His teams have responded. As a defensive coordinator, his Woodbury squad gave up less than 10 points per game over his five years and pitched 19 shutouts. And now, his club is poised for yet another run at the title.

“Looking back, I thank God for my accomplishments,” he said. “I could write a nice script. There is not a whole lot I would do different.

With Dr. Richard Eakin in 1996 at ECU
Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.
(Submitted Photo)

“East Carolina has meant a great deal to me. I am very proud of my education. I have great memories of walking the streets of Greenville. I would never be ashamed to send a kid there for an education. I would be so proud of one of my players going there, more than any other university in the country. Being inducted into the university’s hall of fame was a great honor. Believe it or not, I still wear my East Carolina stuff around today.”

He also takes great pride in where the university is today.

“Looking at the school now, the athletes and the people there, I’m happy to be just a small part of a great big, lovable family at ECU,” he said. “I was fortunate enough to be part of that, and seeing how it has grown to what it is today is amazing to me.”

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Pirate Time
Machine Archives...

.

ZACK VALENTINE BIO BOX
Name:

Zack Valentine
 

Age:

45
.

Sport:

Football
.

Years at ECU:

1975-78
.

Position/Jersey No.

Linebacker/ No. 89
.

Hometown:

Edenton, NC
.

Currently Resides:

Swedesboro, NJ
.

Occupation:
  • Physical Education Teacher/Head Football Coach at Woodbury (NJ) High School

  • Retired NFL Football Player (Pittsburgh Steelers, Philadelphia Eagles)

Valentine on a promo card for Frito-Lay
(Submitted Photo)

Degree(s)
  • BS Health and Physical Education, ECU

  • MS Distance Learning, Drake University

.

Marital Status:

Not married
.

Children:
  • Danielle, 8

Quotable: 

“Honestly, I’m not a modest guy. But I really don’t know what is good. What does that mean? I have had people tell me I was good, but to me, I was always just doing what I was told and trying not to let the guy in front of me beat me.”
.

TEN QUESTIONS

1. Who is your favorite current Pirate and Why?

“I like (Pernell)Griffin, the linebacker. He came from Williamston under Harold Robinson. I student taught under Coach Robinson. Griffin, I like his aggressiveness and he’s a smart football player who likes to be around the ball and has a nose for making the play. I like his size and speed as well.”
.
.

2. What do you miss most about ECU?

“Oh man, I went down (to ECU) not too long ago and got lost in Greenville. It’s much different than when I went to school back in 1975. When I was there, there were little over 10,000 students and now the population of the school and the educational background produced there is amazing. I miss the people most – I really do…what a bunch of nice people. The area, the comraderie, I miss that closeness. Between the players and coaches here (at Woodbury High School), we have some of that closeness so I get some of that now.”
.

3. Where is your favorite spot on the ECU campus?

“Any spot you go at ECU was a good spot. I wasn’t a drinker so the Elbo Room was not a part of my life. I remember Mendenhall. We used have these pool tournaments. Used to play all day there. That was fun.”

 

4. What was your dorm room and favorite dorm story?

“Oh man, 112 Belk Dorm-C. Man do I remember that place. Last room on the right hand side. Do I remember? Yep, three years.  My roommates were Cramsey McCoy, but he ended up quitting that year. He got hurt and went back to Sanford. The second year was Willie Holley and Noah Clark. He was a defensive tackle – undersized, about 220 pounds. Played at Robinsville. Here’s a dorm story. My senior year, I scared the heck out of a kid. My brother gave me his 1968 442 and man, that car was pristine. Perfect. I had just finished washing and waxing the car and came back into the dorm area. I remember coming around the corner off of Evans Street around the basketball nets. Somebody threw eggs at my car. My head went right up on the third floor where I saw a door close. I parked the car, and got a few of the football players and they didn’t ask me any questions – just knew I was upset. We walked into this dorm and the front door was unlocked. We checked the doors on the left and the right and they were locked with no lights on. So, we went to the back one and knocked on the door. The guy was shaking and I said, ‘Who threw the eggs?’ And this guy started to wet himself. I made him wash and wax my car.”

.

5. Greatest Moment as a Pirate football player?

“You know, gee whiz, I have a whole lot of those. The impact of the Carolina game. I didn’t know it then, but I do know now. I read a screen pass from one of my friends on the State team, Johnny Evans. I jumped on that and scored a touchdown. The Independence Bowl and the defense that we had that year. We were always in the rankings in the top five defenses for years. And, of course, how close these guys were. We were all from all these small towns in North Carolina who went to East Carolina was incredible. The addition to the stadium right after I left and knowing that I had done something to contribute to it.”

.

6. Most disliked opponent?

“Carolina. I know you hear it repeatedly. I think if Carolina had offered me a scholarship, I probably would have gone there, but they didn’t. So, you know, I hate Carolina. State I can tolerate. I have nothing but love for East Carolina. When a kid wears a shirt with Carolina on it in my gym class, I make him turn it inside out. I tell them quick, ‘If you got Carolina stuff on, turn it out.’ I honestly don’t think anything in my house is that color.”
.

7. Athletic Influences?

“Pat Dye, easily. I have a whole lot of respect for Coach Dye in my opinion, because I could talk to him. He steered me into a direction to work hard in my life. He used to tell us about how hard he worked. I’ll never forget my freshman year and he called in all the freshmen. Lots of kids had quit, many of them had been all stars with all kinds of awards, but they couldn’t take it and left the program. In his office – it was a nice cool air conditioned office – and we all sat on the floor. Coach Dye said, ‘Let me ask you a question?’ and then said, ‘It’s real tough out there, isn’t it?’ And we all said, ‘Yes.’ Then he asked, ‘How many of you boys thought about quitting this team?’ Nobody raised their hands, so then he said ‘Hell, raise your hands,’ in that southern drawl of his. Every kid’s hand went up. He said, ‘I know.’ Then he pointed to guys like Eddie Hicks, Gerald Hall, and myself and said, ‘Let me tell you something, you guys here now are special guys. Last year I had guys quitting during the season. I knew if you could make it this week, you were going to be a special group.’ Well, the record speaks for itself, we were something special.”
.
.

8. Favorite coach?

“Obviously, Pat Dye – he was one of my favorite coaches and, of course, Chuck Knoll, that was something else. Chuck is a very good teacher who lets his coaches coach and when he wanted to coach, he would step up and speak, and it was like E.F. Hutton talking, you just listen.”
.
.

9. Best Locker Room Story

“I will never forget this one time. You know, as players, we had the privilege of eating at the training table. Well, my sophomore or junior year, all of us were complaining about the food. We even wrote letters, complaining to Coach Dye. The black guys all wanted chitlins on the training table. Well Coach Hutchinson, another favorite, was in charge of the training table and we got what we wanted. Well, if you know anything about chitlins, they smell real bad. We had that place stinking and the other guys would run away.”
.

10. Best Emerald City hangout?

“Mendenhall and the pool room was the hangout.”
.

 
 

Pirate Time
Machine Archives...

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02/23/2007 02:08:38 PM

 

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