Page 12-The Michigan Daily - Thursday, October 26, 1989
Woolfolk trades in cleats for quotes
by Phil Green
Daily Sports Writer
For many professional athletes,
the end of a playing career and the
adulation that comes along with it
can leave a large void.
This is not the case with former
Michigan standout Butch Woolfolk.
This past fall has been different
from all others for Woolfolk, but
different in this case does not mean
Woolfolk's playing days may be
over, but his career in professional
football continues to flourish. His
stay in the NFL concluded as a
member of the Detroit Lions in last
season's third week when he tore his
knee's anterior cruciate ligament.
The doctors told him that rushing
the football professionally was one
option he no longer had.
BECAUSE he realizes that he
cannot be out on the field, however,
Woolfolk's transition away from
playing has not been too hard. "It's
only rough on Sundays when I
watch my friends out there playing,"
About a month and a half ago, at
his wife Regina's urging, he decided
to become a sports reporter. Wool-
folk, now living in Sugarland, Tex-
as, initially approached USA Today,
but they were uninterested. He then
tried the local Houston papers, and
he signed on with the Houston Post,
starting as a bi-weekly football col-
umnist and hoping to progress to
cover all sports.
"We thought it was a great idea,"
said Post Sports Editor Ivy McLe-
more. "He's got a keen insight into
football and has been doing really
Tirrel Burton, Michigan's back-
field coach, with whom Woolfolk
still keeps in touch, could see the
change coming.. "It wasn't a sur-.
prise. I think he'll be good at it, and
I'm glad he got the opportunity."
And former teammate, quarter-
back John Wangler, believes that
Woolfolk's new occupation "is a
great decision. He was always very
articulate and has good insight into
The role reversal from interview-
ee to interviewer did not faze Wool-
folk. "I always understood writers.
Like in all things, there are good
writers and bad writers. I gained
respect in the amount of work it
takes...I love it."
AFTER ONLY one month as a
writer, he already has some idea of
what he would like to accomplish. "I
want to lift sportswriting to a
different level. I don't just want to
criticize...I want to analyze and offer
suggestions. I played the game, I can
offer my insights."
McLemore adds: "I've been really
pleased with his work and he'll just
get better as he goes along."
Woolfolk has already tackled such
controversial issues as the hype
surrounding Art Shell's hiring as the
NFL's first Black head coach and the
effect of trades on players.
"It was Al Davis (who hired
Shell), not the NFL. He's separate,
he's a maverick." Woolfolk also
believes that "Shell was not the best
candidate for the job," and that
further efforts are necessary to get
Blacks more involved in upper level
'I want to lift sports-
writing to a different
level. I don't just want to
criticize...I want to
analyze and offer
suggestions. I played the
game, I can offer my
- Butch Woolfolk
As a former player, Woolfolk is
able to empathize with the athletes:
"When a player gets traded, it means
he has to uproot his family, leave
his home behind. I don't think
owners or management see how
difficult it is...I think it's unfair that
players are like a meat market. They
don't have a choice of where they're
going to go."
WOOLFOLK, however, due to
his unhappiness and lack of playing
time, requested a trade from the New
York Giants, the team that had made
him their first-round selection and
the eighteenth pick overall in the
1982 NFL college draft. The Giants
granted him his wish, and in 1985
they dealt him to the Houston Oilers
for a third-round draft choice.
His seasons with the Giants were
drastically different from anything he
had experienced in football before.
"We lost more games than during
my entire career at the University of
Michigan. It was really frustrating.
Football was not fun at all."
The Westfield, New Jersey native
was sad to leave, but in the end
things worked out for the best. One
thing he definitely did not miss
about New York was the media's
treatment. "They try to print bad
stuff. They do that with everyone.
You're the greatest running back
ever one day; the next day you're the
worst draft choice ever."
Despite all the location and career
changes, one constant still remains
- the University of Michigan. The
Wolverines' number two career ball-
carrier is "very happy and very proud
that the University of Michigan
doesn't give players grades or money
to attract them. I really respect that."
He still keeps in touch with his
ex-teammates, especially quarter-
backs Wangler and David Hall, and
defensive back Keith Bostic.
Woolfolk's days on the field may
not be over - we may someday see
him pacing the sidelines. "I would
love to coach. I'd prefer the pro
game; the only college I'd coach at
is the University of Michigan."
ing to Wangler,
would not be a
bad idea. "I think
he'd be a good
times it's hard for
great players to
coach, but I don't
think it would be
a problem for
him. He's patient
and relates to
people well," he
"He's a good
"He can get peop-
le to perform
better than they
that's more im-
portant than the
X's and O's."
Holy smokes! It's Griddes!
Millions of Korean Griddes players gathered in Seoul's Youido Plaza to
hear the Pope divulge his picks for the week. The Holy Father reportedly
has a complex system for determining winners which involves burning
incense and Gregorian chants. He also seems to have a personal affection for
Notre Dame and Holy Cross. The Vatican will indicate his first weekly
victory with puffs of white smoke. No word yet on what he will order at
O'Sullivan's, where he is known as "J.P.", should he emerge a winner. A
tankard of ale, maybe?
If you're not afraid of this divine competitor, you can turn your picks in
at the Student Publications Building, 420 Maynard by Friday at 5:00 p.m.
1. Indiana at Michigan
2. Pittsburgh at Notre Dame
3. Miami (FL) at Florida St.
4. Colorado at Oklahoma
5. Iowa St. at Nebraska
6. Tennessee at LSU
7. Houston at Arkansas
8. Stanford at USC
9. Alabama at Penn St.
10. Mississippi St. at Auburn
11. N. C. St. at S. Carolina
12. Wisconsin at Illinois
13. Wash. St. at Arizona St.
14. W. Virg. at Boston College
15. Iowa at Northwestern
16. Ohio St. at Minnesota
17. Michigan St. at Purdue
18. Dartmouth at Penn
19. BGSU at Miami (OH)
20. The Rock at Indiana (PA)
Score of Michigan game:
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