Tradition • Character • Service

Tradition • Character • Service

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Rj Walters: Upon Further Inspection, Tom Korte feels just like the Steelers kind of guy

By RJ Walters / Hillsdale Daily News Sports Editor as posted at his "Down in the Dale" blog.

As it will be published in the Hillsdale Daily News on April 29, 2009

RJ's editors note: I never publish stories or columns on here before they go to print in the HDN, but I felt compelled to do that tonight because I felt it was right given some special circumstances. Yesterday’s blog post on Tom Korte mirrors all of the feelings I had on his situation after an introductory glance at what was going on and what obstacles he faced. What I didn’t have a chance to consider though was the people who know Korte best, and what Korte had been told by the organization himself. I also did not know the Steelers were planning on releasing Larry Foote, which totally gives life to how interested Pittsburgh may just be in bringing in one or two young LBs. Anyways, after a day to ponder, investigate more and make some necessary calls here are my reconstructed feelings on the situation.

All Tuesday afternoon I was trying to figure out reasons Tom Korte would not make the Pittsburgh Steelers. I was trying not to let emotion, and my biased observations throw me overboard, en route to a somewhat spotty opinion.

Then, after writing an entire column full of indecisiveness based on numbers and “expert opinions”, I was let off the hook — the Steelers released seven-year veteran inside linebacker Larry Foote, and hours later I spoke with Korte at length.

What I’ve concluded is that Korte really is everything Keith Otterbein has built him up to be, he is a young man who has been convinced since a young age he’d be lining up to play on Sunday and the Pittsburgh Steelers just might be the perfect opportunity at the perfect time.

Bear in mind, he already has a contract, the Steelers are already investing their time and money in him, something Mark Nicolet was only chasing heading into rookie mini-camp for the Lions last May. He is set to officially sign a two-year deal this weekend when he travels to the Steel City for the first time, and even if things don’t go quite as Korte wants and he ends up a practice squad player early on, he is still guaranteed at least $88,400 over the 17-week regular season, aside from the bonus he is set to receive.

That dollar figure might not blow some people away, I’m not one of those for the record, but the sheer fact they have already promised to give Korte a long, hard look is something that cannot be overstated. That means one rough day is not grounds for a “thanks, but no thanks,” because in essence Korte is already a Steeler, someone the organization is ready to bring into training camp come August.

On top of that, the Steelers are an organization that has a history of turning undrafted free agents into starters on contenders and even Super Bowl winning teams. Just ask current Steelers Arnold Harrison, last year’s team rookie of the year Patrick Bailey or even star linebacker James Harrison who just inked a $51.75 million contract in the offseason.

The fact is the Steelers have always been lauded as an organization who has an eye for finding and developing under-appreciated talent, something Korte knows a little about. It was just a few months ago that he was passed over as a selection for the Division II All-Star game, the Cactus Bowl, for which a committee selected who they thought to be the 10 best linebackers in D-II. Korte brushed off that slight as “just a bunch of politics”, saying he was happy just to have pro scouts show interest throughout his senior year, and ultimately come to his pro days prior to the draft.

You see Korte isn’t an athlete who needs negative emotions to drive him to positive reactions, he is simply an extremely driven, high IQ football player who believes he is good enough to “be a starter in the NFL, and hopefully one day for a Super Bowl champion”. He is the kind of guy who thanks his coaches, teammates and family just for putting him in this spot, even though deep down he’s the only one who knows how many hours he’s spent in the gym, and the number of evenings he’s spent studying film instead of hitting parties.

Korte plays like he talks — smooth, purposefully, and with an obvious passion.

It must be stated that the Steelers did also sign Andy Schantz, an undrafted rookie out of FCS school Portland State, after the draft, and two of his teammates have already caught on as linebackers in the NFL, for the Colts and Buccaneers. Plus he was under the tutelage of former NFL head coach Jerry Glanville for two seasons, in a defensive scheme eerily similar to “Blitzburgh’s” 4-3. But you know what, Korte couldn’t even remember Schantz’s first name Tuesday, not because he’s arrogant, but because he’s just another player to him, just the latest hurdle to clear after scouting services all over the Internet pinned Korte as low as the 50th best ILB in the draft.

You see, I learned from the e-mails I received Tuesday from fans of Grand Rapids Catholic Central, where Korte played high school ball, from numerous conversations with Otterbein, and ultimately from talking to Korte’s teammates that to bet against Tom Korte is to admit you’re willing to be called stupid, because he’s too good a football player and even more so a person to doubt him. So anything I’ve read about Korte being too short or not able to jump as high as his linebacking counterparts is a moot point.

The facts are Korte just agreed to sign an NFL contract, he was a three-time First-Team selection in one of D-II’s toughest conference, and he’s handled the last two days as well as possible, all while finishing a final research paper and presentation at a college that demands commitment around the clock.

Those sheer truths, coupled with the knack Dick Labeau has for developing talent and the breaking news of Larry Foote being released have made me pause. I can’t think of one good reason to look at Tom Korte as just another talented D-II guy, a man who was a good story in college and is destined to be an even better dentist (which is another possible career for him).

In fact I would be willing to bet that he’s every ounce the player he proclaims to be, and maybe he’s just the next big project for an organization who thrives in mining talent others seem to have missed.

Even if I am admitting my bias now, and letting some feel-good sentiment affect me, at least it’s in regards to a player who has yet to find a challenge too big to take down.

Ultimately though, I’ll let the NFL be the final judge and just appreciate what he has done for the Charger community in the meantime.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Korte headed to Pittsburgh Steelers has confirmed that Hillsdale College All American linebacker Tom Korte has been invited to Pittsburgh Steelers mini-camp as a free agent acquisition.

Congratulations to the Grand Rapids Catholic Central graduate who was contacted late in the 7th round.

"I am ecstatic just to get a shot," he said amidst the craziness of learning he was looking at a shot on Sundays.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Former Charger is New Head Coach at Concord

Concord hires Joe Williamson to coach football

By Mike Pryson | Jackson Citizen Patriot, April 23, 2009

Joe Williamson is getting an opportunity to turn around another high school football program.

Williamson has been named varsity football coach at Concord two years after he reversed Litchfield's football fortunes. In 2007, Williamson led Litchfield to a 5-4 season after Litchfield was just 1-8 the year prior.

The challenge at Concord has a familiar ring to it.

Concord is coming off a 1-8 campaign, and the Yellow Jackets are just 2-43 over the past five seasons. Concord's last season over .500 was 2001. That year, the team finished 10-3 and advanced to the Division 7 semifinals.

"We're optimistic he can help turn things around here," Concord athletic director Patrick Hansen said. "He's big into the weight room, and he's got a lot of kids excited. We're excited to have him."

Williamson is a high school match teacher at Concord. He played football at Defiance (Ohio) High School and at Hillsdale College. Williamson did not coach last year after leaving Litchfield to accept a teaching position at Concord.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Can you help these fellow Hillsdale grads?

Kristin and Steve are Hillsdale grads and are in the grueling process of adopting a child. You may be able to help things along for them.

They recently sent out an email to many of their former Charger friends asking for some assistance. This is what they wrote:

As some of you may or may not know, our family is pursuing adoption. We've been on a waiting list for about 2 years now and we need your help! We've attached a blog that we've created in hopes of spreading the word and letting prospective birth mothers know more about us. If you would pass this blog on to as many people as you can, maybe we could get lucky and stumble upon a birth mother that may be facing a difficult decision. We thank you in advance for any help that you may be able to offer~ please take a few minutes to read our blog and even let us know what you think! Your time and effort in MUCH appreciated. We have created this new account in hopes that our last name may remain anonymous. Thanks again for any leads you may be able to provide~
Steve, Kristin and Carson

Please note the above request for their last name not to be used. If you went to school with them, you already know what great people they are. Please respect this request.

The family's blog is located at

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Muddy inducted into Saginaw County Sports Hall of Fame

Former SVSU AD, football coach Muddy Waters elected to Saginaw County Sports Hall of Fame

by Hugh Bernreuter
Monday April 20, 2009, 10:40 PM

Saginaw Valley State University isn't exactly the college that Frank "Muddy" Waters built.

But it is the athletic program that Frank "Muddy" Waters built, so it was only appropriate that Saginaw County Sports Hall of Fame President Jack Tany announced the 2009 inductees in SVSU's Ryder Center Monday.

"My dad left Hillsdale because he was going to be able to build a football program the way he wanted it built," Muddy Waters son, Frank "Murky" Waters, said. "Saginaw Valley gave him that opportunity. It wasn't easy. He came here and there was no tradition, no upperclassmen."

Waters left Hillsdale after compiling a 138-47-5 record to coach at a university that did not have a football program. Five years later, Waters led SVSU to the Great Lake Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title.

"He was the athletic director and was able to build a program that included scholarships for basketball, men and women, scholarships for track and wrestling and bowling," Murky Waters said. "He was able to do a lot because he had direct access to the president."

But after the 1979 season, Muddy Waters left SVSU for Michigan State University. He had a 24-26-2 record at SVSU and a three-year record of 10-23 at MSU.

"He had to take the job ... it was his alma mater," Murky Waters said. "But when he went to Michigan State, he hung out with legislators and he kept pushing Saginaw Valley. He would tell them there's this place in Saginaw that's desperate for money. Their facilities are embarrassing.

"He saw this place before he died and was very happy."

Joining Waters in the 2009 class are fastpich player Dave "Tuck" Bedford, former Central Michigan University quarterback Pat Boyd, former three-sport star at Arthur Hill Art Gelow, former Douglas MacArthur swimmer Wade King, Means Stamping manager Wendell Nehmer, former Arthur Hill swimmer Howard Patterson, former Bridgeport volleyball player Terri Phillion-Dulude, former St. Andrew's football player Mike Walderzak and the 1946-47-48 SS. Peter & Paul's basketball teams.

King took a flight from Columbia, S.C., to attend Monday's announcement and will return for the induction ceremony and banquet, Sunday, Nov. 8, at Horizons Conference Center.

"I wasn't going to miss this," King said. "It was a great excuse to come back home and see friends and family. It's an incredible honor."

Anyone interested in buying tickets to the banquet can call Jan Pope at 777-5363 or e-mail her at Tickets are $40.

Tany also announced that the Hall of Fame has changed the name of the annual Saginaw County Athletes of the Year award, which went to the top high school athletes in Saginaw County. Tany said the award is called the Dr. Tom Slade Award, named after former Saginaw High and Michigan quarterback Tom Slade, who died in 2006.

Hugh Bernreuter is assistant sports editor for The Saginaw News. You may reach him at 776-9771 or e-mail him at

Monday, April 20, 2009

Spring is in the air: Chargers’ spring game offers a look at QB prospects

RJ Walters
Hillsdale Daily News
April 20, 2009

All eyes are on the man under center.

Even though the quarter­back lines up with 10 guys who make his mission possible and he is constantly battling another unit of 11 bruisers, no position in sports may be more revered, or more openly criticized for that matter.

While Sunday’s Hillsdale College spring football game did nothing to convince spectators that Michigan weather can be anything but plain miserable this time of year, it was a perfect rainy day to take stock of four Charger QBs as head coach Keith Otterbein tries to guide his team to the top of the GLIAC If Sunday was any indication, junior to-be Troy Weatherhead is working hard to overcome injury problems and cement his spot as one of the GLIAC’s most reliable gunslingers, while redshirt freshman Anthony Mifsud is already a physical specimen to be reckoned with.

It’s always a luxury to have more than one good option at QB, but the way things are shaping up the Charger coaching staff has plenty of difficult decisions on the near horizon.

Weatherhead and Mifsud, along with the coaches’ son, Brad Otterbein, who will be a junior, and sophomore-to-be Matt Bryan all controlled the snaps for three series Sunday afternoon, just enough of a glimpse to draw some insightful conclusions at the end of Chargers’ spring ball.

With 132 days to go before the team’s road opener at St. Joseph’s College on August 29, here is what Charger fans should know about their favorite gunslingers based on Sunday’s performances.

Troy Weatherhead
Waves of anxiety must have swept through the athletic de­partment earlier this semester when Weatherhead broke his leg in an intramural basket­ball game, fresh off a successful first season in the starting role. It appears everyone can take a deep breath for now though, granted he stays healthy.

Other than a few shaky long balls early on, Weatherhead looked just I like remember him last fall — unshakeable, fairly mobile and blessed with touch that allows him to make almost every throw a QB needs to.

He led the offense to two touchdowns and was only sacked once Sunday, by a Charger front-line that was quick to put pressure on him; and although he nearly threw a pick on a fade route in the back of the end zone, the plays that made you say ‘wow’ easily outweighed the ones that make you shake your head.

He made a pair of beautiful throws into double coverage deep downfield, resulting in 27 and 35 yards bombs to slot­man A.J. Kegg and lanky, speedster Andre Holmes.

He was excellent at sustaining drives, his spirals were tight and he looked right at home barking out plays and communicating with teammates.

He completed six of 10 passes in 21 plays Sunday and gave the crowd every reason to believe his 21 TDs against 10 interceptions in 2008 was no fluke.

If he’s not the clear-cut starter come August I expect a bum knee is the only thing holding him back.

Full Article

Monday, April 13, 2009

Former Dale Ben Shaw: Nearly 70, Shaw still says Game On.

Ridgefield Press, Connecticut

Story by Tim Murphy

Ben Shaw likes to call his longtime defensive partner his son.

That player, Dave Kenes, is 68 years old.

“He calls me dad,” said Shaw.

Shaw will be 70 this October. But he has no intention of stopping the activity he calls his passion: Playing competitive ice hockey.

A longtime Ridgefielder, Shaw is one of the charter members of the Danbury-based Old Crabs hockey team. The team, which is comprised of players in their 50s and 60s, plays once a week against area opponents and also takes part in several yearly tournaments.

“Sometimes I say to myself, ‘What the heck are you doing,’ ” said Shaw. “But then I think about how much I would miss the camaraderie and the friendship and the game itself. I’m just not ready to hang up my skates yet.”

At least with the Old Crabs and their opponents, Shaw is playing against guys roughly his own age, even if he is the team’s oldest player. But two mornings a week at the Winter Garden he skates in a men’s league that has some players still in their 20s.

“That’s when I wonder if I’m crazy,” he said. “The speed of the game is much faster. But those younger guys don’t want me to quit. They say that I’m an inspiration to them.”

To realize how long Shaw has been playing hockey, consider this: He calls himself a late bloomer.

“I only played my last two years at Mamaroneck High School,” he said. “I skated with the team as a sophomore in practices but I wasn’t ready to play yet. I had to get better.”

Shaw played football for two years at Hillsdale College and also helped form a hockey club team. After graduating in the early 1960s, Shaw stayed connected with hockey by playing in adult leagues and coaching youth teams. In the late 1970s, one of those adult teams, the New York Commuters, formed a travel team and began playing in tournaments throughout the Northeast and Canada. The team changed its name to the Old Crabs in the 1980s. Several of the players, including Shaw and Kenes, are still there.

Full Story

Spring Game this Sunday

The Chargers close out their 2009 spring practice sessions this Sunday with the annual Spring Game at 1:00 PM.

A cookout will follow the controlled scrimmage.

Cezat Named Michigan College Female Athlete of the Year

Katie Cezat named the Female Michigan College Athlete of the Year by the Detroit Athletic Club

Hillsdale College Release

April 10, 2009 - Awards season continued Friday afternoon for Hillsdale College senior women's basketball player Katie Cezat.

She was named the female Michigan College Athlete of the Year news story imageby the Detroit Athletic Club. She will be presented the award at a banquet on Monday, May 11. This is the fourth year the DAC has presented this award to college athletes.

The award includes nominees from all colleges and universities in the state, going across all sports and all divisions. The winner of the men's award in 2009 is Tim Hiller from Western Michigan University.

Cezat put together a season for the record books in 2008-09, being named the Division II Women's Basketball Player of the Year by the WBCA, Daktronics and She averaged 29 points and 16 rebounds per game for the Chargers, who finished the season as GLIAC champions and ranked as high as No. 3 in the nation.

Full Release

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Academic, athletic success go hand in hand for McKay

This is a nice rticle about former Charger Ken McKay and his daughter Miriam who will play softball at Hillsdale as a freshman next season.

Standout softball player to continue career at Hillsdale
By James Kelley
Voice Reporter

Last fall, Anchor Bay softball standout Miriam McKay signed a national letter of intent to attend Hillsdale College in the fall of 2009.

The second baseman and outfielder has been a three-year starter for the Tars, who went to the state quarterfinals last season.

McKay, who will receive both athletic and academic scholarships for college, says after looking at Division II and III schools, Hillsdale was the best fit for her.

"They weren't my top choice at first, but after I visited the campus and talked with the coaches and players and found out about their great educational program, I thought it was the best fit," McKay said. "I think I will like it there and I'm excited about the opportunity."

When move-in day comes at the south central Michigan school campus this fall, it will be familiar territory for her father.

Ken McKay attended Hillsdale, earning eight varsity letters while playing both football and baseball for the school.

full article

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