Tuesday, April 15, 2014

1996 Revisited

Google News is a regular stop each morning as I try to dig up interesting nuggets for the blog. Today's news search turned up a story from The Dartmouth headlined, Football team looks to tackle title.

Hmm, I wondered, did I somehow miss a story about spring football in The D?

Because I didn't remember seeing the story, I clicked through and discovered that for some reason the news aggregator – which usually pulls up current stories – somehow ended up pointing to an Aug. 14, 1996 story. Given that I was covering the team at the time for the local daily, I read the story with interest.

History would prove the headline was fitting. Dartmouth did, in fact, "tackle the title," finishing the year a perfect 10-0.

A line from the story in The D:
The defense, which was the top-rated unit in the league last season, once again looks strong. It will be anchored by a corps of talented linebackers: (Mark) Abel, who led the team with 136 tackles last season, Brian Schmidt '97 and Zack Walz '98.
Walz would go on to make the All-Ivy League first team for the second of three times in '96, and be drafted by the Arizona Cardinals a year later after making All-Ivy yet again. He ended up playing in the NFL for five years. (Editor's note: I was fortunate enough to cover his first start at the Vet in Philadelphia.)

Here's the ironic part of Google turning up the '96 story: Although Walz retired in 2002, he will be in the news again shortly.

Bob Ley, host of the acclaimed ESPN show Outside the Lines, spoke with Walz as part of an Outside the Lines special, Pat Tillman: 10 Years Later an Enduring Tragedy. Walz was a good friend and roommate of Tillman when they were teammates on the Cardinals.

The Outside the Lines special is slated to be broadcast one week from today, April 22, from 8-9 p.m.

For what it's worth, I wrote a story about Walz and Tillman 10 years ago. Find it here.
After retiring from the NFL, Walz founded Student-Athlete Showcase, which a decade later is still going strong, as the SAS website says, "delivering the most successful college recruiting results."

Find Zack's SAS bio here.
As you may already know, with rain in the forecast Dartmouth held today's scheduled football practice yesterday. Find full coverage on BGA Premium.