Tough, gregarious, loud, and aggressive are words often used to describe football players who have the job of protecting the quarterback.
It’s arguably one of the most important assignments on a football team, yet members of the offensive line don’t often receive the glory and recognition that running backs, quarterbacks, and wide receivers typically do.
They are typically considered the unsung heroes of the team, always in the trenches, doing their best to create scoring opportunities for the team.
Well, Varsity Club coordinator and former WVU offensive lineman Dale Wolfley knows this first hand during his Mountaineer playing career from 1987-1990. In one of the most memorable seasons in school history, the Mountaineers went undefeated in 1988 until losing to top-ranked Notre Dame in the national championship game and Wolfley was a member of that great team.
The memories Wolfley created during his playing career at WVU have stayed with him, and he is working to bring old teammates and friends together once again for Offensive Linemen Weekend on Oct. 19-20. The Varsity Club is expecting the return of nearly 100 former players from every decade since the 1940s for the weekend reunion.
Wolfley said it is important to recognize these unsung players because he knows the success of any team is based on chemistry, and how well the five guys up front have to work together to achieve a common goal.
“Lineman, you’ve got to have five together, in unison, to make an offense click, and that’s why they are such good friends because they’re guys that are working together for common goals as a team,” said Wolfley.
Wolfley said his fondest memories when he was a player were when he would join his teammates for buffet dinners every Thursday night at a local pizza shop. It is memories like these, Wolfley says, that help bond the offensive line into a true brotherhood that lasts well beyond their playing days.
Don Nehlen, who coached the undefeated ‘88 team, agrees.
“Those guys are a special breed,” he said. “Their names are never in the headlines or anything else; most people don’t even know what their names are, and they’re the foundation of your football program and foundation of your football team.”
The weekend will kick off with a dinner banquet on Friday, Oct. 19, at the Waterfront Place Hotel, starting at 6:30 p.m. WVU Director of Athletics and former Mountaineer quarterback Oliver Luck, Nehlen, and longtime NFL standout Jeff Hostetler will be among the many scheduled speakers during Friday’s dinner.
On Saturday, the group will gather at the Varsity Club tent, located in Tent City near the Ronald McDonald House for a pregame brunch before the West Virginia-Kansas State game.
Many of the returning players will be featured on Wolfley’s Gameday radio show with host Kevin Connoley, which airs on WVAQ. That show begins four hours prior to kickoff and lasts for two hours. The returning offensive linemen will also be named honorary captains for the game.
The goal of the weekend, says Wolfley, is to give these guys some well-deserved recognition while also making sure they continue to remain connected with their alma mater.
“What this is about is we’re here saying, ‘hey, the big uglies, the hogs, we’re here to honor you, what you meant to football and the program and don’t always get the glory,’” he concluded.
For more information on Offensive Lineman Reunion Weekend, contact Dale Wolfley at (304) 293-9563 or log on to http://www.wvuvarsityclub.com