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A Newsletter By, About, and For Graduates
of William Allen High School's Class of 1983

Issue 6 - June 1998

Classmates in the News --
Intent on Conditioning: The Eagles' Mike Wolf, an Allentown native,
has found a home in a tent

By: Terry Larimer of The Morning Call

Mike Wolf has nothing against running and weight lifting. In fact, it’s all part of the program he puts the Philadelphia Eagles through to make them a better football team.

But Wolf, the former all-state football center for Allen High School, said, "Running a lot might make you a better runner and lifting weights can make you a better weightlifter, but if you want to be a better football player, you have to play football."

Wolf is in his third season as strength and conditioning coach for the Eagles and his "office" these days is in a tent just outside the Eagles’ locker room in the Varsity House at Lehigh University.

It’s in that tent after every practice that a group of Eagles troops in and goes through exercises on a series of apparatus that keeps them toned up for the coming season.

"Love it," Wolf said when asked about the outdoor weight room. He said the Minnesota Vikings did it when he was assistant strength and conditioning coach there prior to coming to the Eagles.

"We didn’t know where to put it at West Chester [in Wolf’s first season with the Eagles]," he said. "Up here [at Lehigh], we have the right situation."

Mike Wolf

Mike Wolf, the Eagles' strength and conditioning coach, stands guard in his new training camp digs at Lehigh University. Wolf is an Allen High graduate.

The fresh air is nice and so is the shade or protection from rain provided by the tent. Plus, just like the workout facility in the bowels of Veterans Stadium where the Eagles have their weight room during the season, a sound system has been set up so the players can lift to the accompaniment of their favorite tunes.

One day in the first week of practice when the temperature was flirting with triple digits, the music of choice was "I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas."

"That was his idea," Wolf laughed, pointing at his assistant, Tom Kanavy.

The atmosphere in the tent is usually loose, but everyone is required to come in and put in his time. The workouts are scheduled by position, Wolf said, more out of a sense of camaraderie, but also because people of different sizes are capable of handling different weight.

But all the workouts are the same.

"If you play football, you use the same muscles regardless of position, so we don’t change much," Wolf said.

But the workouts are lighter than they’ll soon be.

"We cut back in preseason because the guys are working hard every day on the field and getting nicks and bumps," Wolf explained. "So maybe we’ll do six upper body exercises instead of eight and maybe three lower body instead of four."

But once two-a-day practice sessions end and the regular season begins, Wolf will have the Eagles back to their usual workouts.

"The program we do in the off-season is the same one we do in preseason. Why should it be any different?"

Running is not necessarily a big part of the program, at least not the sort of running the Eagles used to do in the days of former coach Buddy Ryan. Ryan used to make his players run something called "gassers" and wasn’t happy unless a few of them were losing their breakfasts on the sideline and maybe one or two had to be treated for dehydration.

"If you want people who are good at running gassers, then run gassers," Wolf said. "Anyone who’s ever played the game will tell you that you can run all you want, it won't get you in condition."

He said the Eagles try to work hard in practice, with everyone going all out on every play, "finishing off" as they put it. "That's what gets you in football shape," Wolf said.

He said the weightlifting is done "to make everyone as strong as they possibly can be. It’s a form of anaerobic training, just like stretching."

Wolf said when he was with the Vikings and at Penn State, there was a similar philosophy, although he conceded differing philosophies have also worked.

Wolf lettered twice at Penn State in football in a career shortened by injuries and he received degrees there and at Vanderbilt that led him into his current field.

Working at Lehigh is somewhat of a homecoming for him since he also worked there as strength coach for a season. He said he gets back to Allentown where his mother and a brother still live "about once a month."

He has another brother, Joe, a former No. 1 draft pick out of Boston College, who is in his ninth season as an offensive lineman for the Arizona Cardinals.

Wolf said more Eagles than ever came in during the off-season for workouts, figuring at any given time 25 players were showing up regularly.

"I think more came in because there’s more competition for jobs than ever before," he surmised.

Some players choose to work out on their own, like running backs Ricky Watters and Charlie Garner. But Watters often joins the tortuous workouts that San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Jerry Rice is famous for and Garner put on considerable bulk this past off-season in attempt to improve his durability.

"We'd like to have them all come in here and work out, but that's not always feasible," Wolf said.

He said some players like wide receiver Irving Fryar are dedicated professionals who are fanatical about their workouts and it shows.

But Wolf wouldn’t get into a discussion about who is the strongest or best-conditioned Eagle.

"You notice we don’t have a sign up about who can lift the most or do the most lifts," he pointed out. "That’s not why we’re here."

But every Eagle, regardless of position, puts his time in with Wolf and his assistants.

"About 10 percent come in and really work and you don’t have to worry about them," Wolf said. He said 10 percent are just the opposite and have to be prodded into doing anything, then there’s 80 percent in the middle who just need guidance and encouragement.

Former Eagles defensive end Reggie White was a member of the 10 percent group that did everything he could to avoid lifting weights, although he reportedly has a weight room in his home now that he’s achieved senior citizen status as a member of the Green Bay Packers.

Wolf said of people like White, "Some guys are just like Superman genetically. It doesn’t seem to make a difference if they workout or not."

But he said he can help players have a successful career and a long one with a regular training program.

Wolf said he doesn’t get involved in the coaching aspect of the game, but coordinates his work with the coaches and trainers to deal with injured players and their needs.

And Wolf said he's found a home with Eagles coach Ray Rhodes, just 60 or so miles south of where he grew up.

"I love working for him," he said of his relationship with the boss Eagle. "If he has a problem he says it and we work it out. If he doesn’t, he lets me do what I want to — and he backs me up."

Which sounds like a good football condition.

Article copyright July 25, 1997 The Morning Call, Inc., Allentown, PA. Reprinted with permission of The Morning Call. Photograph by Fran Kittek of The Morning Call.

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Since High School     See e-mail addresses of classmates

Grant (Tim) Roth and Frieda (Schneider) Roth were married in 1987. They moved around a bit from Florida to California, and are now back in Florida where they have been for the past 7 years.Grant Roth and his two children

They have two children, one boy (from Frieda's previous marriage) who is now 14 years old and a little girl who is two. Talk about an age difference!

In California, Grant worked as law clerk and a law librarian. Now in Florida, he is a sales manager for Sears. He has been with Sears for the past six years and a sales manager for the past three. He is in charge of home fashions, shoes, and the children's department and really enjoys his work.

Frieda has been in banking for the past 11 years. While she has been everything from a teller to a bank manager, she is a currently a customer service manager for Nations Bank in Florida.

While they would love to attend the reunion and see all of their old friends, it doesn't seem likely since the fourth quarter of the year is the busy time for the retail business.

John Ashbrook - Since high school, John Ashbrook worked in his family's home building business in Allentown, left his family's home building business and got married to a job in a law firm, met the Woman Of His Dreams (WOHD), divorced the job in the law firm, found his true calling in insurance claims, married the WOHD, ran the New York City Marathon last fall with the WOHD, got chased during his honeymoon with the WOHD by a bear in Nepal (marathon training paid off), and found Shangri-La – not in Nepal – but in Brooklyn, New York.

Update - Annette Blanar is pleased is announce her web site promoting her business as a web site designer and technical writer. If you have time, visit her site at

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Within a year, Lehigh Valley residents may have to dial 10 digits to call anywhere in southwestern Pennsylvania. Because of the need for more telephone numbers, Bell Atlantic will overlay two new area codes, one each atop the current 610 and 215 area codes.
Allentown is again considering adding fluoride to its drinking water, waging a battle between proponents and opponents of the plan. One opponent is Lucent Technologies who would have to spend a large sum of money to remove the fluoride from the water before using it to make its computer chips.
Dorney Park unveiled a new ride for its 1998 season called Hang Time. Riders ride in cars on a ferris wheel-like structure. Adding to the excitement is that the cars can rotate 360 causing riders to often be upside down.
Residents and officials of Allentown gathered recently to take a stand against the violence and shooting occurring in the downtown area. During the vigil, marchers walked through the downtown area carrying white carnations and singing "We Shall Overcome" to show their intent on making the city safer.
Costs to handle juvenile delinquency in Lehigh County are rising causing funding deficits. County officials are exploring ways to reduce costs while still giving the juveniles a chance for rehabilitation.

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No December 1998 Issue

Because of the William Allen High School Class of 1983 reunion on Saturday, November 28, 1998, I will not be publishing a December 1998 issue of The Connector. Look for coverage of the 15th year reunion in the June 1999 issue.

Remember... to help with the reunion, update your address, or get more information, see The Connector web site or call (610) 966-5691.

The Connector Web Site Receives a Facelift

Long overdue, The Connector web site has been revised. It still includes all of the issues, but has been re-organized to be easier to navigate and has been expanded with several new features for our class and other classes as well.

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The Connector™ copyright 1996-, Annette Blanar,
graduate of  William Allen High School's Class of 1983. All rights reserved.
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