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
Wolf has nothing against running and weight lifting. In fact, its 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.
Its 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 didnt know where to put it
at West Chester [in Wolfs first season with the Eagles]," he said. "Up
here [at Lehigh], we have the right situation."
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 "Im
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 dont change much," Wolf said.
But the workouts are lighter than
theyll 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 well 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 wasnt 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 whos 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. Its 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
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
"I think more came in because
theres 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
But Wolf wouldnt get into a
discussion about who is the strongest or best-conditioned Eagle.
"You notice we dont have a sign
up about who can lift the most or do the most lifts," he pointed out.
"Thats not why were 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 dont have to worry about them," Wolf said. He said 10 percent are
just the opposite and have to be prodded into doing anything, then theres 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 hes 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 doesnt 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 doesnt 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 doesnt, he lets me do what I want to and he backs me up."
Which sounds like a good football
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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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
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.
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
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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)
The Connector Web Site Receives a
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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