April 12, 2013

Appreciating Frosty Westering

More news about: Pacific Lutheran
Frosty Westering became known to Division III audiences during Pacific Lutheran's run to the championship in Stagg Bowl XXVII.
1999 D3football.com photo by Pat Coleman

By Keith McMillan
D3sports.com

Frosty Westering died April 12 at the age of 85. For more, please read PLU's tribute page. Below is Keith McMillan's tribute to Frosty, published in February 2013.

Having been present for every Stagg Bowl since 1997, I've seen my fair share of memorable games, plays and players. But if you forced me to pick a favorite run to the walnut and bronze, to this day I'd go with the 1999 Pacific Lutheran team.

Maybe it was because they came out of nowhere, one year removed from the NAIA, a No. 7 seed that won four road playoff games before triumphing in Salem. Maybe it's because it was a team full of goody two-shoes -- guys who genuinely bought into the idea that you could throw a crushing block on an opponent, then help him up and pat him on the butt.

But mostly it was because of Frosty Westering.

Westering, 85, is in the hospital this week and not doing well, according to messages in social media from members of his family and from his Facebook fan page.

If I ever quit writing to coach, something I contemplate regularly, I would immediately steal most of Frosty's ideas and implement them as my core philosophy. (In fact, my whole pitch in an interview would be that I've been fortunate enough to observe Larry Kehres, John Gagliardi, Frosty Westering and others up close.)

Frosty (never Coach Westering, by the way) is famous for "Every Man a Lute" and "Make the Big Time Where You Are" -- also the title of his book -- but I'm just as intrigued by his idea that you compete against your best self. The score of the game is secondary for the most part, as it is going on. The goal is to get the best out of yourself, do your job to the best of your ability and win your individual battles. Do that and final scores take care of themselves.

That might sound too good to be true, but it worked for Frosty. His teams won three-quarters of their games, and at 305-96-7, Westering is one of just 12 football coaches (when you include Joe Paterno’s vacated wins) in the 300-win club. His peers, by that measure, include Glenn “Pop” Warner, Amos Alonzo Stagg, Paul “Bear” Bryant, Kehres and Gagliardi.

There’s no quintessential Frosty Westering story that sums him or his teams up. Google his name, and you are rewarded with an archive of articles, some of which detail practices such as postgame “Afterglow,” breaks in practice to watch sunsets or to enjoy popsicles, the preseason getaway to the Oregon Coast, and his habit of cheering things with an “Attaway!” He’s mentioned in the lede when you read about his granddaughter, Taber Spani, who plays basketball for Tennessee, and when you read about Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein, who married into the family.

Frosty is more than just a grandparent and coach – he had served in the U.S. Marines, earned his doctorate in education and become a motivational speaker. He was named Washingtonian of the Year in 2010 and earned the AFCA’s Stagg Award last month. Westering retired from coaching in 2003, but much like Gagliardi, who retired this past season, his influence lives on. Both Greenville (“Every Man a Panther”) and PLU are still run on Frosty’s ideals, while PLU grad and Northwestern (Minn.) coach Kirk Talley and many a coach has borrowed from him.

Division III barely had Frosty – PLU switched over in 1998 and he retired six seasons later. But the 1999 championship run stands out. The Lutes faced Rowan, who had vanquished Mount Union in the semifinals in overtime, and were thought to be a mismatch for the Profs, who along with the Purple Raiders were D-III’s mighty teams of the late 1990s. It was a mismatch alright. PLU won 42-13, with a flurry of misdirection and a bevy of Attways! and pats on the butt.

Getting to know Frosty and the Lutes during that run was fun for all of D-III, though. A team that didn’t curse and a coach that didn’t have a negative thing to yell sounded entirely too good to be true. But when the notebooks were put away and the cameras were off, Frosty’s act never stopped. He was every bit the man he was made out to be.

The season after the Stagg Bowl title, Austin Murphy wrote about Frosty in the Sports Illustrated season preview. When I called Frosty to write a piece about PLU, and he heard I hadn’t read the story, an issue of SI, with Michael Vick on the cover in a Virginia Tech jersey, arrived at my door a few days later. Frosty’s signature was scrawled across the magazine.

We can appreciate Frosty for his 305 wins, but the number 900 says a lot more about him than the victories do. When he retired in 2003, that’s how many of his former players showed up to PLU’s gym to wish him the best.

That’s an Afterglow that deserves an Attaway!

Sep. 30: All times Eastern
Final
Randolph-Macon 24, at Shenandoah 19
Box Score Photos
Final
at Washington and Lee 49, Emory and Henry 23
Box Score
Oct. 1: All times Eastern
Final
Massachusetts Maritime 30, at Fitchburg State 0
Box Score
Final
Becker 42, at Gallaudet 18
Box Score
Final
at Hobart 38, Merchant Marine 35
Box Score Recap
Final
RPI 51, at Rochester 13
Box Score Recap
Final
Endicott 21, at MIT 9
Box Score
Final
at Johns Hopkins 52, Juniata 17
Box Score
Final
at William Paterson 18, Montclair State 13
Final
at Wesleyan 34, Hamilton 6
Box Score
Final
at Tufts 12, Bates 7
Box Score Recap
Final
Wabash 45, at Hiram 21
Box Score
Final
Middlebury 35, at Colby 14
Box Score
Final
Amherst 31, at Bowdoin 10
Box Score
Final
Frostburg State 25, at Kean 18
Box Score Recap
Final
at DePauw 48, Kenyon 35
Box Score
Final
Ferrum 30, at Greensboro 0
Box Score
Final
Maryville (Tenn.) 52, at Methodist 13
Box Score
Final
FDU-Florham 32, at Wilkes 28
Final
at Castleton 23, Anna Maria 13
Box Score
Final
Moravian 33, at Ursinus 32
Box Score Photos Photos
Final
Stevenson 48, at Misericordia 0
Box Score
Final
at St. Lawrence 42, Springfield 14
Box Score
Final
Thomas More 45, at Westminster (Pa.) 35
Box Score Recap
Final
Alma 56, at Kalamazoo 26
Box Score Recap
Final
Franklin and Marshall 20, at Dickinson 10
Box Score
Final
Wesley 63, at Southern Virginia 9
Box Score
Final
Adrian 28, at Albion 21
Box Score Recap
Final
Husson 33, at SUNY-Maritime 12
Box Score
Final
Apprentice 24, at Alfred State 8
Box Score Photos
Final
at Salisbury 41, TCNJ 6
Box Score
Final
at St. John Fisher 28, Buffalo State 24
Recap
Final
Salve Regina 47, at Curry 14
Box Score
Final
at Gettysburg 38, McDaniel 23
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Final
Delaware Valley 48, at Lebanon Valley 0
Box Score Recap
Final
at Denison 21, Ohio Wesleyan 14
Box Score
Final
at Ithaca 23, Utica 14
Box Score Recap
Final
Alfred 49, at Morrisville State 24
Box Score Recap
Final
Western New England 56, at Nichols 27
Box Score Recap
Final
at Albright 27, King's 7
Box Score Recap
Final
at Guilford 59, Catholic 0
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Final
Muhlenberg 33, at Susquehanna 30
Box Score Recap
Final
at N.C. Wesleyan 41, Huntingdon 31
Box Score
Final
at MacMurray 31, Minnesota-Morris 10
Box Score
Final
at Chicago 38, Birmingham-Southern 34
Box Score
Final
Westminster (Mo.) 35, at Crown 7
Final
at Allegheny 26, Oberlin 21
Box Score
Final
Mount Ida 15, at Norwich 14
Box Score
Final
Trinity (Conn.) 38, at Williams 13
Box Score Recap
Final
at Marietta 62, Baldwin Wallace 56
Box Score Recap
Final
at Heidelberg 27, Muskingum 24
Box Score
Final
at WPI 21, Union 14
Box Score Recap
Final
at Coast Guard 36, Maine Maritime 30
Box Score Recap
Final
John Carroll 67, at Wilmington 7
Box Score
Final
Mount Union 38, at Ohio Northern 21
Box Score Photos
Final
Franklin 41, at Manchester 27
Box Score
Final
Mount St. Joseph 42, at Hanover 6
Final - 4OT
Widener 24, at Lycoming 21
Final
Defiance 59, at Earlham 28
Box Score Photos
Final
at Trine 62, Concordia-Chicago 19
Box Score
Final
Capital 42, at Otterbein 41
Box Score
Final - OT
at Westfield State 14, Plymouth State 13
Box Score
Final
Wittenberg 41, at Wooster 13
Box Score
Final
at Rose-Hulman 44, Anderson 10
Box Score Photos
Final
at Bridgewater 45, Hampden-Sydney 35
Box Score
Final
Waynesburg 14, at Grove City 10
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Final
Cortland 50, at Hartwick 47
Final
at Hendrix 35, Centre 28
Box Score
Final
Eureka 27, at Greenville 13
Box Score
Final
Northwestern (Minn.) 25, at Iowa Wesleyan 18
Box Score
Final
at Lakeland 16, Concordia (Wis.) 7
Box Score
Final
at Benedictine 67, Rockford 15
Box Score
Final
Aurora 48, at Wisconsin Lutheran 13
Box Score
Final
Nebraska Wesleyan 27, at Luther 24
Final
Rhodes 36, at Sewanee 21
Box Score
Final
at St. Norbert 35, Lake Forest 21
Box Score
Final
Concordia-Moorhead 46, at Gustavus Adolphus 21
Box Score
Final
at Carleton 34, Hamline 31
Box Score
Final
St. John's 42, at Bethel 27
Box Score
Final
UW-Whitewater 30, at UW-Platteville 24
Box Score Recap
Final
Buena Vista 34, at Loras 24
Box Score
Final
at Hardin-Simmons 53, Sul Ross State 29
Box Score
Final
UW-Stevens Point 28, at UW-Eau Claire 19
Box Score
Final
at Lawrence 36, Beloit 22
Box Score
Final
at Monmouth 57, Cornell 14
Box Score
Final
at Coe 37, Wartburg 34
Final
Dubuque 35, at Central 17
Box Score
Final
Wheaton (Ill.) 48, at Illinois Wesleyan 24
Final
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 66, McMurry 3
Box Score Recap
Final
Elmhurst 14, at Augustana 3
Final
Macalester 16, at Ripon 8
Final
at Illinois College 50, Grinnell 14
Final
at Louisiana College 35, Howard Payne 7
Box Score
Final
East Texas Baptist 60, at Belhaven 47
Final
at St. Thomas 55, Augsburg 7
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
Washington and Jefferson 62, at Thiel 14
3:00 PM
Maranatha Baptist at Morthland
Video
3:00 PM
St. Scholastica at Martin Luther
Video Live Stats
Final
Carthage 38, at Carroll 14
Box Score
Final
at UW-Oshkosh 45, UW-Stout 17
3rd - 06:44
42 Willamette
12 Puget Sound
Video Video Preview Live Stats Audio
4:00 PM
Whittier at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
Video Live Stats
Halftime
10 Pacific
17 Pacific Lutheran
Video Preview Preview Live Stats Live Stats
Start 3rd
0 Lewis and Clark
42 Linfield
Video Live Stats Audio
5:00 PM
Framingham State at Mass-Dartmouth
Video Live Stats
2nd - 02:14
24 Averett
27 LaGrange
Live Stats Audio
Halftime
15 Whitworth
24 George Fox
Video Preview Live Stats Audio
5:05 PM
UW-River Falls at UW-La Crosse
Video Live Stats Audio
1st qtr - 13:05
6 Olivet
0 Hope
Preview Preview Live Stats Audio Audio
1st - 10:53
0 Bethany
7 Carnegie Mellon
Video Preview Preview Preview Live Stats Audio
1st - 11:39
7 St. Vincent
0 Case Western Reserve
Video Live Stats Audio
6:00 PM
Christopher Newport at Rowan
Video Live Stats Audio Audio
6:00 PM
Bridgewater State at Western Connecticut
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
Berry at Washington U.
Video Video Preview Preview Live Stats Live Stats Audio Audio
7:00 PM
North Park at Millikin
Video Live Stats
10:00 PM
Pomona-Pitzer at Chapman
Video Preview Live Stats Live Stats Tickets
10:00 PM
La Verne at Cal Lutheran
Video Preview Live Stats
10:00 PM
Occidental at Redlands
Video Live Stats Audio
Oct. 1: All times Eastern
Final
at Hobart 38, Merchant Marine 35
Box Score Recap
Final
at Johns Hopkins 52, Juniata 17
Box Score
Final
at Salisbury 41, TCNJ 6
Box Score
Final
Thomas More 45, at Westminster (Pa.) 35
Box Score Recap
Final
Wabash 45, at Hiram 21
Box Score
Final
at St. John Fisher 28, Buffalo State 24
Recap
Final
Stevenson 48, at Misericordia 0
Box Score
Final
at St. Lawrence 42, Springfield 14
Box Score
Final
at N.C. Wesleyan 41, Huntingdon 31
Box Score
Final
Mount Union 38, at Ohio Northern 21
Box Score Photos
Final
Franklin 41, at Manchester 27
Box Score
Final
Wittenberg 41, at Wooster 13
Box Score
Final
Wheaton (Ill.) 48, at Illinois Wesleyan 24
Final
UW-Whitewater 30, at UW-Platteville 24
Box Score Recap
Final
St. John's 42, at Bethel 27
Box Score
Final
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 66, McMurry 3
Box Score Recap
Final
at Hardin-Simmons 53, Sul Ross State 29
Box Score
Final
East Texas Baptist 60, at Belhaven 47
Final
Dubuque 35, at Central 17
Box Score
Final
at St. Thomas 55, Augsburg 7
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at UW-Oshkosh 45, UW-Stout 17
Start 3rd
0 Lewis and Clark
42 Linfield
Video Live Stats Audio
6:00 PM
Christopher Newport at Rowan
Video Live Stats Audio Audio