/playoffs/1999/leaving-no-question-unanswered

Leaving no question unanswered

More news about: Pacific Lutheran
Indeed, this was a championship Christmas for Lutes fans.
Photo by Pat Coleman, D3football.com

By Mark Simon
D3football.com

I'm sure someone at some point has referred to reporters as professional hemorrhoids.

That doesn't and shouldn't insult us. After all, it's our job to be a pain in the ass. There are plenty of people who don't like us, which makes those who do all the more fun to meet.

Throughout the course of the week, I had the opportunity to scan the Internet for stories about the Pacific Lutheran football team. With each article I read, I became more and more curious about how such an unusual system could succeed.

Caring and compassion is wonderful fodder for romance novels, but how could it work on the football field? And how could an 18-to-21-year-old kid, regularly surrounded by all the machismo that fills football fields, possibly become a believer? It couldn't have been something that was accepted quickly. There had to be something special about the message, or the messenger.

When it came around to asking the final question at the Pacific Lutheran press conference, that was the one piece of the puzzle that was missing in my mind.

After answering a series of questions for the Tacoma, Wash., media and introducing themselves and their philosophies to a New Jersey media that was unfamiliar with them, the Lutes were more than happy to oblige that last query at length.

As Todd McDevitt started to reply, he was interrupted by PLU head coach Frosty Westering. I learned later from one news story that before the news conference began, Westering wanted to know if his team could sit amongst the reporters, instead of separated by an elevated table. Every Man a Lute had to include the media as well.

"Todd," the 72-year-old Westering said in his soothing, Reaganesque timbre, "tell them about Western Washington."

So the Lutes wide receiver talked about two years of unhappiness and what it was like to see the PLU team pray on the sidelines for an injured player. Linebacker Luke Jacobson talked about how at first he rolled his eyes at some of the things players did, but then began to accept it once he saw that everyone else was.

Star running back Anthony Hicks was next. He explained the recruiting process that brings people in. PLU doesn't recruit, Hicks and Westering said. Players refer their friends and relatives to the coach. As each group of seniors leaves, younger siblings (44 brothers have played for the Lutes in the past 28 years) take their place.

PLU quarterback Chad Johnson was the last of the players to speak. Johnson told how he had been around the program as a ballboy, but always harbored doubts about his grandfather's way of life. Eventually they subsided. Though his story of success was filled with enough references to Jesus to cause some reporters to raise their eyebrows, there was no doubting his sincerity.

Just moments before, he appeared deep in thought. As one of his teammates was about to speak, he leaned over the table a bit and raised a 'thumbs up.'

"Good question,'' he said.

That caught me by surprise. That doesn't happen often, if ever to most reporters. It was for real. Johnson immediately sat back in his chair and continued to contemplate his response.

Some people shy from the spotlight, others shine in it. The basking period didn't end for the Pacific Lutheran team when Frosty Westering raised the championship trophy. He immediately walked over to the team's fans, to thank them for their support and good wishes. It didn't end with the postgame press conference. Westering stayed for another 15 minutes, regaling reporters with one story after another. It probably didn't end at the "Afterglow," that would have occurred win or lose.

Come to think of it, thumbs up was certainly the appropriate response, not necessarily for that question, but for the team as a whole.

As several reporters pointed out afterwards, if a movie had been made about this group, it could only have been labeled as "The Feel-Good Story of the Year."

Oct. 20: All times Eastern
Final
at Johns Hopkins 52, Gettysburg 0
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Oct. 21: All times Eastern
Final
at Framingham State 29, Westfield State 14
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Final
Moravian 20, at Juniata 17
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Final
at Salve Regina 41, Endicott 14
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Final
at Thomas More 63, St. Vincent 13
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Final
at Union 28, Hobart 23
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Final
at Hamilton 27, Colby 24
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Final
at Christopher Newport 27, William Paterson 19
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Final
at Ithaca 35, St. John Fisher 10
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Final
at Allegheny 44, Kenyon 35
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Final
SUNY-Maritime 21, at Mount Ida 13
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Final
Middlebury 43, at Bates 14
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Final
at Springfield 68, Catholic 20
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Final
at Amherst 23, Wesleyan 19
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Final
at Trinity (Conn.) 63, Bowdoin 14
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Final
Husson 48, at Gallaudet 21
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Final
Wabash 35, at Oberlin 21
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Final
at Utica 34, Buffalo State 12
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Final
Ohio Northern 7, at Muskingum 6
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Final
at Frostburg State 62, Montclair State 3
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Final
at Wesley 34, Rowan 3
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Final
at Stevenson 26, Albright 23
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Final
Wittenberg 52, at DePauw 6
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Final
at Albion 31, Alma 28
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Final
at Guilford 45, Shenandoah 20
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Final
Plymouth State 40, at Massachusetts Maritime 14
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Final
Wooster 58, at Hiram 25
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Final
Washington and Lee 36, at Hampden-Sydney 6
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Final
at Anna Maria 36, Alfred State 34
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Final
Bridgewater 31, at Emory and Henry 23
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Final
at FDU-Florham 49, Wilkes 31
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Final
Lebanon Valley 17, at Misericordia 0
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Final
at St. Lawrence 36, Rochester 14
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Final
RPI 30, at Alfred 15
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Final
at Curry 46, Nichols 16
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Final
at Salisbury 42, Southern Virginia 0
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2nd - 10:53
10 Ferrum
14 Brevard
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Final
Randolph-Macon 63, at Apprentice 14
Box Score
Final
at Susquehanna 21, Ursinus 14
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Final
Cortland 34, at Morrisville State 20
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Final
at Trine 50, Hope 14
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Final
Trinity (Texas) 27, at Sewanee 21
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Final
Wartburg 41, at Luther 16
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5:15, 4th Q
0 Dickinson
56 Franklin and Marshall
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Final
Tufts 21, at Williams 13
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Final
Mount Union 66, at Wilmington 7
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Final
MIT 30, at Coast Guard 21
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2nd - 13:08
7 Maine Maritime
14 Norwich
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Final
at Marietta 44, Heidelberg 21
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4th - 04:08
29 Franklin
22 Rose-Hulman
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Final
John Carroll 48, at Capital 21
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4th - 02:15
21 Bluffton
28 Manchester
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Halftime
40 Mount St. Joseph
13 Anderson
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Halftime
3 UW-Whitewater
0 UW-River Falls
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2:00 PM
Kean at TCNJ
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4th - 11:35
10 Greensboro
52 LaGrange
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3rd - 02:16
27 Mass-Dartmouth
31 Worcester State
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Start of 4th
31 Muhlenberg
13 McDaniel
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Final
Western New England 45, at Becker 0
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4th - 14:48
7 Methodist
32 Maryville (Tenn.)
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Start of 4th
21 Adrian
16 Kalamazoo
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2:00 PM
Denison at Ohio Wesleyan
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4th - 15:00
27 Westminster (Pa.)
19 Washington and Jefferson
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Halftime
23 Berry
14 Millsaps
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3rd - 05:08
30 Olivet
28 Benedictine
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4th - 09:03
28 Birmingham-Southern
24 Austin
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4th - 15:00
0 Belhaven
45 Mary Hardin-Baylor
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Q3 1:04
14 UW-Stevens Point
23 UW-Stout
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2:00 PM
Eureka at MacMurray
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4th - 15:00
10 Carthage
13 Illinois Wesleyan
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4th - 12:51
14 Nebraska Wesleyan
13 Buena Vista
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3rd - 01:42
34 Lakeland
0 Wisconsin Lutheran
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4th - 13:37
14 Rockford
28 Aurora
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4th - 10:43
3 Concordia (Wis.)
30 Concordia-Chicago
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3rd Q - 5:40
20 Carleton
21 St. Olaf
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13:35 4th
10 Gustavus Adolphus
41 St. John's
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4th - 09:37
20 Augsburg
35 Concordia-Moorhead
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Halftime
57 St. Thomas
0 Hamline
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4th - 08:38
24 Westminster (Mo.)
7 Greenville
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2:00 PM
Coe at Loras
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2:00 PM
Monmouth at Cornell
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Halftime
28 Wheaton (Ill.)
0 North Park
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2:00 PM
Northwestern (Minn.) at Martin Luther
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4th - 15:00
26 Hardin-Simmons
23 Texas Lutheran
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4th - 12:08
6 Grinnell
70 Lake Forest
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2:00 PM
Carroll at Millikin
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2:00 PM
Ripon at Macalester
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11:05 - 4th
6 Lawrence
38 St. Norbert
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2:00 PM
St. Scholastica at Crown
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2:00 PM
Minnesota-Morris at Iowa Wesleyan
4th - 13:10
28 UW-Platteville
14 UW-Eau Claire
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3rd - 08:18
7 Merchant Marine
24 WPI
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2:30 PM
Rhodes at Centre
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3rd - 09:36
28 Hanover
0 Earlham
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3rd - 08:47
0 Beloit
49 Chicago
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3:00 PM
UW-Oshkosh at UW-La Crosse
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3:00 PM
Simpson at Dubuque
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3:54 2Q
0 Augustana
27 North Central (Ill.)
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3:00 PM
East Texas Baptist at Louisiana College
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4:00 PM
Hartwick at Brockport
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1st - 10:34
0 Western Connecticut
7 Bridgewater State
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4:00 PM
Chapman at La Verne
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1st Quarter
0 Pacific
0 Lewis and Clark
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1st - 09:07
7 Pacific Lutheran
0 Willamette
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4:00 PM
Puget Sound at Whitworth
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1st - 10:15
3 Redlands
0 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
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4:30 PM
George Fox at Linfield
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5:00 PM
Sul Ross State at Howard Payne
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6:00 PM
Dean at Castleton
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6:00 PM
N.C. Wesleyan at Averett
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7:00 PM
Baldwin Wallace at Otterbein
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7:00 PM
Case Western Reserve at Geneva
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7:00 PM
Carnegie Mellon at Thiel
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7:00 PM
Knox at Illinois College
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10:00 PM
Whittier at Cal Lutheran
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Cancelled
Occidental at Pomona-Pitzer
Oct. 20: All times Eastern
Final
at Johns Hopkins 52, Gettysburg 0
Video Video Box Score Recap
Oct. 21: All times Eastern
Final
at Wesley 34, Rowan 3
Video Box Score
Final
at Frostburg State 62, Montclair State 3
Video Box Score
Final
Wittenberg 52, at DePauw 6
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Final
at Springfield 68, Catholic 20
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Final
Wartburg 41, at Luther 16
Video
Final
Mount Union 66, at Wilmington 7
Video Box Score
Final
at Marietta 44, Heidelberg 21
Video
4th - 15:00
27 Westminster (Pa.)
19 Washington and Jefferson
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4th - 15:00
26 Hardin-Simmons
23 Texas Lutheran
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4th - 15:00
0 Belhaven
45 Mary Hardin-Baylor
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Halftime
57 St. Thomas
0 Hamline
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13:35 4th
10 Gustavus Adolphus
41 St. John's
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4th - 15:00
10 Carthage
13 Illinois Wesleyan
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4th - 09:37
20 Augsburg
35 Concordia-Moorhead
Live stats Audio Video
Halftime
23 Berry
14 Millsaps
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4th - 13:10
28 UW-Platteville
14 UW-Eau Claire
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3:00 PM
UW-Oshkosh at UW-La Crosse
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3:54 2Q
0 Augustana
27 North Central (Ill.)
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4:00 PM
Hartwick at Brockport
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4:30 PM
George Fox at Linfield
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7:00 PM
Case Western Reserve at Geneva
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