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Author Topic: For Woody Widenhofer, life after Vanderbilt took toll  (Read 1002 times)

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jbcarol

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For Woody Widenhofer, life after Vanderbilt took toll
« on: June 30, 2013, 07:25:01 pm »

Anyone headed on vacation to the Florida Panhandle with hopes of catching a glimpse of former Vanderbilt football coach Woody Widenhofer working in a highway tollbooth near Destin can forget it.

Widenhofer turned in his notice, and he and his wife, Sabrina, moved last week from the popular vacation destination. Sabrina, who works for Spirit Airlines, was transferred to Dallas.

Widenhofer worked in the tollbooth for more than three years in perhaps the most bizarre occupation transition ever made by a head coach of an SEC football team.

The Pennsylvania native, who turned 70 this year, had come to love Destin after visiting each year for the SEC Spring Meetings during his time as Vanderbilt’s coach (1997-2001).


Quote
“I was just looking for something to do to keep busy,” Widenhofer said. “The recession had hit, and jobs were hard to find. I went to work at the tollbooth, and I enjoyed it. I liked the people I worked with, I enjoyed the people I met who came through.”

With his distinguishable bushy mustache, Widenhofer often was recognized, especially when he wore the Super Bowl rings he won earlier in his career while defensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“A lot of people from Tennessee would come through along with a lot of people from Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi,” Widenhofer said. “It was an SEC area.”

Widenhofer said. “By going to two bowls in two years, it shows they’ve got it going there now. I just wonder if they’ve changed the (admission) rules since (former chancellor) Gordon Gee left. They must be able to get some kids in now.”

“There are three key factors for what it’s all about at Vanderbilt,” Widenhofer said. “No. 1 is being able to get some kids in school. No. 2 is trusting the guy to do that. And No. 3 is that those facilities are what it takes to get the kids interested. They see that you’re paying a price to do well and improve yourself.”

Bulging discs kept Widenhofer from enjoying the Emerald Coast to the level he would have liked.
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Inhogswetrust

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Re: For Woody Widenhofer, life after Vanderbilt took toll
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2013, 08:46:01 am »

I don't know why but for some reason I always liked Widenhoofer.
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greasy_corner

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Re: For Woody Widenhofer, life after Vanderbilt took toll
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2013, 11:55:35 am »

Great find.  I recall hearing about Woody's new occupation a few yrs back.  Unfortunately, not many manned toolbooths in Dallas anymore, most are probably at DFW...not quite the mid-bay bridge.
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jbcarol

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Re: For Woody Widenhofer, life after Vanderbilt took toll
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2013, 10:14:34 am »

Widenhofer played linebacker at Mizzou for coach Dan Devine ("Rudy").
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