September 21, 2010

Redmond High School Hall of Famer drew life lessons from football

Jed and Dan Weaver

Perseverance and a first-class work ethic are what separated offensive lineman Dan Weaver from the pack.
A 1998 graduate of Redmond High School, Weaver went on to play center on the University of Oregon football team, where he won the Ed Moshofsky Award his junior and senior seasons as the Duck's most outstanding offensive lineman.
A three-sport athlete at RHS, he will be inducted into its Hall of Fame Sept. 25.
Weaver's honors are legion. He was a first-team Pac 10 center in the Sporting News all-conference tally and a second-team offensive lineman in the coaches' poll his junior year. (He was the top vote-getting center). As a senior he was an honorable mention. He was on the Pac 10 and NCAA Western Region all-academic teams three years with a 3.21 GPA in accounting.
Weaver also earned plenty of honors at Redmond High School. As a senior coaches voted him to the first-team Intermountain Conference as a center and linebacker in football. He was an honorable mention basketball player and a first-team pitcher and first baseman.
But as a 235-pound offensive lineman he was a bit small for major college football.
"He was a very intelligent kid. I've always contended that the great equalizer in athletics is a brain," said his high school line coach Kurt Davis. "He understood scheme and what we had to do. He was definitely the leader of that unit, and really incredibly intelligent."
As a RHS student, Weaver was smart enough to know he needed some work, and he knew what he wanted. Portland State, Harvard and Yale had shown some interest, but Weaver wanted to play Division One football.
"I figured my best shot was playing offensive line at the University of Oregon," he said. "I just wanted to go there and play with the big boys in the big pond."
After graduation he worked at P.C.C. Schlosser in Redmond, where he had to lift metal pieces. He also lifted weights and helped coach the freshman line at Redmond High School that year.
The next year he enrolled part time at Lane Community College so as not to use any eligibility, and continued to lift weights. He transferred to Oregon winter term and went to spring practice weighing 280 pounds.
He needed to prove himself enough to get one of the limited number of walk on spots.
"I think I naturally grew into my body," said Weaver. According to Davis, Weaver was a year younger than his cohorts.
One of the things in Weaver's favor was his older brother Jed, who walked on to play tight end at Oregon and went on to an NFL career. Jed had shown the ability and the work ethic to be successful and Dan feels Jed opened the door for him.
"He really opened up the possibility for me to do that," Dan said.
"Both of those kids I have a tremendous respect for," said Davis. "Through hard work and perseverance they ended up with a scholarship."
Weaver was at the University of Oregon at an opportune time. He first made the team as a snapper for field goals and points-after, but soon won the starting center position. Oregon beat Texas in the Holiday Bowl in 2000, then in 2001, he notes, he was the highly photographed posterior in front of Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback Joey Harrington. Oregon beat Colorado in the Fiesta Bowl that year, and finished the season second in the nation. Oregon routed the Buffs that day, scoring 31 unanswered points.
"We were just firing on all cylinders," he said. "All the hard work came to fruition. It was pretty cool." Fans to this day grouse about being over-looked for the national championship that year but Weaver notes the team lost to Stanford 49-42 after leading by two touchdowns in the fourth quarter earlier that season. A win likely would have put them in the National Championship game.
"We really couldn't blame too many other people," he said.
Oregon played in the Seattle Bowl and the Sun Bowl in his final two years. In all he had 37 starts at Oregon.
Weaver was not drafted out of college and didn't have a professional football career. He did sign a mini-camp deal with the Denver Broncos where he played briefly during camp with his brother Jed for the first time. They had never before been on the field together in any competitive sport. The New York Giants also flew him in for a work-out at the Meadowlands.
A lifelong Giants fan, it was a dream come true for Weaver. His agent told him that teams regarded him as an overachieving white guy, a comment he takes as a complement.
"I'd rather be an overachiever than an underachiever," he said.
Weaver is now a corporate accounting manager for Hampton Affiliates in Portland. He married his high school sweetheart Sammie Hoffman (class of '99) and they had their first child, Owen, June 10. Weaver said his son is going to be a big guy.
Weaver could have chosen to be a baseball player after high school, after all his cousins Jeff (L.A. Dodgers) and Jared ( Anaheim Angels) Weaver play in the major leagues, but Weaver likes football and he found it most rewarding.
"I had a really good college coach who drove home that football isn't for life and that you can take a lot of the lessons home," he said noting that football teaches work ethic, accountability, team goals among many other things. "That helps you in life and it helps if you can transition all those things you learn on the football field into your life. That's what I've always tried to take from football and sports."

-- story by Gary Newman

Redmond High School will celebrate the induction of five new members in its hall of fame Sept. 25. This year's inductees include former University of Oregon lineman Dan Weaver, all-American wrestler Dick Knorr, golf pro and supporter of Redmond schools, Bruce Wattenburger; former Redmond athletic director Dick Branaugh and civics teacher and mock trial coach Rod Hanson. Inductees will be introduced at halftime of the Redmond Summit football game. The event includes a golf tournament at Juniper Golf Club Sept. 25 and an induction dinner at Juniper Golf Club following the tournament. Tickets for the dinner are $25. For more information or for tickets contact the Redmond High School Athletic department at 541-923-4806.

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