Source: Sherman Publications

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Dierdorf, Gumbel to address Wildcats

by CJ Carnacchio

August 24, 2011

Two big names in the world of professional sports are coming to Oxford on Thursday, Aug. 25 to address the Wildcat varsity football team on the eve of its big game against archrivals, the Lake Orion Dragons.

Former pro football star Dan Dierdorf and well-known TV sportscaster Greg Gumbel are expected to address the team on the new blue field with the expectation that it will be filmed and aired during the CBS national telecast of the Detroit Lions' preseason game against the New England Patriots at 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27.

"The great news is that our community, our school, our team and our (blue) turf will be showcased to the entire country on the national broadcast," wrote Bill Keenist in a Aug. 23 e-mail to the Leader.

Keenist is the vice president of the Oxford Board of Education and senior vice president of communications for the Detroit Lions.

Dierdorf, a former Michigan Wolverine football player, played for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1971-83 and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1996.

Since retiring from football, Dierdorf's worked as a television color commentator for ABC and now, CBS.

Gumbel is a television sportscaster for CBS who has the distinction of being the first African American to call the play-by-play of a major sports championship in the United States.

He did this in 2001 when he announced Super Bowl XXXV.

"My expectation is that the speech (to the Wildcat players) will be about the life lessons learned on the football field; how to enjoy every moment along their journey as a high school football player that type of thing," Keenist wrote in an e-mail. "But the talk is totally up to Dan and Greg."

Keenist noted Dierdorf and Gumbel's visit is "not a public opportunity," so it's "not open to fans or (the) public."

He described it as "just a private deal with Dan, Greg and the team on the field."

"The NFL and CBS (have) a strong commitment to support youth football at all levels and this is just another example of that commitment," Keenist wrote.