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New way of life

June 18, 2012
Weirton Daily Times

Dan Werner was a single man who was an assistant college football coach at, not in order, Auburn, Cornell, James Madison, Louisiana Tech, Miami, Murray State and Ole Miss.

In addition, he also held high school coaching jobs in three states.

To say he was really good at packing and unpacking would be an understatement.

Then, he met a young lady and, a short time later, they were engaged and married.

But, before the two children, one an autistic boy, and before the marriage, Werner sat his soon-to-be-wife down and had "the talk," the one that, I guess, all college assistant coaches have with their wives that rumors, moving trucks, nights on the road and lonely nights are part of the gig.

He was an assistant coach at Ole Miss for Ed Orgeron in 2006-07. But, the head coach was fired and Werner was also out of a job.

He stayed at home with his wife Kim and the kids and really got to see what daily life was at the Werner abode when he was at the office or on the road. Werner because the offensive coordinator at Northwestern State in January 2009.

One month later, while on the road, he got a phone call from his 10-year-old daughter saying that there was something wrong with mom.

His wife died, 13 years his junior, at 37 due to an enlarged heart.

Now what?

Coaching football was all he knew.

Eventually nearby North Delta High School, with about 400 kids K-12, needed a high school football coach and Werner tossed his resume into the ring.

The 50-year-old who was overqualified to be a physical education teacher and high school football coach, was given the keys to the weight room and started his quest of going 27-7 over the next three years.

Hugh Freeze was then hired as head coach at Ole Miss and he gave Werner a phone call.

After a family discussion, a move was made.

Werner was back at Ole Miss, this time as a single father.

According to a story by Eric Adelson of Yahoo Sports, "Freeze wanted Werner on his staff. He even bent the job description: Werner wouldn't have to travel much, and he could leave the office at the end of the day without guilt.

"The kids could visit his office anytime. Freeze told Werner he believed a better family atmosphere produced a better team, even in the cut-throat SEC.

"Werner talks about how he misses Kim, misses her companionship. Every year, on her birthday in early May, he and Maya each write a note to her. They tie it to a balloon to be sent to heaven. Ian now is old enough to write a note, too."

Although I know they won't, it would be nice to see the NASCAR brass suspend Kurt Busch for the rest of the season.

After all, he continually acts like a 3-year-old, and they aren't allowed to drive.

Speaking of childish, anyone catch Jim Rome's interview with NBA commish David Stern? It was Stern's was of saying, "I am taking my ball and going home."

Stern knew the question about the NAB draft lottery being fixed was coming since the NAB owns the New Orleans franchise and it won the No. 1 pick.

Can we please stop with the "Tiger is back" talk.

He won two golf tournaments on courses he really, really likes. It was nothing more than that and nothing less.

After his pedestrian 75-73 weekend play at The Olympic Club, he is now 0-for-49 when trailing in a major going into the final 18 holes.

LPGA Tour professional Paula Creamer tweeted Sunday that she would go to the high school prom with 17-year-old Beau Hossler when he gets back to Rancho Santa Margarita High School.

Beau, I think that is one suggestion you need to follow up on and, like, today.

My son Garrison is really bummed that former San Diego Chargers stud running back LaDainian Tomlinson is calling it quits today.

His favorite NFL player.

Padraig Harrington was eight back and Ernie Els nine back of first-round leader Michael Thompson's 66 at the Open. Regardless of the score, you keep playing.

The USGA's Mike Davis is a golfing genius when it comes to setting up the Open.

Rounds in the 60s this week - Thursday (six), Friday (seven), Saturday (13) and Sunday (seven).

Four players in the last 18 groups shot in the 60s Sunday, including the winner, Webb Simpson, with his 68.

You hit fairways and good irons and you have a chance.

Webb Simpson was the only player in the field to finish the weekend with both rounds in the 60s.

That is why he lifted the trophy at the Olympic Club.

Simpson played the final 13 holes in 4-under par.

In golf, it is never about how you played.

It is always about your score.

(Mathison, a Weirton resident, is the sports editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and can be contacted at and can be followed on Twitter at @MathisonMike)

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