Wolfley to bring sense of humor to FUS

STEUBENVILLE – Craig Wolfley never could have imagined the road he has traveled because of football.

He was the last pick in the fifth round of the 1980 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers, No. 138, out of Syracuse University.

Some guy named Tunch Ilkin was the last pick of the sixth round, No. 165.

“As a full-grown blockhead attending SU, I couldn’t imagine God’s grace to me in allowing me to have a brother like Tunch Ilkin for 35 years and do a radio show as well as broadcast the games together,” said Wolfley.

He spent 10 years with the Steelers and his final two years in the NFL with Minnesota.

Wolfley is a member of the game day network broadcast team, and also co-hosts a radio show with Ilkin on WBGG-AM in Pittsburgh.

“The best part of what I do is hanging out with Tunch,” he said. “I get to watch my favorite team in my favorite sport hanging out with my best friend, and get paid for it, not to mention all the free food. What’s not to like?”

He is one of three former Steelers and one current player who will be on hand for the Franciscan University of Steubenville’s Baron Club Dinner on Saturday.

Also on the program are current defensive back Ike Taylor, former offensive lineman Jeff Hartings and linebacker Robin Cole.

Moderating the conversation will be Bob Pompeani, a sportscaster at Pittsburgh’s KDKA-TV, who has covered the Steelers for more than 32 years. In 2013, he received his sixth Golden Quill award, that one for his Pittsburgh Steeler Exclusive reports. Joining him as co-moderator will be his daughter, Celina Pompeani of WTOV-TV.

Wolfley started 98 games at left guard from 1981-87 and every game at left tackle in 1988. He finished his career, one with the Steelers and two with the Vikings, by starting six of 39 games.

“Whether on the field or off the field, as a player or a broadcaster or just as a regular guy, it always has been, and always will be a privilege and honor to most humbly have been a very small part of the Pittsburgh Steelers in some fashion,” he said. “The Rooneys and the Steelers have always been about faith, family and football.

“Faith in a loving God, surrounded by family in love and of course, the love of the game. The ability to slobber-knock someone on the field doesn’t hurt either.”

Wolfley holds a black belt in Freestyle Jiu Jitsu, has more than 19 years of martial arts training and does not take himself too seriously.

It says on his website that his motto is “Sit mens sana in corpore sano” – a healthy mind in a healthy body.

“Actually, the ‘Sit mens sana in copore sano’ was an attempt at humor based on a mere third-place finish in my sixth-grade spelling bee,” he said. “You see there were only two of us, but as I flunked math twice … sooo …”

During Saturday’s dinner, former university president the Rev. Terence Henry, TOR, will present the Baron Club Award to three Ohio Valley individuals for their career achievements and the pivotal roles they play in the lives of young people.

As quarterback and safety, Mike Orlando helped lead Steubenville Catholic Central High School to the 1993 Ohio Division V state football championship.

He also played third base on the Crusaders’ 1994 Division IV state baseball championship team.

Orlando now teaches business classes and is the head football coach at Archbishop McNicholas High School in Cincinnati. Last fall, Orlando led the McNicholas football team to the regional semi-finals.

As the longtime director of the Steubenville Striders, Patricia Herring, Class of 1975, has mentored and coached hundreds of youth who went on to state championships at the high school and college levels in track and field and long distance running. Herring’s award comes on the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Steubenville Striders.

Frank “Digger” Dawson co-founded the Lou Holtz Hall of Fame in East Liverpool, established a $400,000 scholarship foundation for the East Liverpool High School Alumni Association, writes about the history of Potter football and is involved in his community in numerous ways.

The Baron Club Dinner supports the university’s NCAA Division III athletic program.

The event will be held in the newly renovated Finnegan Fieldhouse, home of the Barons. Visitors will be able to see the results of the $5 million expansion project, which increased the size of the fieldhouse by 17,000 square feet and features a 5,100-square-foot fitness center complete with cardio equipment, free weights, an aerobics room double the size of the previous one, and a strength, performance, and flexibility training room. Reservations for the dinner are $65. Sponsorships are available by calling (740) 284-5210 or visiting FranciscanAthletics.com/BaronClub.