Former Notre Dame Football Player Shawn Wooden Talks Financial Literacy

I love sharing the incredible ways the men who played football at Notre Dame give back to their communities every day. Shawn Wooden is a shining example, for sure, of a Notre Dame man making a difference in his community and our country at large.

Shawn Wooden, Associate Partner and Financial Advisor, has joined 100 Black Men of America, Inc.. to judge the championship State Farm Dollars and $ens Youth Investment Competition in conjunction with the Brace B. Godfrey Jr. African American History Challenge Youth Competition.

The competition was created by the 100 Back Men of America Inc., working with State Farm to address and help eradicate financial illiteracy among youth of color. The contest is an in-depth financial literacy program designed to provide high school students with early opportunities to learn and apply the best practices and principles of saving and investing.

“This program impacts our community from a bi-generational impact perspective. Our goal is to educate not only students, but also parents. We strongly encourage our parents to STAY in class and engage in financial awareness discussions and topics. » ~ 100 Black Men of Indianapolis, Inc.

In 2019, 13 Chapters participated in the Dollars to $ense program and reported tremendous programmatic successes and operational improvements.

Program Participants

  • 19 college students completed the program
  • 182 high school students completed the program
  • (9) College students have completed the program
  • 19 adults participated in the program
  • 229 total program participants

Gender mix of participating students

  • 158 male students – 69%
  • 71 female students – 31%

Wooden judged the group of finalists as they competed for their chance to win scholarships and take home the championship title and trophy. The final leg of the competition took place at the 36th annual 100 Black Men of America, Inc. at the Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood, Fla. on Friday, June 17.

While I’ve got you, let’s take a trip down memory lane with Shawn Wooden!

Throwback Thursday: Shawn Wooden

For someone who wanted an Ivy League education more than playing college football, Shawn Wooden’s successful nine-year NFL career might seem like a surprising achievement. The Philadelphia native played cornerback at Notre Dame, memorably beating out a pass from a possible Heisman Trophy winner Charlie Ward will retain an epic victory in 1993 state of florida. He moved on to play defensive back for the Miami Dolphins and Chicago Bears, eventually retired in 2004 due to a back injury. Now a financial planner at MetLife, Wooden lives in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., with his wife and four children.

Q: What prompted you to go to Notre-Dame? Has this always been a dream for you?

A: “Being a kid in Pennsylvania, Penn State was on my radar, but I actually looked more at Ivy League schools. Football wasn’t my first love, I really wanted to race at the college level. My dream was to go to the Olympics and be like Carl Lewis. My two races were the 100 meters and the 200 meters.

“As my high school football career evolved, I had a lot of interest (college recruiting). I made five visits in my senior year: Notre Dame, Penn State, Georgia Technology, Duke and Syracuse. When I visited Notre Dame, my host was Tony Brooks, because at the time I was mainly playing running back. Once I set foot on the Notre Dame campus, I realized what a special place it was. It wasn’t just the football program or the excellent academics, there was something bigger that drew me to Notre Dame.

“When I visited Duke, I was told you can come here and be a star, or go to ND and be another brick in the wall. But once I made my visit to Notre Dame, I knew this was no ordinary wall.

Q: You were a running back in high school. What made you move into defensive back?

A: “At the beginning of my first year, I was a flanker. During one game, just a few games into my freshman year, I took the wrong road and injured Rick Mirer. When I went to the sideline, coach (Lou) Holtz looked at me and said, “See you in the spring.” You won’t play anymore. I looked at Coach Skip Holtz and said, “Is he serious? And yes, yes he was. When one of the defensive backs got injured, I went ahead and offered to go from flanker to cornerback, and that change ended up turning into a nine-year NFL career. That third-line mistake in my freshman year was one of the best mistakes I’ve ever made.

Q: What is your best footballing memory at Notre-Dame?

A: “I see it as a global experience, a set of works. The experience of playing football at Notre Dame was such a joyful experience for me. The 1993 Notre Dame-Florida State game, when I broke up Charlie Ward’s final pass and got the win, is probably what most people remember me for, but that moment was an up and down for me. Yes, we won the match, but I also tore my ACL during this match. An extreme high and an extreme low at the same time for me.

“Seeing the No. 1 sign lit at the top of Grace Hall was a great memory for me too, even though it was only for a week. That’s what you play college ball for – to experience those great moments.

Q: What has been your biggest challenge as a college player?

A: “Being able to manage my time was quite a challenge for me. My freshman year I was an electrical engineering major and my first semester I took 18 credit hours in addition to playing football. Not only was I adjusting to being away from home and trying to keep up with my engineering classes, but there were also football practices, meetings, travel and games to consider. When I was at Notre Dame, they didn’t have that 20-hour-a-week training rule. If a particular workout didn’t go the right way, we could be on the training ground for hours.

Q: How did you get the nickname “Hollywood?”

A: “Part of it comes from my last name, Wooden. The rest came from trying to teach the younger guys how to have a certain level of confidence on the pitch. It was misconstrued as I was showboating in the field and that’s where the nickname “Hollywood” comes from.

Q: How do you remember your NFL Draft?

A: “It was kind of a bittersweet moment for me. I was only drafted in the sixth round and although you are quite happy to be drafted, you still think you will be drafted higher than you I had back and knee surgery during my career at Notre Dame, so I was glad a team was able to look past that and select me. a great feeling of being chosen; knowing that someone wants you. But I had a little chip on my shoulder because I went so late in the draft.

“I got drafted by Jimmy Johnson from the Miami Dolphins and I really enjoyed playing for Johnson. He was kind of a direct head coach. Just a quality guy all around. He gave me a chance then that a lot of people probably couldn’t have.”

Q: What have been the ups and downs of your NFL career?

A: “My first game in the NFL has got to be the highest I’ve ever had. The vibe on opening day (and) the realization that you made it. It wasn’t necessarily a dream for me as a kid, but that first home game when we took the field against the Patriots… playing for a team that had football legend Dan Marino at the helm, it was amazing. “You made it. You’re an NFL player. You play with these sports personalities that you’ve looked up to all your life. Truly unforgettable.”

“One of the other biggest highlights of playing in the NFL was playing Monday Night Football. Not only were you playing in front of millions of fans around the world, but you also knew you were being watched by your peers (who watching you) It was a great feeling.

“Injury risk was one of the biggest lows for me in the NFL. The uncertainty. High stress level. Worry about who’s next to get cut… who’s next to get hurt. Watching your back as they were always looking for someone to replace you who was younger, faster and cheaper. But in the end, it just had to make sure the highs outnumbered the lows. »

Q: What is your favorite memory of Lou Holtz?

A: “Coach Holtz and I had an interesting relationship. We certainly didn’t have a love affair. He didn’t hate me, but we definitely had our differences and battles. He was more of a psychological type. He really tried to get inside your head. Some guys he coddled and some he challenged. I was one of those he challenged. He wanted to get inside your mind, break you down, and see what thrills you. He was a good coach though. We had a fight once in his office and it got to the point where I threatened to never play football again. But I had such a love for the game and wanted to play, and he knew it. He knew I wasn’t going to give up. He just pushed me to be the best I could be. I became a team leader, and eventually a captain.

“When I officially made the 53-player roster, after being drafted by the Miami Dolphins, I received a telegram from Coach Holtz congratulating me. A telegram! Who sends a telegram? But he was so proud of me, and he didn’t have to do that. That telegram meant so much to me. Not only did he demand respect from his players, he respected them as well.”

“As a head coach, if you don’t win that locker room and the guys don’t respect you, you’ll never have control of the locker room. When you’re respected, you have total control. You force the guys buy what you sell Your team becomes a cohesive unit.

“Coach Holtz may have torn you apart, but he didn’t break you. You knew he cared about you. You might not like him, but you knew he really cared about you and you wanted you to do your best for him.

Cheers and GO IRISH!

Geraldine L. Melton