Written by Bill Wood
I always thought I would go to the University of Texas and play football. I was sorely disappointed when the offer just “kept not coming”. I had offers from some smaller schools and a lot of interest from Duke, who ended up telling me that maybe a year of two in junior college would be better for me to begin with. Then came New Mexico Military Institute. They had me out for a visit and it seemed pretty exciting! I just turned 18 on August 1st and was there for QB camp August 15th or so. I had no idea about the seriousness of the military aspect until I began to settle in there. We had a really good team. Most of the top drawer athletes were there on one year deals from the three service academies. I played quarterback there just a few years after Roger Staubach, just for example. We came within one very close loss to making it to the Junior Rose Bowl. I had a good year, more running than passing but still more passing than high school. I actually played all three sports that first year, although I was so late getting to basketball, I practiced a lot more than I played. In baseball, I was the third baseman and we were a winning team.
Suprising myself, I decided to go back for a second year. I think I realized that it was really good for me, even though I felt bad about not going to a “regular” university like most of my high school friends. My second year of football was tough…knee injuries and high ankle sprain. When I went for my visit to Duke I was still limping around. I loved that area so much I reached out to the University of North Carolina (just 8 miles away) and was encouraged to come “walk on”. I did. I loved it but knee injuries did me in…and cut me out of playing baseball. I did have a last fling by playing rugby the spring of my senior year and had a blast. Chapel Hill is a magical place. Some lifelong friendships were made there and a group of us has stayed in pretty close touch. Since all of our children were mostly grown, we have regularly gone on one or two hunting or fishing trips almost every year. I almost stayed there for law school but came back to Texas where all of my family was. Early in my career I thought about trying to re-transplant myself there but moving and starting a legal career all over just became harder and harder. Amazingly, my son and his wife and little girls live in Chapel Hill now. So, I “”sort” made it back there. We visit often and love going there. I think “something in the water” made me love the trees in Carolina, and that’s how I became a Tarheel.