Michigan Football Recruiting: Chris Rock and Coach Wiggins exclusive interview — Part 1


Posted at 8:00am — 6/9/2010

The DeSales Experience!

A Visit with Coach Ryan Wiggins and Chris Rock of Columbus DeSales

Loyalty, commitment, respect, intensity, and achievement are strong qualities linked to success. There is nothing new in this formula and the path to success is quite clear. Some doubt these qualities and view them as old-fashioned, wondering what has replaced the above time-honored traits in today’s “modern” era of sports and life.

Nothing has replaced these traits, because they are still the foundation blocks of ultimate long-term success. DeSales High School in the northeast part of Columbus proper has had a tradition of excellence on the football field and in the classroom for about 50 years. In this article, readers will view comments from successful DeSales coach Ryan Wiggins and his young Michigan commit, Chris Rock.

The lay out of the content is as follows: (1) The DeSales Experience; (2) scholarship; (3) the Michigan visit and commitment; (4) questions related to
Chris and DeSales football, and (5) tidbits.

The DeSales Experience

Coach Wiggins described the DeSales experience as starting with a very strong tradition, an outcome that took time to establish. He then added that the school possesses a great environment for students. Coach Wiggins speaks both as a DeSales graduate and current faculty member. Here the players look up to the past and have several alums to use as role models, including previous Michigan defender Grant Bowman and current offensive lineman Patrick Omameh.

The DeSales schedule is different than that of typical high schools. The league is small and many outside games must be scheduled, a task that must wear on patience year after year. The result is that DeSales plays about anyone, anywhere and always sports one of the tougher schedules in the entire state, frequently playing top-drawer playoff teams and teams from higher divisions. Coach Wiggins knows the potential brutality of this reality, but also sees this as an opportunity for his team to travel to great and storied places to play football. Coach discussed some talk of league expansion, a move that would have some pluses but temper the current DeSales experience.

Coach Wiggins is very successful and his success is clearly linked to loyalty, hard work, and an uncompromising support for his alma mater and players. Coach was an assistant for nine years and a position coach during two recent DeSales state title runs.

Coach Wiggins fondly talked about his start in coaching at the age of 18, when legendary DeSales coach Bob Jacoby hired him. Coach Jacoby assigned young Coach Wiggins to the duty of freshman football coach for the expressed purpose of learning every aspect about the science and process of football coaching. This is a position where a coach must do everything within a program, short of selling popcorn. From personal experience the author states that no truer words were even spoken and an opportunity was provided. Soon, at the tender age of 22, another opportunity opened up and Coach Wiggins became the DeSales Defensive Coordinator, as one of many assistants left to take major high school jobs. DeSales has quite a coaching tree that can be traced around the immediate area.

The conversation switched to Chris Rock, defensive end and tight end at DeSales, to give his perception about the DeSales experience. Chris has an older brother who attended DeSales, and so he had an inkling that this would eventually be his high school. As a freshman, Chris attended another nearby high school and then transferred to DeSales.

When asked how DeSales has benefited him, Chris offered forward thought of this nature: discipline helps for later in life, the school provides structure, a student is encouraged to work harder, and in the end the DeSales student ends up being a good person, one society can admire.

Scholarship and Football

Coach Wiggins and Chris were asked to comment on scholarship. Coach Wiggins, believing in academic consistency, evaluates his players weekly and issues a weekly eligibility (not monthly or quarterly) list. Two marks and study table is the immediate destination. Coach believes that eventual success is based on achieving and that modeling strong academics relates to life success.

Mr. Rock joined in and pointed out that weekly means a player must stay on top of academics, that the coaches want no surprises. Chris mentioned that even a strong student with a high point average could not build up a cushion and then just shut off academic performance, essentially going into cruise control mode.

Chris is a student of note, currently holding a 3.5 grade point average at a strong high school. He is a member of the National Honor Society. When asked about his learning style, Chris responded that part of his success is due to work and part to ability. Coach Wiggins stated that Chris learns faster than normal on the typical player learning curve and learns best by doing. In short, Chris does pick things up well.

Although most football programs learn by doing, Michigan’s practices may be a little more in that mode than many other university programs.

Chris is somewhat undecided about his academic career, but the Michigan business program and engineering currently hold his interest.

Look for Part 2 soon

Written by Doc4blu — GBMW Staff

Go Blue — Wear Maize!