Why are national writers trying to reach ex-Arizona Wildcat Rob Waldrop?by Anthony Gimino on Oct. 06, 2010, under Sports
I received an e-mail last week from a Sports Illustrated staff writer, asking for help tracking down former Arizona all-star defensive tackle Rob Waldrop for a story.
On Wednesday, ESPN.com’s Pat Forde, in his always-informative Forde-yard dash column, was curious about the same thing. Forde wrote:
Putting out an APB for …
… Former Arizona defensive lineman and Desert Swarm linchpin Rob Waldrop. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of the 1993 Outland Trophy winner, please apprise The Dash.
OK, so what gives?
Why the sudden interest in the guy who was selected the 1993 national Defensive Player of the Year in 1993 by the Football Writers’ Association of America?
I talked with Waldrop on Wednesday morning to find out.
With Waldrop’s permission, I had passed on his cell number to the Sports Illustrated writer, who, according to Waldrop, had questions about an upcoming book that has something to do with shady agents. (Shady agents? Go figure.)
Waldrop, speaking in general terms, said he knew the agent in question and his “runner,” who had been trying to recruit his football-playing roommate at the time. Waldrop added that the Arizona coaches, notably then-defensive coordinator Larry Mac Duff, had warned him to stay clear of this guy.
Was Forde interested in asking Waldrop about the same stuff? I don’t know.
Waldrop was one of those guys who didn’t stay on the sports radar for too long after his college days, although he did end up with a successful playing career in the Canadian Football League.
He later became a police officer in Torrance, Calif., and re-invented himself as a Tucson business owner, starting a marketing company with former UA football player Gregg Shapiro before selling the business a couple of years ago. As I wrote in this 2006 story for the Tucson Citizen, they were active in raising funds to support the Pima County Sheriff’s Department K9 unit.
Waldrop is back in law enforcement, but he requested that I not publish his location. (Sounds mysterious, doesn’t it?)
In any case, he said he would have loved to be back in Tucson this week for a Friday night reception in honor of his college coach, Dick Tomey. The athletic department will present Tomey the John Button Salmon Award for outstanding service between the first and second quarters of Saturday’s game against Oregon State at Arizona Stadium.
“I just got the invitation in the mail yesterday,” Waldrop said, “and I can’t get off work.”
Waldrop said he will be in Tucson when the athletic department retires his jersey — along with those from linebacker Ricky Hunley, safety Chuck Cecil, placekicker Steve McLaughlin, and cornerbacks Antoine Cason, Darryll Lewis and Chris McAlister — on Nov. 13 at the game against USC.
I asked Waldrop, who was at Arizona from 1990 to 1993, how his impressions of Tomey have changed over the years.
“The biggest thing that I realize now is how hard he tried to make us better men,” Waldrop said. “You don’t realize that until you get older.”
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