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  • April 18, 2014

Game On: Pete Woods, From End Zone to Court Room - Ladue News: Sports

Game On: Pete Woods, From End Zone to Court Room

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Posted: Thursday, May 2, 2013 12:00 pm

Imagine this life if you will: You are a senior in high school. You can throw a fastball 90-plus miles per hour. You are a starter on a very good basketball team. And you also happen to be one of the better quarterbacks in the Midwest.

That was Pete Woods’ life at U. City High School in 1974. There wasn't much he couldn't do. There were two great righthanded pitchers in the state that year, Woods and future major league star, Rick Sutcliffe. Woods also became a star pitcher after high school, going 9-1 at Mizzou in his first two years. However, football was his game. You may remember the name—he was the architect of two of the greatest wins in Tigers history.

On Sept. 23, 1976, Woods was in a hotel room in Columbus watching the local newscast the night before Mizzou played against second-ranked Ohio State. The local sports anchor (those guys can really be annoying) said Ohio State was a 14-point favorite, but with Mizzou without starting quarterback Steve Pisarkiewicz (and having to play Pete Woods) Ohio State will win by 35. Woods was brilliant, engineering a final drive and then scoring the game-winning 2-point conversion. A month later, against third-ranked, Nebraska, Woods threw a 98-yard touchdown pass to Joe Stewart, and led the Tigers to a thrilling 34 to 24 win in Lincoln.

Woods was the 104th player selected in the NFL draft and lasted three years. He played for the Chiefs, 49ers, Broncos, Bengals and Dolphins. He could have lasted longer, but law school at Washington University was too tempting to pass up. He made the right decision. For the last 28 years, Woods has been a successful lawyer in our town. His firm is named Haar & Woods. When he is not in the courtroom, Woods is spending time with his family and attending church. One of his passions is still Mizzou football. We talked on his way back from the black-and-gold scrimmage.

You are a great athlete, but give me your most embarrassing moment in sports.

I was 14 years old and playing little league baseball. I was on first base and I ran to second to try and steal a base. I got thrown out. I didn't realize they were intentionally walking the hitter. There I was, getting thrown out!

Most satisfying moment on a football field.

The Ohio State game—that entire final drive. It was about 95 degrees that day, too, on the turf. It was such a group effort. It was such a team effort. I will never forget it.

Most famous teammates.

Joe Montana, O. J. Simpson, Anthony Munoz, Yon Stenerud, Kellen Winslow and Curtis Brown. (all are Hall-of-Famers)

How has your athletic career played a role in your success as an attorney?

The closest thing to playing quarterback is being a trial attorney: You call your own plays and execute them. I think the competition and playing under pressure in football and sports has prepared me for this profession. (Woods believes his cases go to trial about three times per year.)

Favorite movie scene in a courtroom.

The Verdict with Paul Newman and A Few Good Men with Jack Nicholson.

If we put you on the field now to throw 10, 20-yard slants, how many times do you hit the receiver on the numbers?

Eight. Accuracy is not an issue. Arm strength is.

You are a man of faith, what is the role it plays in your life now?

I feel like the parable of the mustard seed. It started off very small in my life, but it grows to be big. What God started as small in me has grown to be the most important thing in my life.

5 Thoughts:

1. Bill Mueller, who developed a baseball star in his son, Billy, has a thing called the Five Be's of Baseball: be different, be tolerant, be supportive, be available and be thankful. Parents and players should try this.

2. If Stan Kroenke and his wife are worth approximately $10 billion, why not go down as one of the great sportsman in history and build your own stadium instead of asking a broke city to build one?

3. I have always wondered about the bathtubs in the Cialis commercials. Does anybody ever sit in a bathtub outside? If you are in the mood for romance, do you say, "Let's go to the tubs outside right away?

4. I couldn't be happier for Brian Fogt for getting an opportunity to play in the Senior PGA Championship. He is one of the great teachers of the game in our town. He deserves this chance.

5. High schools firing coaches for not winning enough games (or not pleasing enough parents) is sending the wrong message. It's high school sports. These administrators will eventually pay a price for their actions.

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