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  1. #1
    singersp's Avatar
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    At home, Vikings draft pick 'just Chad'

    Posted on Sat, May. 27, 2006

    [size=18px]At home, Vikings draft pick 'just Chad' [/size]

    Enjoys being treated like everyone else in Mount Vernon

    MOUNT VERNON - By Jon Krawczynski

    Associated Press Sports Writer

    As soon as Chad Greenway pulls his truck off Interstate 90 at Exit 319, he ceases to be an All-American linebacker.

    All the other labels fall away as he rolls through this one-stoplight South Dakota farming hamlet, where visitors are greeted by a tattered old white sign with blue letters that reads 'Welcome to Mount Vernon. Pop. 477' and the town is little more than a three-block cluster of buildings - most of which have seen better days.

    Greenway is not the rock star he was at Iowa, where he led the Hawkeyes to two Big Ten titles in four years. Or the Next Big Thing in Minnesota, where Vikings fans have high hopes for the first-round draft pick who soon will sign a contract that brings with it the kind of riches unheard of in these parts.

    He's simply Chad, just another of the little boys who grew up working long hours on the family farm, riding a snowmobile to school in the winters and playing nine-man football because the area didn't have enough players to field a full 11-man team.

    'It's not like if I walked into someplace in Iowa City, people would be asking for autographs,' Greenway says. 'Not back home. People grew up with me, people know me. People know my family, so I'm nothing really special. I'm just Chad, who they grew up with, and I happen to be a really good football player and things worked out for the best for me. That's what makes it kind of nice to go home.'

    Driving up the dirt and gravel road to Greenway's boyhood home, it's easy to see why he is so comfortable here.

    Cows graze in a corral near the mouth of the driveway, and the quintessential farm house - barn red with beige trim - is surrounded by a finely manicured lawn. A ferocious basset hound named Maggie keeps watch from a porch straight out of the 'Bridges of Madison County' and is won over with a simple scratch of her floppy ear.

    The hogs are kept in a large building behind the house, and a rented field where Alan and Julie Greenway plant soybeans, corn, wheat and alfalfa is just down the road.

    More than hog farmers: It's all a little too storybook, if you ask Greenway's mother.

    'Don't just call us hog farmers,' Julie pleads. 'Everyone (in the media) calls us that. They just take the hog-farmer thing and run with it.'

    There's plenty more to the Greenway farm than hogs. Just ask Chad, who was taught the meaning of hard work from a young age while helping his parents and two older sisters with daily chores.

    'The worst time of year for me was the summer,' Greenway says. 'There were no limits on how much I could work. ... There was a lot of work to do in the summers and we did a lot of it, but we had fun, too. I remember getting up at 5 a.m., knowing I was going to be working until 10 p.m., no doubt. There was no sleeping till noon, that's for sure.'

    Small-town values: Greenway is effusive in his praise of his down-to-earth family and a hometown dripping with the stereotypical Midwestern values of hard work, humility and community.

    Julie and Alan, who also delivers the mail, don't even have time to come back to the house to chat with a curious visitor from the big city. They both lean on a tractor out in the field while describing the only way of life they've ever known.

    'When you're on the farm, you all work together,' Julie says. 'That's what you do. And everybody has to do it, or it doesn't work.'

    Chad Greenway didn't take long to catch on.

    'Nothing sticks out about him other than his work ethic,' says Bev Hoefert, Greenway's fourth-grade teacher. 'He has small-town values.'

    That's the ultimate compliment in Mount Vernon, a town so small it needs to co-op with nearby Stickney to field an outstanding nine-man team.

    A town so small that one college recruiter didn't believe it could have spawned one of the best linebackers in the mighty Big Ten. A few years back, after Greenway already was at Iowa, an assistant from a different Big Ten school came to scout Knights coach Myron Steffen's son.

    'He'd never been to Mount Vernon before and he's sitting (in my classroom) with a strange look on his face and said, 'Coach, where's the town? Where's everything at?' Steffen says.

    When Steffen told him that Greenway grew up here and led the Knights to two state championships, the recruiter laughed.

    'I actually had to show him pictures,' Steffen says with a chuckle. 'He didn't believe that he came from here. ... He was like, 'What am I doing in this podunk town?' And after he finally believed that Chad was from here, his whole attitude changed.'

    A small adventure in itself awaits outsiders in search of Mount Vernon School, home to the town's K-12 students with a graduating class of 29 in 2001, Greenway's senior year.

    Many of the worn-out street signs are difficult to read.

    'That's because the kids shoot them,' Julie says with a hearty laugh.

    'Gotta sight the gun in somehow,' Alan Greenway says, as a mischievous grin creeps across his rugged face and hints he might have taken a few shots himself back in the day.

    'We work hard and we play hard.'

    Much of the playing is done at Wermer's Lounge and Steakhouse, one of the handful of open businesses on Main Street. Most of the town gathered there on April 29 to watch Greenway get drafted by the linebacker-starved Vikings with the 17th overall pick.

    It was a landmark day not only for Greenway and his family, but for everyone in the town.

    'Most people who grew up there stay there,' Greenway says. 'It's unheard of for people to grow up and leave and go far away for college, then move away for good.'

    Something different: But for all the similarities that Greenway shares with his neighbors, his father always has sensed something just a little bit different in him.

    'He's always made goals that are a little higher than most,' Alan says. 'He's come a long way to get where he's gotten.'

    At home, Vikings draft pick 'just Chad'

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  2. #2
    BigEasyViking's Avatar
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    Re: At home, Vikings draft pick 'just Chad'

    Well in being from Mitchell, SD which is 15 miles away from Mt. Vernon I can honestly say that everything said here is true. This is one of the reasons that I was so happy when we drafted Chad. Not only because it's always great to see another SD boy reach his goals but also because it guarantees that Chad has a great work ethic and that there will be no pushing needed to get 100% out of him on every play. Not many kids from SD get a chance to hit the big time like Chad. The only other one that comes to mind in the recent history is a close friend of mine, MIKE MILLER, who now plays for the Memphis Grizzlies and was awarded the 6th man of the year award this year in the NBA. Mike and I graduated togeather, played on the same BB team, and attended school togeather all the way from Kindegarten to Graduation. I know that Mike is the same guy now as he was 15 years ago when we would have sleep overs at our houses. Regardless of the million dollar contracts, mansions, cars, and celebrity status these guys don't change at all. I guess that there is something to all of the midwestern values that were installed in all of us growing up.


    :headbang: :headbang: :headbang: :hello1: :headbang: :headbang: :headbang:
    God Bless America, & the MINNESOTA VIKINGS!!!

  3. #3
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    Re: At home, Vikings draft pick 'just Chad'

    "BigEasyViking" wrote:
    Well in being from Mitchell, SD which is 15 miles away from Mt. Vernon I can honestly say that everything said here is true. This is one of the reasons that I was so happy when we drafted Chad. Not only because it's always great to see another SD boy reach his goals but also because it guarantees that Chad has a great work ethic and that there will be no pushing needed to get 100% out of him on every play. Not many kids from SD get a chance to hit the big time like Chad. The only other one that comes to mind in the recent history is a close friend of mine, MIKE MILLER, who now plays for the Memphis Grizzlies and was awarded the 6th man of the year award this year in the NBA. Mike and I graduated togeather, played on the same BB team, and attended school togeather all the way from Kindegarten to Graduation. I know that Mike is the same guy now as he was 15 years ago when we would have sleep overs at our houses. Regardless of the million dollar contracts, mansions, cars, and celebrity status these guys don't change at all. I guess that there is something to all of the midwestern values that were installed in all of us growing up.


    :headbang: :headbang: :headbang: :hello1: :headbang: :headbang: :headbang:
    Bryan Schwartz - Augustana and Miller SD.

    BRYAN SCHWARTZ became the highest National Football League draft pick in Augustana history when he was selected in the second round by Jacksonville in 1995. The standout linebacker was the first defensive player selected by the Jaguars that year. A three-time selection to the All-North Central Conference team, Schwartz was named the league’s outstanding defensive back in 1994. He was chosen to three All-America teams, was the only non-Division I player nominated for the Butkus Award in 1994, and led the North with six tackles in the 46th annual Senior Bowl. He is the recipient of Augustana’s Horizon Award. He holds the Augustana school record for career tackles (407), the season record for unassisted tackles (66), and the season record for total tackles (128).

    I grew up in a smalll SD town also, this article concentrated onthe positives of a small town, it left the negatives out, except for the negative BIAS that the coach had towards the small town as being inferior.

  4. #4
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    Re: At home, Vikings draft pick 'just Chad'

    Yeah, I do remember Schwartz now that you mention him. Did he ever do much in the PRO's? How about Eric Piatkowski from Rapid City. He played in the NBA for over 10 years. Also we can't forget Adam Vinatieri who is only the most clutch kicker ever in the league, Born in Yankton, SD. Now that I think about it there are more than a handful! If we include Pro Wrestling then we gotta include Brock Lesner. Actually, we could almost include him for football as well(BUT NOT REALLY)!
    God Bless America, & the MINNESOTA VIKINGS!!!

  5. #5
    Ltrey33 is offline Jersey Retired
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    Re: At home, Vikings draft pick 'just Chad'

    That's a really good article on Greenway. It's pretty cool that he can go back home and live a normal life. Hopefully that small town humility will help him out in the long run.

  6. #6
    stateVIKE44's Avatar
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    Re: At home, Vikings draft pick 'just Chad'

    "BigEasyViking" wrote:
    Yeah, I do remember Schwartz now that you mention him. Did he ever do much in the PRO's? How about Eric Piatkowski from Rapid City. He played in the NBA for over 10 years. Also we can't forget Adam Vinatieri who is only the most clutch kicker ever in the league, Born in Yankton, SD. Now that I think about it there are more than a handful! If we include Pro Wrestling then we gotta include Brock Lesner. Actually, we could almost include him for football as well(BUT NOT REALLY)!
    Shwartz was injury plagued once he got to the pro's and was pretty much forced in to early retirement.
    "I play for the love of the game; I play because there is no greater feeling than hearing 80,000 fans screaming when you smack somebody!"
    ~ Jared Allen

  7. #7
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    Re: At home, Vikings draft pick 'just Chad'

    "stateVIKE44" wrote:
    "BigEasyViking" wrote:
    Yeah, I do remember Schwartz now that you mention him. Did he ever do much in the PRO's? How about Eric Piatkowski from Rapid City. He played in the NBA for over 10 years. Also we can't forget Adam Vinatieri who is only the most clutch kicker ever in the league, Born in Yankton, SD. Now that I think about it there are more than a handful! If we include Pro Wrestling then we gotta include Brock Lesner. Actually, we could almost include him for football as well(BUT NOT REALLY)!
    Shwartz was injury plagued once he got to the pro's and was pretty much forced in to early retirement.
    He was pretty tough his first two years.

    He had bad knees and ankles.

    Also, our own Leber is from Yankton or Vermillion.

  8. #8
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    Re: At home, Vikings draft pick 'just Chad'

    For those who care check out this article. It's the 50 top athletes in SD history. I really can't believe that Vinatieri didn't make the list!!!! Maybee Greenway will make the list someday.

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/magazine/features/si50/states/south_dakota/greatest/

    KEEP IN MIND THAT THIS WAS FROM A '99 ISSUE OF SI, SO A LOT COULD HAVE CHANGED SINCE THEN.
    God Bless America, & the MINNESOTA VIKINGS!!!

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