It's only reasonable to expect that Bob and Dick Woodruff should enter the Hall of Fame together - each of the twins was an outstanding athlete in his own right across multiple sports at BHS, but they rarely took to the field or court without the other. They continued their tag-teaming history by answering a few questions in our HOF Q & A with sometimes eerily similar responses. We're fairly confident it was Bob who answered these.
What was it about the game of football that you loved so much?
Mainly the fight, the contact, the challenge and winning the battle.Never letting your opponent win. I never wanted the guy across from me to think he could win, even if it sometimes meant committing a penalty.
What coaches did you learn from the most? What did he teach you?
Sam Bagnieski and Jim Faber were the coaches that introduced Dick and I to organized basketball and playing with a team. I can remember Sam opening the doors at the old junior high and greeting us in the gym for the first time. I will never forget every boy in school going out for basketball. You wanted so much to be noticed and get a chance to start and play. When it didn’t happen and we rode the bench in the first half of the first game, I remember the sick feeling in my stomach. In the second half Dick and I were put into the ballgame together for the first time. We each scored six points and our team won the game. From then on, we started every game. Looking back on it now, Coach Faber did us a favor by not starting us, because he made us realize that you have to earn a position - it wasn’t simply given to you based on athletic ability. I think Coach Faber deliberately kept us out of the game in order to fuel our fire, so when we did get in we were ready to get the job done. That influenced the rest of our athletic careers.
You also played for a fellow Hall of Fame inductee, Coach Van. What are your thoughts about him?
Honor, dignity, respect and hard work. I trusted Coach Van, and that is all that needs to be said.
You enjoyed a lot of team and individual success. What teammates helped bring out the best in you?
The huddle! I can remember lots of times when Dan Grant or Rick Brubaker would come back to the huddle after getting a 20-yard gain up our hole and chew our butts instead of telling us, "Good job." But they knew how to push Dick and I to get more out of us, and we accepted the challenge and did it again!
Charlie Brubaker was the outside linebacker behind me, and if anybody ever did get by me, they didn’t get by Charlie. Charlie had his own unique way of motivating the team that only a Brubaker can do. Mike Cummings was fast and hit with everything he had. He brought it from the ground up. My brother Dick...I knew I could trust Dick no matter what. We knew each other so well.
You played in arguably the golden era of Beaverton football. Have you ever seen another that might compare?
Without saying yes or no, I will say that everybody on our team clicked and we had guys on the sidelines that could fill in. I was too young to appreciate the older guys like Gerow, Newman, Warner and many others, but I know they were great too.
Were there players from other schools who gave you headaches? How did you handle them?
Undoubtedly. Randy “Zeek” Aultman from Coleman and Lynn Woodruff from Gladwin. Randy was a big vocal opponent who would tell you a play was coming up your hole and challenge you to stop it. Lynn was a great athlete from Gladwin who happened to be our cousin. It was always a fun challenge to play against those guys.
Do you think playing with your twin brother was an advantage?
Dick and I used to lie in bed at night coming up with code words that only we knew like “Willy Wood," or simple facial expressions, or the look in our eyes. Those things helped us so much because we knew each other so well. We knew what each other was thinking before it happened.
What were some of your favorite memories from your playing days?
During the Gladwin game, our senior year, Rick Brubaker was running Red Left Tailback Sweep. A Gladwin linebacker had the angle on Bru and just before he made the tackle, Bru pointed at me to make the block. I hit him so hard it knocked him out of the game. Both of us slid completely out of bounds, and John Calhoun picked me up, patted me on the helmet and said, "Good hit!”
Another great memory was when Mike Wesley threw a pass to Bru in the endzone to beat Houghton Lake with no time left on the clock. We carried Coach Van off the field that night.
You played football at Ferris State College. What was your experience like?
We played three seasons and found out that the level of play was more physical, which was something Dick and I loved. It was more competitive and tougher to earn positions on the team. But we made it and started as defensive end gunners on the special teams.
Who are your top ten Beaverton football players of all time?
The older guys were Mike Loar, Dan Grant, Larry Gerow, Rick Brubaker and Dick Woodruff. Some of the younger guys that played with the intensity that I think everyone should play with were Mike Bassage, Chet Loar, Greg Delisle and both Eric and Adam Richardson.
How has the game changed since your playing days?
There is not the same interest and participation from the kids these days. We would have 35 guys on the sidelines in those days. There aren’t as many kids playing sports in the off-season. We used to go to Stan Witer’s with our new cleats and run until Stan quit running. And Stan never quit running!
What are some of your proudest moments as a player, coach or fan at BHS?
I remember feeling proud when Dick, myself and Delynn Calhoun received the Lions Club Award for Outstanding Athlete of the Year. It was the first time the award was shared because our statistics were so close. Another proud moment was watching my son Shad win the Jack Pine batting title as a sophomore with a .548 average.
Do you have any memories or thoughts you would like to share about your fellow Hall of Fame members?
Coach Van: Disciplinarian, but a gentle giant. I have great respect for Coach.
Dan Grant: The most agile back I’ve ever seen.
Mr. Metzger: Instrumental in athletic and academic achievement for students at Beaverton.
Doyle Durkee: Smooth, very dependable and poised.
Becky Phillips: A pioneer in Beaverton’s girls basketball.
Larry Gerow: Someone I looked up to and respected while growing up.
Jeff Christian: I remember coaching JV football when Jeff was a senior and watching him run four or five miles on the track. When I got home, Cindy sent me down to Fruchey’s on M-30 to get some milk. On the way down there, I passed Jeff running on Dale Road. The next day I talked to him at practice and asked him what he was doing. He replied, “Cooling Down!” He then explained that he finished that “cool down” by running out to M-30, then north to Knox and back to Beaverton. What an athlete.
Roy Johnston: Most competitive, intense, colorful figure in Beaverton history. A true winner. I would have loved to play for Roy, but it is probably best for both of us that I didn’t!
Mike “Mustard” Loar: The most punishing player in Beaverton history, offensive or defensive.
Ken Govitz: Mr. Beaverton. His name is synonymous with excellence in Beaverton athletics.
Joe Mishler: Strong and smooth. One of the nicest guys you will ever meet.
Theresa Gunningham: One of our greatest girls basketball players.
Jim Newman: One of the biggest icons of Beaverton football history.
Monica Badger: Dominating powerhouse on the basketball floor.
Dick Woodruff: Someone I could always trust. He gave 110 percent at all times. Our hearts are the same.
Shad Woodruff on dads, uncles and Beavers
Since I was a young boy, Beaverton Schools and Beaverton athletics have been an important part of my life. I remember all of my buddies talking and bragging about their favorite teams and athletic heroes, whether they be the Detroit Tigers, the Pistons or some other professional team or player. Sure, I am a fan of our Michigan teams such as the Lions, Red Wings and the Spartans, and I am glad to see when those particular teams have success.
However, they were never MY team; my team has always been and always will be the Big Red of the Beaverton Beavers! The reason I think I love the Beavers so much is because this is where MY heroes play ball. This is where, after a big win in 1987, a 6'9 Mike Simpson took the time to slap me five (I was then a sixth-grade kid who literally looked up to him) as he and the rest of the basketball team celebrated with Coach Roy in the old gym.
This is where I played ball, where me and my buddies tried to live up to legends from the past, champions from the past. And although we came up short, we came up short with all of Beaverton right there behind us. I love the Beavers because we get to play for, follow, and root for winners and leaders like Coach Van and Coach Roy. The Beavers are my team because they gave me the opportunity to coach past champions and future legends like Jake Oard and Ryan Longstreth in those unbelievable runs to Battle Creek, because great things happen to great people from Beaverton.
So today is extra-special to me because the Beavers have inducted three more people as legends into our Hall of Fame. Two of them are guys who happen to be my biggest heroes of all, my dad, Bob Woodruff, and my uncle, Dick Woodruff. These two guys are the real reason why I love the Beavers as much as I do, because they were the ones who instilled in me what it means to live and play and love the place you grew up.
They taught me to be proud of my team and to FIGHT for them if need be. They taught me that I will make many friends in life but none will be like those who were there from the start.
I, like many others in Beaverton, have heard thousands of “legendary” stories about the Woodruff twins, whether they were on the football field or other “extracurricular activities”. With that said, it makes me very proud to now see those stories validated and both of them recognized as official members of our Beaverton Beavers Athletic Hall of Fame.
Congratulations Dad and Uncle Dick, thanks for everything and I love you both.