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Original Issue


No character in losing

Odds are that the conversation taking place here concerns one of the longest winning streaks in high school football. Coach Allan Woolard (shown with Guard Jeff Heeb) last weekend guided his Lawrence (Kans.) High School team to its 40th straight win, a 20-6 victory over nearby Atchison. State champion for the past four seasons, Lawrence has lost only 13 games in 18 years. During the 10 years under Coach Woolard it has lost seven, won 79. Meanwhile, eight Lawrence players (including Olympic gold medalist Bill Nieder) have made high school All-America.

All football coaches like to think they are "building character," but Lawrence High's Woolard nurses no illusion about how it's done. "You don't build character by losing," he says. "You do it by calling on your own inner resources to win." At Lawrence, character building—and the techniques of winning play—are taught as early as ninth grade. But neither Woolard nor his teams feel they are under any undue pressure to win. Says Tackle Brian Schweda: "We respect the coach, and we'll do anything he tells us to do. But we win because we love to play football."