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Catching Up With Sooner Legend Uwe von Schamann

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Uwe von Schamann's legacy as a football player has been set in stone and there's no denying it. His Sooner career began in 1975, as a member of Oklahoma's fifth national championship team, and by the time it concluded in 1978 he had made such an impact that he would eventually be named the all-time Big 8 kicker. He was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in 1979 and was named the Rookie of the Year. He went on to play in two Super Bowls for the Dolphins in which he was perfect in field goal attempts and extra point tries. In 1984 he set the NFL record for extra point attempts with 70. It was a record that stood until 2007. However, if you ask von Shamann (or anyone else for that matter) his entire career was defined in one moment of time.

That moment came on September 24, 1977 in front of 88,000 people at the Hose Shoe in Columbus, Ohio. Trailing Ohio State 28-26, Uwe von Schamann trotted out onto the field, led the crowd in chanting, "Block that kick!" and then nailed the game winning 41-yard field goal. "Me making that kick certainly took me down a different path than had I not made it," von Schmann told me. "If I wouldn't have made it I probably wouldn't have been drafted by the Miami Dolphins and played in two Super Bowls or had this current job."

Long retired from his football playing days, von Schamann remains busy. He's currently employed as the Director of Development and Fundraising for the J.D. McCarty Center for the care and treatment of children with special needs. He's also involved in speaking engagements for all types of groups and organizations and is focusing on a new opportunity with Colonial Life in providing work benefit packages to employees of various companies. If you can't find Uwe von Schamann involved in one of those tasks then you'll most likely find him paling around with his three children or working the Bob Stoops kicking camp or promoting his film, Its Just A Game, which focuses on the decline of parental behavior in youth sports. Still looking for him? Perhaps he's out giving a private kicking lesson to the next great kicker to wear the crimson and cream.

It's that same determination and focus that von Schamann showed in Columbus that's allowed him to be successful in his life off the field as well. Reliving that moment, von Schmann talked about the minutes leading up to what has become known in Sooner lore as, "The kick."

"I just wanted to be by myself and focus on the moment," he said. "It's a split second (1.3-1.5 seconds) after the ball is snapped until you make the kick. You have to relax and think positive things so you can come through and be successful." Of course the timeout called by Ohio State to freeze von Schamann did anything but as he began to lead the crowd in their chant. "When they called timeout it was the first time I noticed the crowd," he told me. "That's why I led the chant. I wouldn't advise kickers to do that but it worked for me."    

Like many other former players, Uwe von Schamann is still involved with the University of Oklahoma. He participates in the Bob Stoops golf tournament every year as well as the Sooners in the Desert golf tournament to raise money for the golf team. He's privately coached several Sooner kickers over the year's, before their college days, and still offers his advice when they call upon him. A true Sooner through and through, von Schamann still has a firm loyalty to the university.

When I asked him if he had dreamed of growing up and playing professional football he told me that it was actually futbol that he dreamed of as a child.

"Growing up in Germany I wanted to be a professional soccer player. I moved to Ft. Worth when I was 16 and accidently stumbled on football. I had no aspirations of playing professionally, or at least I didn't think I had a chance to play in the NFL. I was a pretty good soccer player and actually got drafted in the North American Soccer League as a goalie."  

When I asked him his opinion about the 2010 Sooners he pointed out to the two things that proved to be the Achilles for OU in 2009 being the factors to success in `10.

"I get that question a lot. I really don't pay that much attention to the spring practices. If you're not a coach you really don't know what's going on with the team, especially when practices are closed."

"Every year we have a chance to play for a national championship and that should be the case this year. I think that Landry Jones is a good quarterback and more than capable of getting it done. It's going to come down to injuries and having good, solid kicking. That's how you win the close games." 

With a career full of accomplishments it's still that kick at Ohio State that von Schamann points back to as his defining moment as a football player. In my final question I asked him to consider his NFL career and Sooner career as well to tell me his greatest moment.

"Ohio State is still the number one moment because of what it did for me. OU fans are bigger fans of what you did for OU than what you did after OU. OU is their professional team."

"I had some big kicks in the NFL. I kicked 12 or 13 game winning kicks in the NFL, one was against Jets to help us with the playoffs. I was perfect in two Super Bowls but nothing was bigger than that kick at Ohio State."

Uwe von Schamann resides in Norman, Oklahoma and can be reached for private kicking lessons, speaking engagements or to talk with your company about benefits packages at, (405)205-6477. He'll be at the Muskogee film festival the 24-25 of this month with his film. It's Just A Game will be shown at the Muskogee Civic Center at 10:30 a.m. on the 24th.