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SHEBOYGAN - Pro Football Hall of Famer Kellen Winslow Sr. today was named vice president for athletics and wellness at Lakeland College.
Winslow was introduced at a short event in the college's Todd Wehr Athletic Center attended by approximately 200 Lakeland student-athletes, employees, alumni and surrounding community members. A recording of the announcement is online at http://lakeland.edu/kellen.
Winslow, 54, will serve as Lakeland's director of athletics. He will also lead development of a college-wide focus on wellness designed to help all students understand how lifestyle choices they make in college impact their personal health and their ability to get a job after college.
"This role at Lakeland fulfills two things I've been looking for - a place where I can continue to be involved in athletics and to implement a comprehensive student wellness plan," said Winslow, who becomes the 11th person to lead Lakeland athletics since intercollegiate athletics was organized in 1932.
To most, Winslow is best known for revolutionizing the tight end position while playing for the San Diego Chargers from 1979 to 1987. A fixture in San Diego head coach Don Coryell's passing-oriented offense, Winslow transitioned the position from primarily a line blocker to a major part of the offense. He led the NFL in receptions in 1980 and 1981 and had three 1,000-plus yard seasons.
At the time of his retirement, Winslow ranked fifth among active receivers and 14th among all NFL pass-catchers. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1995.
Prior to coming to Lakeland, Winslow served four years as athletic director at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio. He helped the school, an athletic independent for decades, become a founding member of the Great-Midwest Athletic Conference and a member of the football-only Great Lakes Valley Conference.
He also launched a speaker series that brought leaders from the world of sports to inspire and motivate community leaders in business, government and nonprofit organizations. The series, modeled after a similar series led by Grandillo when he served at Tiffin University, included Pro Football Hall of Famers Anthony Muñoz and Gale Sayers and pro basketball legend Earvin "Magic" Johnson.
Winslow plans to start a similar series at Lakeland.
Winslow said as more employers search for ways to control rising healthcare costs, colleges and universities can help by producing graduates who understand the importance of wellness.
"I believe this program will help Lakeland draw students and attract interest from parents," Winslow said. "It will also make our graduates more attractive to employers."
A firm believer in that academics and athletics go hand in hand, Winslow graduated from University of Missouri-Columbia with a bachelor's degree in counseling psychology. He returned to school after his football career and earned his jurist doctorate from the University of San Diego School of Law in 1993.
A native of East St. Louis, Ill., Winslow did not play football at East St. Louis High School until his senior season. Despite that, he earned a football scholarship to attend Missouri.
After earning consensus All-American and Big Eight Conference Player of the Year honors as a senior tight end at Missouri, he was drafted in the first round by the Chargers in 1979, the 13th overall pick. He ended his college career as the sixth leading receiver in school history, and Missouri retired his jersey in 1995. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2002.
His athletic accomplishments have been paralleled with a successful career in the media. He served as an analyst for Fox Sports Net College Football Saturday Studio Show, and has provided color commentary for NFL broadcasts on CBS Radio, ESPN college football and for University of Missouri football.
He has appeared on ABC's Nightline, ESPN, Fox Sports and most major local and national radio and television sports talk shows. He is often called upon to speak on social, political, economic and racial issues relating to sports.
He recently served as the executive director of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, an affinity group made up of minority members of the National Football League front office, coaching and scouting personnel and as the Director of Planning and New Event Development for the Walt Disney World Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Recently, Winslow agreed to serve on the NFL Advisory Committee on Wellness and Transition.
His son, Kellen Winslow, Jr., is entering his eighth season as an NFL tight end and his first with the Seattle Seahawks.