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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended December 29, 2000
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Sent on Mormon-News: 10Jan01

By Rosemary Pollock

Mission Teaches LDS RM Wallin Something About Sports

HONOLULU, HAWAII -- While ASU was going to the Rose Bowl, Arizona State's Kurt Wallin was serving a two year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Rochester, N.Y. "I watched them beat Nebraska on TV, and when they played in the Rose Bowl, I was at a church member's house watching," he said. "The people had a baby who was asleep, so I had to hold back on my emotions whenever they did something. I knew almost all of 'em, and I was proud. I sort of wished I was there, but I knew the importance of being where I was," Wallin said.

Wallin is a 23-year-old, 6-foot-2, 225-pound junior defensive tackle who while sporting a well-trimmed goatee looks older than the rest of his teammates. Sometimes he is even mistaken for an ASU assistant coach. Looks can be deceiving though and Wallin credits his mission for his biggest dose of reality. "I was a punk. I was selfish. Everything was me, me, me. I thought I knew it all. I didn't know that coaches were there for a reason." Speaking of his mission Wallin says, "It was everything I needed."

When Wallin returned home, Snyder and the staff welcomed him back. "They took a big chance, but I wanted to justify their faith in me," he said. "It was hard at first, getting used to the pace again, but I started to get back into it." Wallin has had 34 tackles, placing third in the Pac-10 among interior men. He has four sacks, three fumbles and one recovery.

"I just love being out there. I love the game," Wallin says. "I'm looking forward to coming back next year, but I want to be in great shape and I want to be stronger, so I'll have to hit the weights. I'm not afraid to hit a 330-pound guy in the mouth, but I want to be able to be stronger so I can shed the block."


'Punk' matures into big man
MSNBC (Arizona Republic) 23Dec00 S2
By Don Ketchum: The Arizona Republic


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