Brian Wort Interview - 28th August 2012
For those who do not know, what was your history with playing American Football in England?
It started in the spring of 1984 after Super Bowl XVIII when the Raiders beat the Redskins. This was the first live game I had ever seen and it looked like a great sport to play. Coincidently a small group of enthusiasts had just started recruiting for an amateur side and I responded to their ad in the local newspaper. This was the beginning of the Crawley Raiders and I played RB for them for a number of seasons before my chest slipped down to my waist and I moved to the O-line. The last couple of seasons I played were for the London Olympian’s and in my final season they won the National Championship. It was very, very amateur compared to football in the States but a great experience and to this day I still support the Raiders!
You moved the family over to the USA for work. Did the fact that your son's might have a chance to play Football factor into that decision at all?
It wasn’t a deciding factor but both of the boys were keen to have an opportunity to play the game and I’d had so much fun with the sport that I was interested to see if they would enjoy it as much as I had.
As most parents in the UK will never have to deal with their kids getting recruited to play Football in College, and now that you have gone through that twice, what was the whole process like for you and the family? Were you active in both or more stand-off to allow Tom/Charles to make their own decisions.
It’s a very thin line to draw between helping and hindering them during the recruiting process. You want to support, listen and advise but allow them to make up their own minds on the best information that is to hand. They both tended to discuss their options with me more than their mother only because I was more involved with football in general. Once they made their decisions we did the official visits as a family.
Charles is going to be playing locally now for UTSA, how are you and the family going to split up attending games if they both play at the same time?
We’re hoping our weekends will be less hectic than the past couple of years. With Charles playing on Friday evenings at High School we had to leave really early on Saturday morning to see Tom play as well. We’re just going to have to sit down with the calendar and work out which game we can attend on each weekend and go from there. Charles playing in the air conditioned Alamo Dome makes his home games a very attractive option in Texas.
What has been your greatest Football memory of Tom so far at Oklahoma?
There have been many, however the most emotional memory was being in the stadium and watching him lead the team onto the field in front of 85,000 people wearing the #12 jersey of Austin Box in his honor.
How do you feel, as a father, when the whole Owen Field crowd erupts after Tom makes one of them almost trade-mark hits?
It’s a cliché but it’s indescribable. I still have a surreal feeling about just seeing him on the field. Seeing him make a play just adds to the incredulity of what you are witnessing.
Sooner fans have seen Tom grow as a player, both mentally and physically over the past 3 years at Oklahoma. Now Travis Lewis has left, do you see Tom filling in that Leadership role on the Defence?
He’s a natural leader, not the vocal type, but the lead by example type. He’s ready for it and with a fair wind he will take it in his stride.
What can Sooner fans expect from Tom this year?
Hard work and to leave everything on the field.
Tom is obviously proud of his British roots and spent time with a local team when he came home this year. What tips or advice would you give to any young British player wanting to be the next 'Tom Wort'?
The path that led Tom and Charles to D1 Football was long and winding and could have taken many different avenues. Having said that, hard work, integrity and a clear vision of your goals will open many doors of opportunity. Football coaches in the states will always be interested in athletes regardless of your background. When Charles went to Wyoming we met a German LB from Dusseldorf and he was one of three Germans on the roster. Europeans are becoming more familiar in American College football programs so if you have a passion for the game and the athletic ability give it a shot.
Is there any story or memory that might not be known about Tom that you would mind sharing?
He’s a mad Carp fisherman. His uncle John is even madder than him and has always taken any opportunity he can to take the lads fishing. Coincidently, Lady Bird Lake in Austin has the best Carp fishing I have ever seen. Tom is a regular there and his personal best is 38-lbs. His uncle John has landed a 29-lb Buffalo Carp and Charles landed a beast at 62-lbs!