Former Michigan RB-turned-Olympian Sam McGuffie glad ‘things are on the right track’ with Wolverines


It’s 6,569 miles from Ann Arbor, Mich., to PyeongChang, South Korea. Sam McGuffie took the scenic route. At about 90 miles per hour.

“I’m still a huge supporter of Michigan,” McGuffie, the former Michigan Wolverines running back turned U.S. Olympic bobsledder said during a media conference call Tuesday. “[I’m] always going to be a fan. Always will be. I always watch Michigan.

“I’m glad they’re having some success, and things are on the right track with the [football] program.”

The 28-year-old McGuffie and the Maize and Blue have been on, shall we say, slightly different tracks since the football fates — and then-Wolverines running back coach Fred Jackson — brought them together 10 years ago.

@jimrome Sam McGuffie. Htown legend. He used to jump over fools as running back.

— Steve in HTown (@stucknut) January 23, 2018

Former Michigan and Rice running back Sam McGuffie makes the U.S. Olympic bobsled team https://t.co/7Q9SRRrXUz pic.twitter.com/lEefOubL50

— Iwa Dojo (@Iwa_Dojo) January 19, 2018

Before Saquon Barkley, there was Sam. When YouTube was fairly young, McGuffie — a 4-star back from Cypress, Texas — was one of the first high school prospects whose highlights threatened to break it:


The rest of the story, ironically, starts to go a bit … south.

And … west.

And … well, all over the map.

After rushing for 486 yards — 131 of them against Notre Dame — as a freshman at Michigan in 2008, the nimble Texan transferred to Rice, where as a slotback/receiver, he totaled 17 touchdowns on runs, catches, or punt returns over his final three seasons. Cups of NFL coffee with Oakland, Arizona and New England, and another with Winnipeg in the CFL, followed before an assistant track and field coach at Rice, Casey Thom, pitched the bobsled route.

“It’s totally different, different than you’d think,” said McGuffie, who was introduced to the sport in 2015 and tapped for Team USA earlier this month.

The 2-man Olympic bobsled runs are scheduled for the morning of Feb. 18 and 19; the 4-man runs are slated for Feb. 24 and 25.

“It’s been a pretty crazy ride.”

— Former Michigan running back and Winter Olympian Sam McGuffie, who’ll compete with Team USA in the bobsled in South Korea next month

“You look at it, you’d think it’s smooth going down the ice — it’s a joy ride,” McGuffie continued. “It’s nothing like that.

“It’s the polar opposite. It’s violent. It’s like … being put in a garbage can [and thrown] down a flight of stairs for a minute straight.”

It’s not for the faint of heart. Or for the squeamish, as this particularly graphic scrapbook from a deep cut McGuffie suffered in February 2016 can attest.

Former NFL great Herschel Walker was a member of the 1992 USA bobsled team; another former football player, ex-Nebraska Cornhusker Curt Tomasevicz, was part of the 4-man bobsled team that won gold at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.

“It wasn’t that different from being a running back,” McGuffie said. “You have to explode through the hole.

“You have to be fast. You have to be strong. You can’t just be mediocre at both.”

Mediocre, McGuffie ain’t. The former Michigan back says he can still run a 4.3 in the 40-yard dash, even though he’s 20 pounds heavier than his 190-pound college frame, and recently broke the Olympic Training Center vertical jump record with a leap of 42.5 inches:

Set the @USBSF static start 15 and 30 meter sprint record today with a 1.94 and 3.46. TY to #hakdiesel for pushing me and making me run. pic.twitter.com/7ZHiKpI2NY

— Sam McGuffie (@sam_mcguffie) October 2, 2017

403lbs bench press at 94.6 kilos. On the Olympic training center big board now. #hype #freakbeast @pyeongchang2018 @USBSF @TeamUSA pic.twitter.com/Esrlmr4XGb

— Sam McGuffie (@sam_mcguffie) September 23, 2017

Broke the Olympic Training Center vertical record today with a 42.5 inch jump. @TeamUSA #freakbeast @pyeongchang2018 #trainhard @USBSF # pic.twitter.com/2eMoX1aBvq

— Sam McGuffie (@sam_mcguffie) September 25, 2017

60″ standing box jump and a flawless rings routine ….with some random stuff sprinkled in. @usabs #teamusa @united #flyingtogether pic.twitter.com/aOxdedjSTO

— Sam McGuffie (@sam_mcguffie) November 26, 2016

“It’s been trip, honestly,” McGuffie said. “Yeah, it’s been crazy.

“There’s been so much that has happened: Changes in my life, where I’ve been, where I’m going. Went to [compete] in Germany, Austria, all over Canada, the United States, different states. It’s been a pretty crazy ride.”

In a few weeks, it’s about to get a hell of a lot crazier.

The post Former Michigan RB-turned-Olympian Sam McGuffie glad ‘things are on the right track’ with Wolverines appeared first on Land of 10.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

Cincinnati Reds: 5 things to know Monday’s first full-squad workout
Cincinnati Reds: 5 things to know Monday’s first full-squad workout

It’s a crowded Sunday at the Reds complex in Goodyear, Arizona as position players reported for physicals ahead of Monday’s first full-squad workout. Here are 5 things to know as the Reds get back to work. In past years Bryan Price came to camp knowing who his opening day starter was going to be and the manager wasn’t afraid to make...
Wright State’s Benzinger to hit Nutter Center floor one last time
Wright State’s Benzinger to hit Nutter Center floor one last time

The courtside seating at the Nutter Center is about to get a lot safer, but first Grant Benzinger has one more game to play there when the Raiders take on Cleveland State for Senior Night on Monday. Known for his hustle and blatant disregard for his body as much as his sharp shooting, Benzinger has dropped more than just sweat on the home hardwood...
Archdeacon: ‘Level-headed’ Landers relishing role with Flyers
Archdeacon: ‘Level-headed’ Landers relishing role with Flyers

“I level-headed myself.” That’s Trey Landers simple, but linguistically-styled explanation for how he got himself from being buried on the bench last year to becoming a driving force for the Dayton Flyers this season, especially Saturday night when he scored 15 points in the first 11 minutes of the game and finished with a career-high...
Reds’ Barnhart treasures Gold Glove Award, seeks repeat
Reds’ Barnhart treasures Gold Glove Award, seeks repeat

The Cincinnati Reds had an All-Star catcher in Devin Mesoraco, but they struck gold with a 10th-round draft pick when their star was hurt. Tucker Barnhart will accept the Rawlings Gold Glove Award as the National League’s best defensive catcher before a regular-season home game. The Brownsburg, Indiana native became the third Reds catcher to...
Junior college guard commits to Dayton
Junior college guard commits to Dayton

Jhery Matos, a 6-foot-6 guard from Monroe College, a junior college in Bronx, N.Y., announced his verbal commitment to the Dayton Flyers on Sunday, one day after visiting campus and sitting behind the bench during a game against Fordham at UD Arena. Matos is a native of the Dominican Republic. He has two years of eligibility remaining. Matos made his...
More Stories