By Mickey Furfari
For The Register-Herald
Paul Woodside was the greatest place-kicker — and most honored — in West Virginia University’s 120-year football history.
The Falls Church, Va., native was the first place-kicker to earn All-America first team status (The Sporting News, 1983, and Playboy Magazine, 1984), and he also received second–and third–team All-America honors.
Pat McAfee became the only other All-America place-kicker in 2008.
The 6-foot, 170-pound Woodside owns more records than any other Mountaineer kicker. Those include 74 field goals, 92 attempts, 101 PATs in 102 attempts and 323 points for his super four-year career.
“Woody”, as he was affectionately called, handled all of the place-kicking from 1981-84 as WVU posted records of 9-3, 9-3, 9-3, and 8-4. West Virginia also won three of its four bowl games during that span.
Woodside actually led the Mountaineers in scoring in 1983 with an even 100-points, which stands as a kicker’s record for one season.
He also still holds an NCAA mark for most field goals from inside 40 yards and percentage. In 1983, he kicked 23 consecutively in as many tries.
The marvelous Mountaineer was inducted into the WVU Sports Hall of Fame for his numerous achievements in 1999.
He came to the university as a walk-on, but coach Don Nehlen put him on grant-in-aid after the Peach Bowl win against Florida in 1981.
He had obviously seen enough to decide that Woodside deserved a full scholarship.
Woodside’s 55-yard field goal against Louisville in 1984 remains the school’s best for length. And a 53-yarder against Syracuse in 1983 ranks as the third-longest ever.
He also still owns the NCAA season record for most times kicking two or more field goals in a game with 10 as a sophomore in 1982.
Woodside not only is remembered for his prolific production of points with his powerful legs, but also for his accuracy. Too, he became known as somewhat of a jokester and a guy who painted patterns on his shoes.
Of all the field goals Woody made, perhaps the most significant and most memorable came in 1984. It was a 49-yarder in the fourth quarter of that 17-14 victory against Penn State.
“I remember that ‘beauty’ as if it were yesterday,” Woodside said. “We hadn’t beaten the Nittany Lions in 29 years.”
Paul and wife Teresa, who have been married for 28 years, now reside in Alexandria, Va. He has been an employee of United Parcel Service for 27 years.
But he still has found time to coach place-kicking and punting to high school, college, and even some booters in the NFL.
“It was fantastic for me to have been given the opportunity to kick for Coach Nehlen,” Woodside said. “All of us got along well with him.
“He was a great coach and a wonderful gentleman. I enjoyed every minute I was at West Virginia.”
Woodside still follows the Mountaineers closely in both football and basketball. He got his bachelor’s degree in sport management in 1986.
Coach Nehlen said this week, “Paul Woodside was something special. He came here as a walk-on and I put him on scholarship real quick.
“He proved to be a heck of a kicker. Everybody loved Woody.”