What does it say about a philosophy when a professional football team halfway around the world, roughly 5,187 miles — or 8,348 kilometers if you’re using the metric system — comes calling to a Division III program like Pacific Lutheran University looking for talent?
What does it say about the person — Kellen Westering — when the team identifies him as the person it wants him to not only play, but to lead its youth and progress football in Germany and Europe?
And what does it say about a legacy, so ground-breaking in the way the thinking of one man — one family — that it reverberates throughout the football world?
It says a whole heck of a lot about Kellen Westering and the Westering family legacy that arose from PLU and the football team.
On Jan. 25, and after years of overcoming one injury after another, Westering signed with the Franken Knights in Rothenburg, Germany to be both a player for the Knights while also taking on coaching duties with the youth program associated with the team.
“I can’t wait to get out there and just experience what life is like in Germany, but for me, it’s an opportunity to make up for the football I lost while I was injured,” said Westering, the former Rogers Ram. “It’s a chance for me to have a few more years of playing that most guys don’t get the chance to have. It’s really a blessing.”
And Westering gets to pass along his grandfather Frosty Westering’s legacy.
“It’s the greatest compliment I could ever get,” Westering admitted. “We had that phrase ‘The legacy lives on.’ That’s just continuing my grandpa’s legacy. Not because it’s because I’m playing football because I’m trying to impress anybody. But I want to play the game because of what my grandpa taught me.”
“I want to honor the process,” he continued. “And people who have never met my grandpa ask, ‘What’s different about that Kellen guy?’ And people can say here’s a little about him: this why the way he is; this is why he plays the way he plays; this is why PLU football is so uncommon, because of Frosty. My dad (PLU coach Scott Westering) has done an amazing job. Think about having to take over PLU after his father. … He’s honored my grandfather (Frosty), and taking this leap to go over to Germany is honoring them both.”
When Westering signed, it wasn’t just about the fact he could help the team on and off the field with football knowledge.
It was because there was always something different about PLU football and how the program was run under Frosty, where the legendary coach wrote out his philosophy in his 1990 book “Make the Big Time Where You Are.”
That book, Westering said, and many of the Frosty-isms (“Attaway!”), and every unconventional method that was used that turned PLU into a national title-winning team was a major reason why the Franken Knights were drawn to the wide receiver.
They wanted a piece of the Westering philosophical pie.
“His mom (Susan) and I, our prayer this past season was for (Kellen) to just experience playing college football,” Scott said. “Regardless of how well he played, that was going to be the frosting on the cake — just to experience college football. Literally, he grew up around football, much less PLU football ... grew up all around this and with his grandfather.
“All that to say was for him to experience everything — with practice, and meetings, and hanging around the locker room. Flights and hotels and pre-games, all the stuff you experience with being with a team. We are so blessed with where he (Kellen) landed with Franken Knights in Rothenburg. Everybody we talked to that has been there said it was one of the most beautiful towns/villages in Germany. We’re very, very excited for him because it’s going to be a unique time and unique experience.”
An experience that people rarely get the chance to go through, and after years of overcoming injuries and uncertainty, Kellen has reached the big time.
“I truly felt like PLU was the big time for me, and with this chance, I feel it’s the big time, too,” Kellen said.
In the immortal words of Frosty Westering: Attaway, Kellen!