Claude Woodruff, Jr.

Coach – Winter Park Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2011

claude-woodruff-jrWoodruff, Jr. was marked by an insatiable desire to be the best coach he could be. His first love was to develop young men in character, honor, humility, and toughness. The venue he chose was coaching on the gridirons of Florida’s high schools from 1952 to 1987.

At Winter Park, Coach Woodruff’s philosophy in working with freshmen and sophomores on the Junior Varsity football team was embedded in teaching the principles of blocking and tackling. He was a teacher of young men with raw football potential who ultimately became heroes of the game. For years after his tenure at Winter Park, he reminisced over his success in coaching outstanding young boys who went on to become great men of our society.

Coach Woodruff loved his players. They were his boys, and he adored them. The annual picnic at the Woodruff Ranch every spring was anticipated by all. The football teams of the 60s under Coach Woodruff worked hard and played hard.

Coach Woodruff passed away in June of 2009 after having coached 16 players into the National Football League and being enshrined in the Florida A&M University Sports Hall of Fame. He was married to Dr. Minnie Boyer Woodruff of Winter Park for forty-three years. The couples daughters are Dr. Conchita Woodruff Johnson of Tulsa Oklahoma, Dr. Edythe Woodruff Stewart of Fresno California, and Gaylon Woodruff Moore (WPHS 1973).

Ronnie Moore, one of Coach Woodruff’s boys, says, “I believe that Coach Woodruff’s contribution to the WPHS athletic program was priceless in that he instilled the fundamentals that were needed to enhance the football program. His talent lay in making the students focus on ability, not race, in a time when that was not the norm. He demanded hard work and expected excellence!”