Presumably there are reasons for Dilweg's eclectic choices of summer jobs. He has worked at the Chicago Board of Trade and as a lifeguard on the Maryland shore. Last summer he and Jamie Thomas, his girlfriend of three years, came up with an idea for a swimsuit calendar. Girls of the Triangle, featuring bikini-clad women from Duke, North Carolina and North Carolina State. Dilweg and Thomas lined up advertisers and models. She posed as Miss May. In the evenings Dilweg worked as a vendor at the Durham Bulls minor league baseball games. Dressed in a Hawaiian shirt, striped pants and bandanna, he hawked peanuts by yelling, "Get your country-fried kiwi! Get your ice-cold sushi!" On good nights he made $50.
"A lot of Duke students asked me how I could stoop so low to take a job like that," Dilweg says. "How can people put restrictions on their lives?"
This fall Dilweg has lifted the restrictions on the Blue Devils, who haven't won more than six games in any season since 1962. (Duke's only consolation has been winning the College Football Association's Academic Achievement Award, given for having the nation's highest graduation rate among its football players, in three of the past nine years; since '79, 86% of the Blue Devils players have earned their degrees.)
Duke had struggled to a 13-31 record in four years under coach Steve Sloan; Steve Spurrier was given the job in January 1987. An erstwhile offensive coordinator at Duke and head coach of the USFL's Tampa Bay Bandits, as well as the '66 Heisman Trophy winner as Florida's quarterback, Spurrier is obsessed with the passing game. Legend has it that he once diagrammed a new pass play in a quarterback's oatmeal during a pregame breakfast. Last season the Blue Devils went 5-6 and suffered only one loss by a margin of more than seven points, a 42-17 thrashing at Virginia.
"If you make a mistake, he'll demand an explanation," says Dilweg of Spurrier. "He pushes and pushes and pushes, but it only makes you better."
On an early fall afternoon in Durham, Spurrier stops pushing for a moment when his wife, Jerri, appears at the Duke practice field with their 18-month-old son, Scotty. The child scampers over to his father and demands a kicking lesson. Soon he's darting around the sidelines, stopping to pose in a quarterback stance.
Dilweg laughs, remembering that he, too, was a physically precocious child, influenced by an athletically gifted family. His paternal grandfather, Lavvie Dilweg, was an All-America end at Marquette and a five-time All-Pro for the Green Bay Packers. His paternal grandmother, Eleanor Coleman, swam the breaststroke in the 1924 Olympics and later worked as a sportswriter and editor for the Wisconsin News.
Dilweg's father, Bob, who works as an advanced systems manager for Xerox, was a running back at both Marquette and William and Mary. When Anthony was eight years old, Bob signed him up for the national Punt, Pass and Kick competition. The next year he paid for weekly tutoring by the late Dick Johnson, a noted kicking coach, and when Anthony was 10, he finished third in the country among that age group.
"I tried to give Anthony what I hadn't gotten from my father," says Bob. "My father didn't really go out of his way to help me. I missed that. That, combined with having had three daughters before Anthony, well, I may have overdone it.
"I used to play catch with Anthony all the time. When he was nine or 10 years old, I would come home from work and say, 'Did you practice today?' And Anthony would say, 'No. I played soldiers in the backyard.' From his perspective, that's what a kid his age should've been doing."