By David Fong
When asked to pick a favorite moment from his high school football career, Kris Dielman had hundreds to choose from.
He could have picked any one of his individual moments of glory — the helmet-cracking hits, the pancake blocks or the touchdown catches. True to form, however, Dielman didn’t go that route.
“My favorite memory is probably just winning games,” Dielman said. “More than anything, that’s what I’ll remember. In high school, I just thought you were supposed to win football games — it seemed like we always won football games. Lo and behold, then I go to Indiana and we never won football games. Heck, we only lost four games the entire time I was at Troy.
“Those were some of the most fun and special moments of my life — being in the locker room after a game with the music blaring after you just beat the (heck) out of somebody and celebrating with my teammates. It’s not easy winning football games at any level — high school, college or pro. You’ve got to put in a lot of work. But it’s all worth it when you win.”
That Dielman would select a team moment rather than an individual moment during his career at Troy probably comes as no surprise to anyone who watched him play. One of the most selfless — and intense — players in school history, Dielman made a habit of putting the team first when he played at Troy, Indiana University and for the NFL’s San Diego Chargers.
He started his football career at Troy at tight end. In Troy’s run-heavy offense, he didn’t get a chance to catch many passes, but still made a name for himself as a sophomore and junior as one of the most devastating blockers in school history. His senior year — with the Trojans sitting on an 0-2 record after going 20-0 the previous two regular seasons — Dielman started playing middle linebacker in addition to tight end.
His impact was immediately felt, as the Trojans went 8-0 to finish the season with him solidifying the defense. Dielman earned second team All-Ohio honors for his play at middle linebacker that season.
Following high school, Dielman went to Indiana, where he played tight end his first two seasons, earning All-Big Ten honors as a junior. His junior season, the team had a need at defensive tackle, so Dielman played primarily at defensive end and continued to moonlight at tight end, becoming one of the only two-way players in Division I college football. He again earned All-Big Ten honors his senior season.
Following his college career, Dielman went undrafted, but signed as a free agent with the Chargers. He was eventually moved to offensive guard, a position he had never played in his career. Despite his inexperience, Dielman excelled, quickly earning a starting role. In his NFL career, Dielman would earn five trips to the Pro Bowl and be selected to the Chargers’ 50th Anniversary Team.
“It all started in little Troy, Ohio,” Dielman said. “Troy will always be where my roots are. I had some of the best times of my life playing high school football.”