Chuck Winters Overcame Childhood Of Violence To Star At Michigan


Before I reached out to Chuck Winters for a featured interview, I wanted to make sure I understood the backstory. I remembered Winters being removed from the football team in his final season (1996) for assault, but I knew there was more to it than that. My good friend, and longtime U-M academic advisor, Shelly Kovacs filled me in. 

Growing up, Winters experienced domestic violence firsthand, watching as his stepfather viciously beat his mother. Despite these incredibly horrific circumstances, Winters found success on the football field, starring as a running back at Detroit St. Martin DePorres and earned a scholarship to Michigan in 1992. 

He redshirted and then switched to defense, where he started all 12 games at safety in 1993, then nine in 1994 and seven in 1995. 

During most of his college career, Winters' step dad was in his prison but he was released during his senior season, and a frantic call from Winters' brother - that their mom had been beaten again - changed everything. 

Winters rushed from Ann Arbor to Detroit and confronted his stepfather. His brother had handed Winters a baseball bat and seeing his mother bleeding, Winters had had enough, striking his stepdad over and over again, the man eventually falling into a coma.

While the courts decided the legal case (he would eventually serve probation)  Michigan coach Lloyd Carr removed Winters from the team. That could have been the end of his story, but Winters was determined to do right by himself and his family. And he has.