Laramie man wins world fantasy football title

By David Watson

Laramie Boomerang

Published: Thursday, Jan. 13 2011 12:00 a.m. MST

"I am shoveling my walk on Sunday morning and I see my phone ring," Windis said. "It had from New Haven, Conn.' on it. I thought, who the heck is calling me from New Haven? It was (ESPN radio host) Erik Kuselias.

"He said for anybody to walk out of that room with so many players paying that kind of money and then to win it, we are going to put you on the Fantasy Football Now show.

"The show lasts 1½ hours and he was trying to get in it. It was his last show because he is going to the Golf Channel. He said, from all sorts of players at the World Championship Of Fantasy Football, here's to Tony Windis.'

"It was something small, but I still have his voice message on my phone, which is really cool and will be on my phone for a while.

"It's weird because they are calling me to know what I did. Erik Kuselias is actually in this league. To see them on TV all the time and your name pop up on ESPN is crazy."

When the dust settled and all the playoff awards and final grand prize were tallied, Windis was $308,000 richer and proportionally humble.

"To be honest, I helped out my mom and paid off her credit card and car payment. She is 70, and if she wants to quit working now, she can," he said. "My life is pretty simple. I fish and golf, but there is a lot less stress about working with that kind of money."

Windis has lived in Laramie since graduating from the University of Wyoming in 1985. He has worked for a collection agency out of Colorado for the past 13 years and is currently a marketing director.

His father is Tony Windis Sr., who still lives in Rawlins and is a UW 1999 inductee of the Athletics Hall of Fame for leading the Cowboy basketball team in 1957-59. The three-time all-conference and two-time Player of the Year in the Rockies player still appears among the top of many school records for shooting and scoring.

His mom is Marilyn Wood, who lives in Laramie.

Windis lives with girlfriend, Karla McClaren, and her 7-year-old son, Jackson. McClaren will accompany Windis to the Super Bowl Feb. 6 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

"I get my trophy and check (a big cardboard check) during a ceremony the day before with Suzy Kolber (ESPN) presenting it to me," Windis said. "It's kind of crazy. There have only been nine world champions and you think about all those guys from Las Vegas, Atlantic City, N.J., or Reno, Nev., or bigger parts of the country.

"Then a guy from Laramie, Wyoming ends up winning it. It's overwhelming."

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