Fourteen years have passed since we first sat at Snow Hall and learned that the 1st Battalion of the 158th Field Artillery regiment was being called up for service in Iraq. A lot has changed during that time, so let's take some time to catch up, this time with FDC Chiefs manager Stephen Pennington.
Are you still in the 158? If, not when did you get out?
PENNINGTON: No, I left the 158 at the end of September 2017 when I was hired on to AGR as a recruiter.
What did you do post-deployment?
PENNINGTON: After the 08-09 deployment to Iraq, I got on some Operation Warrior Training orders for a year helping train up units about to deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan. After that, I spent a couple years plumbing and a couple more in IT until I deployed to Afghanistan in 2014. Following that deployment, I went back to plumbing for a couple years until I ended up in AGR (recruiting for the Oklahoma National Guard).
Where are your from and how did you make it into the 158?
PENNINGTON: I was born and raised in Lawton, Oklahoma. I actually planned on joining the Marines. I went through the entire process down to picking my job and swearing in. Then I decided I wanted to think about my options. I ended up going with the National Guard for the college benefits and the fact that I could start school right away rather than waiting until I got out. I ended up in field artillery for a $10,000 bonus and the G.I. Bill kicker.
Where do you live now?
PENNINGTON: I still live in Lawton. I know, boring, but we like it here and have a lot of family in the area.
What are your hobbies outside of FF?
PENNINGTON: Did I mention I’m a recruiter? Not a lot of time for hobbies. But, when I do have time, I enjoy taking my daughter Harleigh fishing and going out to the movies with my wife, Michelle.
What is your fantasy background? How long have you played FF? How many different leagues?
PENNINGTON: I started playing in 2008. I was bored in Fort Hood during mobilization and drafted a team on CBS Sports. I’ve played in at least one league every year since then on multiple platforms, sometimes up to 10 in a year. I really cannot say how many. I wish they were all on Yahoo so I could track it easier.
How many championships have you won? How many have you finished second in?
PENNINGTON: Again, I played a lot on ESPN, CBS, and NFL before and after coming to Yahoo, and I do not have or remember all of those stats. But, on Yahoo, I have one first-place trophy and six second-place trophies.
What is your general strategy in FF?
PENNINGTON: I typically use the first five to seven rounds on RB/WR and then get a couple late round QBs and TEs. Defense and kicker are always the last two picks.
How much preparation do you do before each season?
PENNINGTON: All of it.
Do you find you draft better at the cabin with the guys or at home online?
PENNINGTON: On the road in a HMMWV isn’t an option? I guess I’ll go with the cabin.
Will you be at the draft cabin next year?
What is the best move you've made in FF?
PENNINGTON: 1. Not drafting Michael Vick in 2011; 2. Drafting Travis Kelce in 2014; 3. Picking up Tyreek Hill off of waivers in 2016.
What is your favorite FF memory? What is the pinnacle of your FF career?
PENNINGTON: My favorite memory is winning a game by less than a point thanks to a Monday Night Miracle. Got the edge from an interception to close out the game.
My pinnacle will be winning the Liberty Bowl, which I haven’t reached yet.