Nickname of Coach Woodrow “Wood” Newton (Burt Reynolds) on the sitcom EVENING SHADE/CBS/1990-94. He earned the nickname “Clutch” (jersey #22) when he played pro quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers. When Wood played football for Evening Shade High School he earned the nickname “Thumper” (jersey #37).


Woodrow is a graduate of the University of Arkansas. He returned to his hometown to become the high school P.E. teacher and coach for the The Mules who were on a losing streak.

Wood and his wife, Ava [née Evans] live at 2102 Willow Lane in the town of Evening Shade, Arkansas. Ava is 33-years-old and a prosecuting attorney. In her pre-teen days she was overweight and nicknamed “Chubby Evans.”

Now married 16 years, Wood and Eva share their home with their four children: Taylor, a 15 year-old who attends Evening Shade High; Molly, an 11-year-old who attends Evening Shade Elementary School; Will, a 4-year-old; and baby Emily Frieda who was born 5/6/91 despite Wood’s vasectomy. Brownie is the name of their family dog. [Carl the mule is the high school team mascot.]

The Newton’s friends are Ponder Blue, the philosophical owner of a local rib joint named Blue’s Barbeque Villa; Dr. Harlan Elldridge, the town’s cranky physician and a member of the Civil War Society; Merleen Elldridge, his sexy wife; Evan Evans, Ava’s father, the publisher of The Argus, the town’s newspaper [Evan still holds a grudge against Wood for marrying his daughter when she was only 18 and he was thirty]; Frieda Evans, Eva’s outspoken aunt; Fontana Beausoleil, Evan’s new wife, a dimwitted stripper who likes to run naked [she discovers Merleen is her mother who had given her up for adoption]; Herman Stiles, a wimpy math teacher who works as Wood‘s assistant football coach; and Nub Oliver, a slow-witted newspaper delivery man who pulls around a little wagon nicknamed “Chariots of Fire.”

Some Evening Shade Highlights

  • Wood discovers his most celebrated high school touchdown catch was actually out of bounds while reviewing old game footage.
  • Wood’s high school flame, Becky Kincaid Winstead returns for his 30th reunion and causes some jealous moments.
  • Two talented teenage girls (Yvonne and Yvette) want to join The Mules football Team. The women in town vote “Yes” and the men vote “No!”
  • Ava goes into labor while Terry Bradshaw delivers a speech at the Booster Club Sports. The baby’s umbilical cord is wrapped around its throat so Emily Frieda must be born via a Caesarian.
  • The Mules 57-game losing streak is broken on 4/3/93.
  • Wood becomes Mayor of Evening Shade in 1994.

Note: Another “Clutch” character on TV was “Clutch Cargo” (voiced by Richard Cotting), a rugged, muscular writer with white hair who flew a plane around the world on dangerous assignments on the five-minute serialized animated adventure CLUTCH CARGO/SYN/1959-1960.


His sidekicks included, a young boy named Spinner (voiced by Margaret Kerry), the boy’s pet Dachsund, Paddlefoot, and Swampy (voiced by Hal Smith), Clutch’s crusty friend who wore a pith helmet.

The program featured a unique form of animation that used actual footage of moving human lips superimposed over the face of the cartoon characters to simulate speaking.



Born in Philadelphia, Jerome Alphonse Holst worked 30 years as a librarian. He has since retired and lives in Greensboro, North Carolina. Mr. Holst is also the author of the children’s books “Norman the Troll,” "Norman the Troll and the Haunted House," and "Gretchen and the Gremlins." In addition, he penned the fantasy novel “The Adventures of Glinda Gale,” a retelling of “The Wizard of Oz" and the reference text “The Encyclopedia of Movie and TV Insults.” .

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