Sorry I didn’t post a story last Thursday. I tried to line up enough guys in advance so I wouldn’t run out of subjects but summer plans take over and guys have obligations far more important than answering my questions. I have an idea for next week’s entry, but that’ll probably be it for the year since fall camp starts and OT season officially ends. We’ll see how it goes with the remaining responses I’m waiting on.
Previously: Clay Miller Tim Williams Mike Dames David Key Mike Reinhold
If I told you Harbaugh just beat out MSU and OSU for a 6’ 5” 4-star defensive tackle out of Ohio who could run like a rabbit, you’d probably be reading daily tweets and threads about this new star recruit. But if I also told you he weighed 213 pounds, you’d either think it was a typo or something was wrong. 213 pound defensive tackles don’t exist. Not good ones, anyway. Well, it wasn’t a typo, and it’s exactly what Bo did. He snagged one of the best out of Ohio, and when heard that he landed the "skinny minny" from Dayton, he ran up and down the halls of the coach’s offices like he just won the lottery.
Brent White grew up in Dayton Ohio. He was a highly recruited athlete who was heavily pursued by his home state Buckeyes and George Perles’ Michigan State Spartans, among others. As the intensity of recruiting amped up, Brent and his family were feeling the pressure every day. Coaches would call the house or drop by the school, classmates would throw in their two cents, and co-workers of his parents would ask every day, “Where’s Brent going to school?” As you can imagine, it got to be a little too much.
All of the schools provided excellent opportunities and first class educations (some more than others, of course). It was going to be a tough decision. Brent always sort of assumed he'd end up at Ohio State. It was a good school, great football tradition, and close enough for all his friends and family to see him play.
The pressure from everyone got to the point where Brent asked all the schools to take a step back for two weeks so he could gather his thoughts, talk it over with his family and make a choice. His dad fielded all the calls and acted as a buffer between Brent and the suitors. Despite his pleas, coaches from every school disregarded Brent’s wishes and continued to call. Every school except one. The only time Michigan called was when Mr. White requested a call on a specific day at a specific time. Sure enough, Bo dialed the phone at the exact moment. He didn’t speak to Brent. He only talked to dad to see how everyone was holding up. It was cordial, polite, respectful, and most of all, sincere. As Mr. White spoke to Bo, Brent asked if he could ask some questions of the old man. Bo obliged and the two had an excellent conversation about what Michigan could offer in terms of academics and life after football.
A couple days later, a snow storm would shut down schools in Dayton for the day. Brent woke up and had come to a decision. He phoned the two other schools that were finalists to thank them for their interest but he was choosing another school. One of the coaches wished him well while the other spouted off something about being able to do more for Brent than any other school and blah blah blah disrespekt. Brent then called the Michigan coaches office to inform him of his decision. Longtime executive assistant (and greatest lady of Michigan football) Mary Passink answered the phone and immediately recognized the caller. “Hi Brent!” (this was before caller ID). Mary got Bo on the line and Brent asked, “Do you still want me?” to which Bo replied, “Can I still get you?” When Bo got his answer he set the phone down and went up and down the coach’s hallway hootin and hollering to all the other coaches that they landed Brent White. It was one of those moments a person never, ever forgets.
There was one coach who was slightly less enthused about the new addition to the family. Speed, skill, technique, number of tackles, TFLs, sacks….. none of that matter to this guy as much as one glaring number: 213. Mike Gittleson was beside himself. A 213 pound defensive lineman? “Are you *&^%$#@ kidding me?” Mike didn’t wait until Brent got on campus before he launched into his crusade. He unloaded both barrels on him when he came for his official visit. “Who the hell are you? How can you possibly think you’re able to play in the Big 10? I’ve seen skeletons with more meat on them.” Mike Gittleson was an intimidating guy. To this day he scares the hell out of me. He could be a fun guy to be around after workouts but when it was time to go to work, that dude was all business. You did not want to be on his wrong side unless you enjoyed puking and being wobbly. Brent White was gonna be Mike’s pet project for the next 5 years.
Once Brent was on campus, Mike would stalk him before and after every practice. He’d wait for him outside the football building in his old, restored pickup truck. As we’d leave the building we’d warn Brent to take a side door to avoid Gittleson, who was ready to pounce. It was to no avail. As we came out the door, Mike would bark at Brent to “get in” and then he’d launch into another tirade about not gaining weight. I’m telling you, man, it was relentless. (If I’m being 100% honest, a weaker man probably would have quit).
Brent was able to find his way and slowly gain the necessary muscle and weight to be effective. His first game action was on special teams against Notre Dame. He was amped up to make a play. He was what they used to call the “wedge buster”. He came flying down the field and split two would-be blockers and made a bee line for Tim Brown. Brent’s eyes lit up as he put the cross-hairs on the eventual Heisman winner. As his adrenaline rose and the gap closed, White prepared for impact. Unfortunately, Brown was just a little more shifty and he was able to easily slip the tackle of the out-of-control gunner. The result was a 35 yard return for the Irish. The next day, as Bo reviewed the special team’s film, he scolded his young ham-and-egger for not knowing how to run properly. “You’d have done more good standing on the sideline.”
In the summer between his sophomore and junior year, Brent suffered a horrible accident while driving home from teammate and close friend, Matt McCoy’s house (RIP). It was late, and an old lady ran a red light and broadsided his car. As Brent woke up from emergency surgery, Bo stood over him with that glaring look. “Nothing good ever happens after 10 o’clock.” Brent tried to explain but Bo wasn’t keen to hear what happened late at night. After some sincere pleading and a few choice words, Bo was able to come around and find that compassion that he’s become famous for. He told Brent they’d get through it together and get him back on the field.
Over the course of his career at Michigan, Brent would be a part of 3 Big Ten Champion teams, 3 Rose Bowls, 3 Top 10 finishes, and ultimately become an 11th round draft pick of the Chicago Bears. The team would go a combined 48-11-2. He would graduate with a degree in Sports Management and Communications while trying his hand at pro football. After a training camp cut from the Bears, he went to Barcelona Spain where he led the Dragons in tackles for loss and sacks. He was signed by the Kansas City Chiefs (and reunited with former Wolverine teammates Mike Evans and Erick Anderson) but was cut after training camp again. From there he hooked up with the CFL expansion Sacramento Goldminers, then finished his football career in the Arena League with the San Jose SaberCats. Following football, he remained in northern California to take care of his young family.
He’s got two great kids with his ex-wife whom he still shares a strong relationship with. His daughter is one of those “left brain” types who enjoys art, music, and singing. She has a wonderful voice and performs with an ensemble that sings at various venues. She’s also taking guitar lessons.
His son is playing football at the junior college level, where he’s become a heck of a running back. He doesn’t have his dad’s size but he certainly has the talent and speed. Brent has coached football ever since he stopped playing. Although, not making it in the NFL was a little disappointing, he had an opportunity to suit up next to some of his childhoold idols – guys from the Super Bowl Champion 85 Bears who were still with the team when he got drafted in 1990.
Brent still resides in California where he recently took a position with a pharmaceutical device manufacturer. His experience at Michigan and beyond taught him how to effectively interact with people of different skill and communication levels. Everyone who ever played for Bo remembers his uncanny knack for dealing with different players from different backgrounds. One minute, he could help a freshman from the inner city, and the next, have a rip roaring conversation with a millionaire businessman from New York City. You can’t help but take certain things away from that.
Brent tells one particular story that he’s never forgotten and even made it part of his senior speech. While he was recovering from his surgery, he had to crutch on over to the stadium on game day from the training room at the practice facility. Back in those days, the stadium locker room was super small and cramped. There really wasn’t enough room for all the guys on the team. To help alleviate the cramp, some of the walk ons had to dress over at the practice facility and walked to the stadium. One of those guys was defensive back, Mark Gutzwiller. Mark was probably one of the smallest guys on the team -even some of the kickers were bigger. Anyway, while fans heaped encouraging words on the hobbled Brent, they weren’t quite so kind to short little kid walking over to the stadium in full gear. Some fans can be so goddamn cruel. They have no idea how much effort, toughness, and resolve it takes to go to practice every day against some of the best college players in the country, knowing you’re going to lose nearly every single battle, receive little to no recognition, AND pay for the privilege to do it. It takes a special person to do that.
As they reached the stadium, Brent asked Gutz if that happened often. With glassy eyes, Mark replied, “Every. Single. Time.”
That stuck with Brent for the remainder of his career. He apologized on behalf of those “fans” and vowed to use that experience as a learning lesson to never take anything for granted. “You don’t see the struggles of others until it hits you right in the face.”
That walk to the stadium still hits Brent right in his soul. Unless you see it in person, you’d never understand what each man goes through. Brent says that still inspires him. Think about that for a second. Few, if any, fans remember who Mark Gutzweiler is, yet here’s a heralded recruit and multi-year starter who was drafted by the Bears that still credits him for keeping him grounded and humble 25 years later.
There were a lot of other people Brent wishes to acknowledge. Coaches and teammates who helped keep his feet planted firmly on the ground while never taking anything for granted and always putting the team first. First and foremost is the late Matt McCoy. He and his family took Brent in while he recovered from his surgery. They were family and Matt was like a brother. Sadly, Matt was taken way too early from Lymphatic Cancer. There's also 3 other important people in Brent's life who left this earth entirely too soon: Billy Harris, Trey Walker, and Vada Murray. Brent thinks of those 4 often.
Gerald "G" White took Brent under his wing as a young kid trying to find his way. JJ Grant, Bobby Abrams, Jeff Brown, Anthony Mitchell, Rick Hassell, Mike Hammerstein, TJ Osman, Tim Williams, Alex Marshall, and Warde Manuel. All close friends to this day, and all great Michigan Men who helped this skinny kid from Dayton Ohio become one of the Leaders and Best.
Those who stay…..
Brent played from 1985 to 1989 and wore #88
His favorite restaurant was Cottage Inn Pizza. I suspect it was because we used to get coupons for every Friday and Saturday night dinner because training table was closed.
The best dish he makes Chicken Spaghetti and chili.
Obviously he would let his son play football since he’s a defensive back for Sacramento City College. Thanfully the only inuries so far have been an ankle and a hand.
Front: Warde Manuel, Mike Teeter
Back: Brent, Mark Messner, John Hermann, Billy Harris, Dave Folkersma, Jack Walker
Trey Walker and Matt McCoy. Rest in Peace, fellas.
Jehu Chesson had an outstanding Citrus Bowl, torching Vernon Hargreaves several times throughout the game and looking like a future Biletnikoff winner and first-round NFL pick.
But somehow, somewhere, in the course of that game, Chesson also suffered an injury that apparently still lingers nearly nine months later.
I have found the play where his injury occurs. It was on a blocking assignment, which is perhaps why it wasn't immediately obvious during or after the game.
If you watch the Citrus Bowl from 1:29:22, you'll start at Chesson's 47-yard post route catch against Hargreaves. On the very next play, Chesson lines up wide to the right and his blocking assignment is Hargreaves.
The play takes the camera away from Chesson's side of the field, but you can see him spring into his block and then do a hop.
As he comes off the field, Harbaugh looks at him and says "Cramp? Did you get a cramp?"
The broadcast then makes note of Chesson on the sideline. He's walking on two feet, but something clearly feels weird. Chesson does not take the field again after that play.
At Signing of the Stars, almost exactly one month later, Chesson was on crutches.
He was not at full strength (obviously) at the start of spring practice, and by some account did not participate at all but Harbaugh said he competed with Darboh all spring for the role of top receiver.
In March, Chesson was off crutches and in a brace fielding darts from the Juggs machine.
He still wasn't practicing at the end of March.
Then there was no news for three months.
Asked if Chesson has been a full participant in voluntary offseason 7 on 7 drills, Michigan corner Jourdan Lewis says he's been able to do some things.
"He's doing a little something," Lewis said. "He's still trying to rehab. But he's still fast, if that's what (people) are worried about. But he's going out there and running those routes with us now."
But at the August 3 Jumpman press conference, Harbaugh was noncommital about Chesson's status to begin camp.
Some educated guesses:
1. The injury was to his knee (as opposed to foot or ankle).
2. It was not a devastating, Marcus Lattimore-type injury.
3. Chesson is in the submarine.
Hopefully the prognosis is full strength by the end of the nonconference schedule, at the latest.
I hope this is diary-worthy. It took some time! Angelique has published a story about Hackett’s interest in reviving the old 4 and what inspired him to do so, here: Detroit News
Design inspiration for the Michigan numerals was fashioned after the typography found on Michigan’s football uniforms from the mid-1930s and worn by the likes of Gerald Ford. The collegiate style* features unique serifs and angles that reference Michigan’s proud history, while remaining true to the Valiant font.
My earliest Michigan memories are of Bo Schembechler coached teams that featured the likes of Rob Lytle and Rick Leach. I was a running back on a below average high school football team and would lay in bed at night and dream of running back kick offs for the Maize and Blue. I knew I had no chance of ever playing for Bo. I was undersized and slow, but lying in bed with my Michigan fantasies on Thursday nights provided extra motivation to try that much harder on Friday nights playing for my home town team. I have continued following the Wolverines since the early 70s but my best memories are of the last 10 years sharing the games with my little brother.
My brother and I were not close growing up. Probably due to the 6 year difference in our age. We were both born in Southeast Michigan but moved to Georgia when I was 13 and he was 7. For a middle school kid getting ready to take on the excitement of high school, I didn't take time to bond with my elementary school brother.
I left home right out of high school before my 18th birthday. He was 11 at the time. I was young, independent and just wanted to get away from my strict, conservative christian parents. This meant I only saw my brother on his birthday, Thanksgiving and Christmas. The years went by and as he grew into adulthood I continued on my own track. Jobs, family, kids our own and living in different parts of the south kept us from really bonding until about 10 years ago.
It was around 2005 when we were living in the same area of N. GA that my brother and I bagan getting together every fall Saturday to watch Michigan football together. He had also been a diehard Wolverine fan all his life. It was our love for the team that brought us together and was the foundation for the strong bond between us. Together we shared the passing of Bo, the end of the Lloyd Carr era, the ups and downs of the coaching changes since 2007 and the unbridled excitement of the beginning of the Harbaugh era. We had an unspoken agreement. If Michigan was playing football, we were going to watch the game together.
We had our crazy traditions too. Of course we were always decked out in our Michigan jerseys and caps, the Michigan blanket would be draped over the couch and the Michigan bobble head would be on the table in front of us. Our drinks were always wrapped in Michigan coozies and sitting on Michigan coasters. At the kickoff of every game, we would raise our beers high and as the ball was kicked would yell "GOOOOOOOOO BLUUUUUUUUUE!!!!" at the tops of our lungs until the ball came down into the returners hands. We high fived every big play and for the exceptional BIG plays, broke out the double high five. If we had a particularly poor first half, we would have to change something up at halftime. Change a jersey, cap or reposition some of the Michigan gear we kept around us. During late drives fo close games, we would wiggle our spirit fingers at the TV, rub the bobble head, toast to every little positive play for our side or call for our favorite player to make the next big play. After a disheartening loss (such as the game never to be mentioned that occured last October), we would be known to crumple to the floor in front of the TV and not so much as speak to each other again until the following Saturday when the excitement and comradery would begin anew.
It was November, 2015 that he received the diagnosis. It was already stage IV. He underwent the treatments all while continuing to run his own business. He worked hard and he fought harder. Fought like a true Wolverine, but this was one opponent he could not beat. I lost my brother on July 6, 2016.
I had been so looking forward to watching team 137 and their march to a National Championship. A part of my brother will still be there with me but this year it will just be his picture, a Michigan urn and a tribute bottle of Budweiser sitting beside me. I'll still watch the games but somehow I know some of the joy will be lost. I am grateful that it was Michigan football that brought us together but that opening kickoff of each game will just never be the same again.
To my brother Ken, January, 1970 - July 2016; GOOOOOOOOOO BLUUUUUUUUUUE!!!!!
This is the 5th installment of my TBT series where I catch up with former players to ask them about their recruitment and playing days at Michigan.
You want the most “Bo” story you’ll ever read? Here goes.
This next guy was a redshirt freshman when he saw his first game action on special teams in a game on the road against Washington. We were ranked in the top 10 and playing the 16th ranked Huskies. Our boy was playing guard on the punt team. One of the things we were coached to do on punt team was to point out exactly who you were blocking and yell it to the guy next to you and to the upback behind you. So, he points to a man and screams out his number. As the ball’s snapped, he inexplicably blocks the wrong man. The guy comes through the line and damn near blocks the punt.
During film sessions on Sunday evenings, we’d gather in the team room and Bo would talk about the game, discuss what we needed to work on, hand out some awards, then review special teams film with the whole team and all the coaches. The room is dark, Bo’s sitting in the front with his long wood pointer, breaking down each play as he runs it backwards and forwards. Bo took special teams extremely seriously. He knew it could be the difference between a win and a loss and he’d be damned if he was going to let that happen. That’s why we worked on it every day, and every man on every special teams unit was approved by Bo.
When the film played this particular punt play and the guy came through the line unblocked, Bo came unglued. He stopped the film, flipped on the lights, and barked out, “Who is this man?” as he smacks the screen with his pointer. Mike was sitting in the back of the room with the rest of the freshman and the assistant coaches standing behind them, against the back wall. He raised his hand.
“Stand up, son.”
“What the hell were you thinking?”
This is the absolute last place on earth you want to be; standing in front of the entire team with Bo asking you a question that has no right answer. The naïve 2nd year player responded with “I don’t know”.
Oooof. Wrong answer.
“WHAT? Are you shitting me? What do you mean ‘you don’t know’? How do we have a guy who doesn’t know what he’s doing on the punt team? HOW DO WE HAVE A GUY WHO DOESN’T KNOW WHAT HE’S DOING ON THE PUNT TEAM?!?”
Bo pauses and stares at Mike as the rest of the room sits in a deathly silence. Mike builds up the courage to take a breath, thinking the worst is over.
“Reinhold, you have to be the dumbest player in the country. I want to know who recruited this son of a bitch. That coach has to be the dumbest SOB in America. Whoever recruited him is fired.”
Bo turns around, sits in his chair, barks “hit the lights” and continues breaking down the rest of the film.
Mike Reinhold grew up in Muskegon where he helped Muskegon Catholic Central win the 1980 Class B football title. His dad fostered his love for Michigan football when he took him to his first game at six years old. The young wannabe football player was in awe of the helmets, the fans, and the greatest fight song he'd ever heard. He knew right then he wanted to be a Michigan Wolverine. When he returned to school the following Monday, he told everyone who would listen that he was going to play for Michigan.
There was one guy who tried to derail those plans though: former Michigan State Spartan All-American and 3-time Super Bowl Champ Earl Morrall. Earl and Mike’s dad were best friends growing up. Each time Earl visited the Reinholds, he'd tried to sell Mike on the Spartans. Mike was always respectful and had great admiration for his dad's lifelong friend, but when he left, Mike's thoughts always returned to the Maize and Blue.
One day, word got back to Bo that Mike had committed to the Spartans. Bo called Mike's dad at work and told him, “Get your ass home and talk some sense into that kid, would you?” And Mr. Reinhold did just that. He drove home and straightened his boy out. Although, there really wasn't anything to straighten. Mike didn't commit to MSU. It was all a misunderstanding.
Soon after, Mike and his dad took a visit to Ann Arbor. In Bo’s office, the two men lit up cigars to celebrate the young Reinhold's commitment to Michigan. For a couple guys who loved Michigan, sitting in the office, smoking a cigar with Bo was the greatest day ever! Mr. Reinhold kept the the band to that very cigar for the remainder of his life. Today, Reiny keeps it in his top dresser drawer as a reminder of his dad, Bo, and the best decision he ever made.
On that same visit, Bo and Mike stood in the press box at the stadium and Bo made two promises. “Number 1, you’re gonna get your ass kicked every day for an entire year. Number 2, you come to me as a kid, but you’ll leave here as a man.” Mike had no idea how right Bo was.
Eight weeks after the blown punt in the Washington game, Michigan visited the Metrodome in Minneapolis for a night game against the Golden Gophers. It was the 4th quarter and Minnesota was getting clobbered. Mike was at linebacker when the Gophers attempted a screen pass to his right. He dropped back into his zone, and then reacted to the play. As he stopped to change direction to his right, his foot got caught in the turf. He stumbled while trying to regain his balance. At the same moment, a wide receiver came at him for a crack back block. He threw his whole body at Mike's leg that was stuck in the turf. SNAP! Mike went down. He could tell by the look on the other player’s faces that it was serious. His right leg was crossed over his left, but not at the knee. He shattered his femur. An ambulance came onto the field and rushed him to the hospital. There, they cut off his uniform and immediately began drilling a steel rod into his shin bone. Mike was in shock but he watched as doctors passed the rod right through his lower leg. After that, he was put under anesthetics and had two more rods inserted – one right through the center of his femur and the other drilled perpendicular through the leg to hold the long one in place. That was Novermber 12, 1983. He’d spend nearly a month in the hospital recovering. His leg swelled up to triple its normal size and the pain was excruciating. As you can imagine, it was the worst day of his young life. He wondered if he'd ever use his leg again, no less play football.
Michigan fans who had watched the game and saw the gruesome injury drove to the hospital on Thanksgiving night to drop off turkey dinner for him. We had just beat Ohio State the previous Saturday and were slated to play Bo JAckson and the Auburn Tigers in the Sugar Bowl. It was a good day in that far away Minnesota hospital room. And as Mike recalls, it was those people's kindness and compassion that helped him get through the days.
When he returned to campus, he was down 45 pounds so he’d wear two sweatshirts to training table just so he wouldn’t look so skinny. He used to bench 350 pounds. Now he couldn’t lift 135. He wasn't sure he'd ever play football again.
For the next year and a half, he rehabbed and had surgery to remove two of the rods (the 21” long one in the center of the femur remained). He swam, biked, lifted, ate right, and got his ass kicked by Mike Gittleson every day. He was determined to come back.
In the summer of ’84 while hanging with friends back home in Muskegon, his buddies started to ask if he'd ever make it back to the field. He was doing everything he could, but this was a tough injury to come back from. And he still had a rod in his leg. All of it just got to be too much. He went home and sat in his room, thinking about what was and what might be. At 3am, he went for a run. A long run. All along the way he smacked every overhead sign and mailbox he came across. He jumped, cut, skipped, shuffled, and every other move to test out his leg. When he made it home, he was convinced he could do it. He could play football again.
The next step was convincing the doctors to remove the rod in his leg. Eventually they did, and when the surgery was complete, the steel rod came out bent.
In the spring of ’85, Reiny was back. He was in pads and ready to participate in spring ball. However, his days as a linebacker were over. He was moving to noseguard, splitting duty with the talented Billy Harris (RIP). Mike had to learn a new position, new techniques, and new responsibilities but none of that mattered. He was back on the field with his teammates. I’ll never forget one of his first days at Nose when he came off the field at a practice in the stadium and said, “Playing nose is like going to a party every day that you aren’t invited to.” (I used that line countless times whenever I talked to a player who wanted to play noseguard for me when I was coaching).
Obviously 1985 was a special year for Mike. He was playing again, his leg was holding up, and our defense was kicking everybody's ass. We didn’t allow a touchdown in the first 6 games. The only ones we did give up before the Ohio State game were late game, garbage time scores against the 2nd and 3rd stringers. Well after he had retired, Bo would proclaim the 1985 defense as the best unit he ever had.
(Last week, MGoBoard member Dr. Sap made a post titled “The Longest Goal Line Stand Ever”. It features Mike prominently. You should definitely check it out if you haven't already.)
We ended the season with a big win against Nebraska in the Fiesta Bowl, and Mike had one of his best games ever as a Wolverine. With the Huskers trailing on their final possession, Mike came through the line and had a clear shot at a game-clinching sack on freshman QB Steve Taylor. But Taylor was too slippery, and he dodged the oncoming rush. The pressure, however, was enough to force an errant throw that landed in the hands of Garland Rivers. Game over. Michigan won 27-23 and finished ranked #2 in the country.
For 3 years, one of Mike’s roommate was some guy you might’ve heard of, former QB Jim Harbaugh. He says he could write a book chronicling their days in Ann Arbor. (I’m sure most of their free time was spent in the library and occasionally at church). Reiny also roomed with Clay Miller, Brad Cochran, Paul Jokish, Paul Schmerge, Ricker Peterson, Jerry Quaerna, Jim Scarcelli, and Jack Walker. All guys he keeps in touch with today. He also keeps in touch with Deiter Heren and Mike “Moose” Kraus. Mike recalls a particularly memorable play against Michigan State when Moose – an offensive guard - was on the backside of a sweep play going the other way. Nobody paid much attention until the whiste blew, and there was Kraus, 10 yards behind the play, throwing haymakers on a helpless Spartan he just obliterated. The sideline erupted in laughter and cheers as Bo glared from the sidelines while flags flew from every ref on the field.
Mike’s 5th year (1986) was plagued by more injuries, twice rupturing his Achilles and needing to have his kidney removed. Those surgeries would linger and wreak havoc on his life for years following graduation. Since his playing days, he's had knee surgery and 3 neck surgeries. And in 2006 while attending a game at the Big House, Mike needed immediate medical attention and was rushed to UofM hospital. While in the hospital, Bo and his wife Cathy visited. Bo hadn’t seen his former noseguard in 15 years but he never forgot a player and is known for being there when one of his own needed him most. Bo stood at Mike’s bedside and comforted him. They shared some laughs, talked about the time he and his dad smoked a cigar in his office, and asked, “if he could, would he do it all again?” Without hesitation, Mike said "yes". Bo looked at Cathy and said, “What did I tell you? To a man……”
Six weeks later, Bo was gone.
Mike has 3 adult kids now. His oldest is in Tuscon AZ finishing his CPA certification. His next son is in Chicago working in finance. And his daughter is a hell of a pitcher for Grand Valley State University. All the kids were excellent students throughout high school and college.
It's Mike’s relationships with his former teammates, the dinners from the fans in that Minnesota hospital, and the visit from Bo and Cathy that serve as further affirmation that choosing Michigan wasn’t just the right decision. It was the only decision.
Those who stay….
Mike played from 1982-1986 and wore #45
His favorite restaurant in Ann Arbor is Gander Dancer and Bell's Pizza ("the best 2am meal EVER!")
The best dish he makes is Grandma Reinhold's Fried Chicken.
Yes he allowed his sons to play football. "The life lessons learned in the game far outweigh any risks. (And this is a man that knows a thing or two about the subject).
College football is now two years removed from a significant restructuring and – surprise – the specter of further conference realignment still lingers. With the creation of a four-team playoff and a hierarchy of five ostensibly equal power conferences, it was perhaps inevitable that one conference would consider itself at a disadvantage – and that conference is the Big 12. They were the big loser of the last round of realignment: Nebraska, Missouri, Texas A&M, and Colorado all found more stable homes in three separate conferences and the Big 12 added TCU (great on the football field, horrible on the hardwood) and West Virginia from mid-major leagues to compensate. They’re the only conference without a championship game, which is perceived to be a significant disadvantage. That they missed out on the playoff in one of the two years of its existence has driven them to question whether expansion might improve the league – though apparently immediate action is unlikely. However, it’s a pretty good bet that the Big 12 won’t exist in its current form in five years.
It’s worth noting that some of the different members of the conference have disparate goals (which isn’t the case in most other Power Five leagues). Texas is content with the present arrangement, which enriches itself with the lucrative (for Texas) Longhorn Network contract and effectively exists as the celestial body around which all others orbit in the Big 12. They and the other Texas schools are probably quite leery of Houston (arguably the best candidate for Big 12 expansion); promoting TCU to the Power 5 level has weakened its neighbors and with Tom Herman at the helm at UH, it’s easy to envision history repeating itself. Oklahoma isn’t happy with looking up at Texas in the Big 12 power structure but – perhaps because it’s saddled with Oklahoma State – can’t flee to the Pac-12 or SEC. West Virginia probably wants expansion to bring more geographically proximate foes into the league. Iowa State’s just happy (and a little confused) to be here.
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