"The school says the policy is meant to provide a safer environment for the public while expediting fan entry into stadiums. Eastern Michigan also says it is consistent with similar policies at NFL stadiums."
Hahahahahahahahahahaha. Deep breath. Hahahahahahahaha.
New season, new wallpaper! In my previous Diary entry I talked about recreating Michigan's new font for use in wallpapers. Now, it's time to show off some of the fruits of my labor.
To start things off I have two schedule wallpapers. One is in the theme of the away uniforms and the other is in the theme of the home uniforms. The away games are highlighted in white, since that is the color of our awesome away pants.
The graphics at the top of both wallpapers are based off of designs from the new Jordan gear. The away design is from the 2016 student tee. The home design is from this football tee. I really dig some of the new designs that have been introduced by Nike and co, so I thought they would look great as wallpaper.
I have a lot more wallpapers to share before the start of the season. I'm aiming to share a few every week leading up to the first game. Stay tuned and Go Blue!
So, I want to bring my family to the best home game on our schedule this year. Hopefully so they can be part of a fully packed stadium and electric crowd. The only problem is I don't know what game would be best.
Wisconsin might come in with 1-2 losses and that might deflate any hype for the game. Penn State might be undefeated or have 1 loss but we have been playing them and Wisconsin just returned to our schedule after a few years of haitus.
What do you guys think would be the best game to go to?
Also the prices in tickets are about the same. I plan on spending $180 on each ticket as of today. But maybe the ticket prices will drop?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
I'll continue with the TBT series as long as the mods are ok with it and I have subjects to write about. I have a response for next week's subject, but it's also that time of year to get the kids back off to college so I might have to miss a week.
This next guy was someone I considered the most consistent guy on the team. Like all the other subjects I've written about, I have a tremendous amount of respect for them because they were really good football players but even better students. He was one of those guys that earned the complete and unwavering confidence of all his teammates and every coach because of the way he carried himself and went about his business . He was Mr. Reliable - steady, solid, smart, and unshakeable. He wasn’t the biggest receiver, and he’ll be the first to tell you he wasn’t the fastest but damn, he showed up for work every single day.
Ken “Pinky” Higgins comes from a long line of Michigan Wolverines: his grandfather, his mom, his dad, an uncle, an aunt, and two of his three brothers all attended the University of Michigan. It seemed liked the least surprising decision in the history of recruiting when he ultimately chose the Wolverines, but it wasn’t as cut and dried as you might think.
He played high school football for Coach Jim Ritter at Lakeview High School in Battle Creek, Michigan. He was lightly recruited as a junior and considered a MAC-level talent by his own coaches. However, one of his dad’s friends, Hugh Wright – a former golfer at Michigan – believed Kenny was the caliber of student-athlete that would excel at UofM. It was Mr. Wright who sent Bo his high school game film. Bo must have liked what he saw because he sent assistant coach Paul Schudel out to his next game. And what a game he had: 9 receptions for almost 250 yards in the first half alone. Coach Schudel had seen enough. His performance sealed the deal. A short time later, a scholarship offer was extended.
Although Michigan was his favorite team, Bo’s grind it out offense wasn’t exactly a wide receiver’s dream scenario. The other schools recruiting him – Purdue (with QB Chris/Jim Everett, Michigan State (Dave Yarema), Boston College (Doug Flutie), and Stanford (some really smart guy, probably)– liked to throw the ball around the field a hell of a lot more than the old man. There was also a pretty big stable of receivers on the roster: Vince Bean, Paul Jokisch, Gilvanni Johnson, Triando Markray, and Steve Johnson to name a few. In the end though, the choice came down to winning a lot of wins, continuing the family legacy, and maybe catch a few passes from some guy named Harbaugh.
Ironically, the very first pass thrown to Mr. Reliable, he dropped. It was against Michigan State in 1983 and the true freshmen found himself forced into action a lot sooner than he anticipated (two upperclassmen served disciplinary action for violations the week before). “I was pretty nervous, and looking back, entirely unprepared to play.” But everything went pretty well, and in the 4th quarter with the game well in hand, backup QB Dave Hall threw a pass to Higgins on an “I” route. As freshman receivers tend to do, he waited for the ball to come to him rather coming back to meet it. As the ball arrived, so did the State’s DB and the ball fell incomplete. To this day, Hall doesn’t let Kenny forget his first pass.
Things would get better and Ken would settle into his role as a clutch receiver who only rarely got yelled at by Bo and Jerry Hanlon. He had his best game in 1986 in a night game against Wisconsin at Camp Randall. He was sick all day with a fever and nausea, but with Paul Jokisch out with an injury, Ken was the next man up and he damn sure wasn't going to call in sick. That turned out to be a good decision as he caught 8 passes from Harbs for 150 yards in the Wolverines victory – Bo’s 200th career win.
In his 4 years at Michigan, Ken would be a part of 36 wins, a Big 10 Championship and Rose Bowl, and go a combined 6-2 against MSU and OSU. He caught 36 passes for 621 yards his senior year, including 1 touchdown and an 18.8 yards per catch average. The touchdown was memorable for me personlly because it was the first game I made the travel squad. Pinky’s touchdown gave us a 35-0 nothing lead going into the half. As we walked to the locker room, Coach Moeller told me to be ready to go in the second half. I wasn’t 2nd string, but with a 35 point lead, even the 3rd (or 4th) stringers would get some significant playing time. Something, something, something about the best laid plans and, well... The 2nd stringers played like ass and Moeller saw it as a teaching moment, so he kept them in the game. I totally understood. I wasn’t owed anything and if the backups needed work, so be it. The Hoosier fans, on the other hand, weren’t quite as understanding. You won’t live through a more humbling experience than when INDIANA FANS (!) start busting your balls about playing time. From the fan in the stands, “Sooooo, how many points do you have to be up before they put you in?” So yea, I vividly remember Ken’s first and only TD that year.
You might have asked yourself where Ken got the nickname “Pinky.” Bo called him that almost from the first day he stepped on campus. Ken would askn who Pinky Higgins was but Bo would just smirk and walk away. In his four years on campus, he never got an answer. It would be decades later before the answer revealed itself. Ken’s brother was at a baseball game, thumbing through the program and what do you know – there’s a former player/coach/general manager named Frank “Pinky” Higgins whose career in baseball spanned the 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s. Bo was a huge baseball fan and loved pulling obscure names from the distant past. I am fairly certain Bo nicknamed backup QB Wilbur Odom “Blue Moon” long before UM Alum James Earl Jones mentioned that name in “A Field of Dreams”.
In one particularly memorable game his junior year in 1985, we were playing South Carolina at their place in the second game of the season. We had just beat Notre Dame the week before but South Carolina was ranked #11 and the favorite to win this game. If you recall, 1985 was Bo’s best defense and we put the clamps on the Gamecocks that day. Up to this point, Ken was playing sparingly and mostly when the games were out of hand. Anyway, Bo called a pass play and Jim threw to Kenny who hauled in his first career reception. He trotted off the field wearing a huge smile while resuming his place next to Bo, waiting for the next time he’d get called in. After a minute or so, Bo finally noticed the enormous grin on Pinky’s face, and asked, “was that your first catch?” Ken replied in the affirmative. Bo smiled, turned around, and resumed calling plays. As the drive matriculated down the field and we entered the red zone, Bo put Kenny back in the game and called a fade route. If you’re young or aren’t familiar with Bo’s penchant for running the ball, a fade route was literally the last play on the last page of his play sheet. But he called it nonetheless. It was incomplete (underthrown according to Ken. I’m still waiting for Harbaugh to confirm), but that moment stood out for Ken. Bo didn’t make a big production out of it. He didn’t announce it or set it up. He called it matter-of-factly as sort of salute to a player he had tremendous respect for. That’s the kind of thing he’d do reward a player for his hard work and dedication. It’s one of Bo’s many attributes that player’s carried with them for the rest of their lives.
While at Michigan, Ken roomed with defensive tackle Dave Folkersma and the Schulte brothers – Todd and Tim. He lived in a fraternity his junior year, and then across the street from the Blue Front (“may it rest in peace”) his senior year.
Despite playing his freshman year, he was redshirted his sophomore season and therefore eligible for a 5th year in 1987. Ken faced an almost identical decision that Tim Williams recounted in his story: return for a final season or head off to law school. In Ken’s case, professional football wasn’t a realistic opportunity but playing for Bo and his teammates was tough to leave behind. He talked with Bo and also consulted with the admissions people at UM Law about the possibility of starting school in the summer, then taking a lighter load during the season. In the end, Ken felt the best choice was to hang up the cleats and move onto the next stage of his life. Only, it wouldn’t be in Ann Arbor, but rather on the famed campus in Cambridge Massachusetts. Ken earned his JD from Harvard and entered private practice upon graduation. After 5 years, he joined a private equity firm and ultimately became a partner at Greene Holcomb Fisher in Minneapolis, a boutique investment bank focused on Mergers and Acquisitions and advisory work specializing in the healthcare industry. Recently, his company was purchased by BMO Financial Group, a large financial institution out of Canada. Ken will remain with the new company and continue leading M&As.
He’s been married to his wife Laura – also a Michigan alum – for 26 years. They have two daughters, the oldest of which starts her first year at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, and the youngest begins her senior year at Penn. She’s also the captain of swim team and sports editor of the school newspaper. (Are you reading this, Brian?). Ken tried his best to get his girls to go to Michigan, but they wanted to blaze their own paths. Despite shunning the Maize and Blue, the girls are still big Michigan fans and will probably do just fine.
Ken still stays in touch with some of his older teammates: Phil Logas, a wide receiver who is now an attorney in Florida. Russ Rein, QB that took over for Harbaugh when he broke his arm in the ’84 MSU game and is now an executive at the Mayo Clinic. John Balourdos, a lineman who is a commercial real estate in Chicago. Clay Miller and also the Schulte brothers who were originally from Kentucky. Also, punter Monty Robbins who runs a mortgage bank back home in Kansas.
When he’s not busy with work or taking care of his girls, Ken and Laura devote their time and resources to Wilderness inquiry, a program that sponsors inner city youth and individuals with disabilities on camping, hiking, canoeing and other shared outdoor activities. They’re also active donors to the University of Michigan, endowing a scholarship for the swim team in honor of Ken’s parents who put so much emphasis on education and willingly funded Ken and his 3 brother’s education. Ken and Laura chose swimming because they appreciate how hard the swimmers work, and as a small tribute to their girls who are both participated in the sport. And, true to his character, he wanted to recognize a sport at Michigan that doesn’t have the highest profile but has been tremendously successful. Sounds an awful lot like Mr. Reliable.
Those who stay…
Ken played from 1983-1986 and wore #31
His favorite restaurant in Ann Arbor is Zingerman’s
The best dish he cooks is his mom Spaghetti Sauce recipe.
If he had a son he would allow him to play football. Like a lot of former players, football teaches young men a lot of valuable lessons: hard work, dedication, and the sense of being part of something bigger than yourself.
Ken's memorable TD catch against Indiana in 1985. Yours truly was on the sidelines...the entire game. Did I mention it was 35-0 at the half?
...days until Chris Perry watches the 2016 Michigan Wolverines dominate the Rainbow Warriors.
Yeah yeah yeah...Jamie Morris this, Jamie Morris that. Well, I was born in 1981, which means I did not get a chance to see Jamie's playing football. I was not into American football until around 1991 when my dad showed it to me. Chris Perry is one of my all-time favorite Michigan players.
That said, Chris played under Lloyd Carr from 2000 to 2003. His senior year saw 1,674(!) yards and eighteen touchdowns. He criminally finished FOURTH in the Heisman voting that year. He earned All-American honors and the Doak Walker Award. He was also named the MVP of the Big Ten. Against MSU (pictured above), he set a Michigan record for carries (51) in a 27-20 win. Chris finished his career with 3,696 yards and thirty-nine touchdowns. He was then selected by the Bengals in 2004, but his NFL career did not last very long.
Chris Perry tribute courtesy of Wolverine Historian:
Here is a picture of Jamie to make people who prefer him feel better.
Only twenty-three days, folks. Twenty....three...
And just two weeks from tomorrow is the first game of the NCAA season.