"Jim's a tough guy and you can see his personality is all over this football team," Fitzgerald said.
Okay, inspired by Breaking B1G, here's the Big Ten as Game of Thrones characters. A note on spoilers: These comparisons may contain info from the TV series through the most recent episode, but not through future events contained in the books. Enjoy - and debate and correct me below! With so many GoT characters, I had to leave many great ones out, so I'd love to hear yours!
Jon Snow, one of the few true heroes we can root for in Game of Thrones. He comes from a historic family that has fallen on hard times. While Jon’s talents seem to be spoiled away for scoffers on The Wall, you know it is only a matter of time before he reclaims the Stark name as one to be reckoned with.
Tywin Lannister, basically a giant dick. But he’s a smart one and totally okay with skirting whatever rules, customs or traditions needed in order to secure the legacy of the Lannister name. Mastermind a massacre at a wedding? Sure. Pit your sons against each other so you can get what you want? Of course. You hated his bastard grandson because he was pure evil, but you hate Tywin not because of his inherent evil, but because he’s willing to use his superior intellect in evil ways.
Rickon, little brother of Jon Snow.
Danaerys Targaryean. From a line of past kings, Dany now hopes to reclaim what was once her family’s. Things were starting to look good for a while – a young, up and coming warrior jumped on board and they did some damage, taking hold of several cities. However, before Dany could set sail for her ultimate prize, that young up and comer left to go settle restlessness in previously conquered cities. So now Dany sits in Mereen. And rules. She’s the biggest fish in Slaver’s Bay, but she still is a long way off from once again challenging the other powers.
Mance Rayder, king of the land of waste and nothingness north of the wall. Mance lives in a land that has little as far as entertainment, culture or civilization in general, really. Yet, he is King in that vast waste and
corn farmers tribes north of the wall follow him, to hopeful glory. Mance has yet to take total power, but it would be foolish to ignore him.
Mace Tyrell is kinda just around. He’s a big deal because he holds the cards to Highgarden, but really everyone knows that other people are running the show. He does what can to bolster the Tyrell name, attaching his daughter to the soon-to-be-king de jour. But in the end, he’s not the prize his daughter is. He doesn’t have the wits his mother-in-law does, nor the youth and strength of his other prized child. He just exists out of necessity.
Hot Pie is a jovial young lad that basically stays out of the fray of all the major players. Historically, Hot Pie had some powerful allies, but decided to stay on the sidelines and avoid the troubles of warfare. Hot Pie does cook in a fancy new restaurant now and occasionally provides some intrigue.
Selyse Baratheon is Stannis’ wife and the queen of Dragonstone. Despite this, Stannis has a mistress who has given him a son… of sorts. Selyse doesn’t come out and say it, but she looks at Melisandre as quite the rival. The problem is nobody cares enough about Selyse to consider her a rival.
Poddrick isn’t crucial to anything, really. But he’s smart and he works hard, despite not having a famous name or pedigree. And he always seem to be good for some surprises here and there. Plus, rumor is that Pod has quite a big, err... drum.
Stannis Baratheon is unwilling to bend to any new ways. Stannis has the rightful claim to the throne but .the problem is nobody cares. Stannis is uncharismatic, cold, grey, bland and a punt-a-saur. Everyone recognizes that he always could be a threat, but also quickly dismiss him as a relic of the past.
Tyrion Lannister. Tyrion is the smartest player in the game. Unlike the other major powers who rely on brawn, speed, and recruiting, Tyrion plays the game by outwitting his opponents. While that allows him to play with the big boys, his disadvantage is cripples his potential in the Game.
Sansa Stark Pretty to look at, important because of her mere existance, but fairly inconsequential
Walder Frey. Walder Frey was originally aligned with the Starks and the North. However, sensing an opportunity for a payday, Walder turned coat and aligned with the Lannisters. Walder Frey’s house gains a bit of prestige in the process, but everyone still considers them a house of little influence and power.
To orient yourselves: I have no memories of the Fab Five. In fact, my earliest memories of Michigan Basketball were late in my high school years as Tommy Amaker took over. I graduated from high school in 2003, the second year of Amaker’s run as Michigan basketball head coach. I graduated from UM in December of 2007 and continued in grad school at UM.
My last year in the Maize Rage was the 2009-10 season. I fell in love with Michigan basketball because of the Maize Rage during a time when it was comprised of a fraction of the students it is today. In that time, I truly feel as though I’ve had a front row seat to something special. I have seen the essence of college athletics rebuild a program from the very bottom. This is intended to honor those who never got to a Final Four themselves, but played a major role in getting Michigan back to where they are today.
2003-04: NIT Champions
Lester Abram, Chris Hunter, Bernard Robinson
Wow, what Michigan Men.
Bernard Robinson Jr sits at 23rd all-time in games played for the University of Michigan, 210, starting in 104 of them (15th all-time). Given the unfortunate off-the-court troubles of Bernard, it might be tough to commend him. Yet, his contribution cannot be denied. Bernard was drafted late in the second round by the Charlotte Bobcats and had a short NBA career before moving on to Europe. Thanks, Bernard.
2004-05: The First Amaker Collapse
A season that saw Michigan lose their do-it-all guy in Robinson, but nobody else, failed to find any kind of rhythm, ultimately finishing 13-18. If there’s anything worth pointing to in the 04-05 season, it was the coming out party of team MVP Dion Harris.
One of the original “H-Bomb” recipients, Harris led the team with 444 points on the year, out-dueling second place Courtney Sims by well over 100 points. In a team full of verterans, it was the sophomore Harris that shined. Harris would finish his career in the top ten in games played, top-15 in scoring, and second all-time in 3-pt field goals made. A pure college scorer, Dion Harris was the first Mr. Basketball in Michigan to go to U-M since the Ed Martin scandal and was a key component in the turnaround. Thanks, Dion.
2005-06: So… Close
I will take this memory with me to the grave. Michigan hosting #8 Illinois. All-Everything point guard Dee Brown coming into Crisler and Michigan looking for the upset. That night, with Illinois fans filling the upper level, Daniel Horton poured in 33 on the lauded Dee Brown and Michigan topped the Illini. It was late February. Michigan was 18-7 in a very good Big Ten and had just taken a top-10 scalp; we were going dancing and rushing Crisler’s court. What followed that year will probably be the lasting memory of the Tommy Amaker era. Michigan would finish the season by losing to a top-15 OSU on the road, an average Indiana squad on senior night (or day as it were) in Ann Arbor, and a 5-11 Minnesota team in the first round on the Big Ten tournament. No dancing, no NCAA streak broken.
However, this season is very special to me. The players on the UM team I initially fell in love with were all seniors: Graham Brown, Sherrod Harrell, Daniel Horton, Chris Hunter.
Graham Brown ranks 25th all-time in games played and 11th all-time in starts. Additionally, he ranks in the top-25 all time in rebounds. Of course, these lofty achievements pale in comparison to his standings in bone-crunching screens (1st all-time) and nickname awesomeness (2nd all-time; Hambone). Thanks, Graham.
Sherrod Harrell probably flies under the radar the most of this group. He snuck into the 100-game club, however, finishing his career on that milestone. He was a co-captain with Brown and Lester Abraham. Thanks, Sherrod.
On the court, Daniel Horton provided some amazing moments, as described above. Like Robinson (though moreso), off the court, there were some troubles. I thought about leaving Robinson and Horton out of this, but instead will just focus on nights like the Dee Brown destruction and choose to remember the good while not ignoring the bad. Thank you, Daniel, for an amazing night in February of 2006.
Like Sherrod Harrell, Chris Hunter is easily overlooked by some. However, Chris was vital during the Amaker years. Hunter is also a member of the 100-games played club, checking in at 105. He also makes an interesting appearance in the record book as one of only a few players to be perfect from the line with atleast 10 attempts in a game (vs. South Florida). He was one of those glue guys that held a team together. Thanks, Chris.
2006-07: The Beginning of the End
Michigan would start the year 11-1 before heading into a matchup with then #1 UCLA. That game was ugly, though it would not be the last time Michigan played the number one overall team. However, carrying a 12-3 record into conference play, it appeared that this could be the year. To close out the year, Michigan hosted #1 OSU during spring break. I remember bring my brother to campus for the game and then the pain of driving home, agonizing over Courtney Sims’ missed dunk that could have tied the game late. Michigan would fall 61-65, finishing the regular season 20-11 and squarely on the bubble. If only that dunk fell, their ticket would have been punched. Alas, it did not. Michigan won the 8-9 game against Minnesota only to run into the buzz saw that was OSU that year. Another year without dancing.
Lester Abrahm was a 5th year senior captain that did everything the right way. In the end he would finish top-25 in games played, games started and 29th all-time in scoring. A true captain and Michigan man. Thanks, Lester.
Courtney Sims was the big man that many thought could have been more. However, looking back on his career it is hard to be very disappointed. Courtney Sims finished his career fifth all-time in games played, seventh all-time in games started, 28th in scoring, 13th in rebounding, and second all-time in blocks. An amazing collegiate career that would only be rivaled by his serve on the tennis courts (Sims was an all-state tennis player in Massachusetts, IIRC). Thanks, Courtney.
Brent Petway, or more appropriately, Air Georgia. The McDonough, GA native was best known for his pre-game one-man dunk contests, appropriately awesome nickname (and one of the best Maize Rage signs on the era), and senior night haircut. If memory serves, he was on the receiving end of a Jerrett Smith (lol) lob pass in that OSU game that was almost a part in what could have been the biggest game of Tommy Amaker’s career. What would have been. Petway is another member of the 100 games played club, finished top 40 all time in rebounds and sixth all-time in blocks. Thanks, Brent.
2007-08: Enter John Beilein
John Beilein’s first season in Ann Arbor will go down as one of the worst in Michigan basketball history. It’s funny writing that now. At the time, it was a grind. Players were mismatched in a system that relied on strengths that simply were not there. However, the biggest victory of that year was not any of the 10 that were won on the court. It was John Beilein convincing both Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims to stay with Michigan, despite the departure of Tommy Amaker.
Ron Coleman, was a senior from just down the road in Romulus that year. The team captain who once was an underclassmen three-point specialist for teams that were on the verge of the NCAA tournament saw his role dramatically altered. In the end it was sad seeing Ron Coleman score just 3 points in his Crisler finale. However, true to form, it was a three-pointer. And in the end, that’s exactly how I’ll remember him. Thanks, Ron.
2008-09: Queme Los Barcos
Why hello NCAA tournament. In what was one of the remarkable turnarounds in Michigan history, John Beilein took the previously 10-24 Michigan Wolverins to the NCAA tournament the next year. It was close, though. A packed Crisler Arena waited and waited. Holding our collective breaths as the selection show neared its end before: Kansas City. 7 seed. Clemson. 10 seed: “out of Ann Arbor.” Eruption, craziness, pure bliss. We’re going dancing. My lasting memory that year will be walking around Kansas City with all kinds of Michigan fans and thinking “wow, I am so lucky.” Michigan would pull off the first round upset before falling to the Oklahoma Blake Griffins.
Of course, the 2009 season was that of the walk-on captain point guards: CJ Lee and David Merritt. They’ll forever go down as fan favorite for their steady, if not spectacular, play on court and their true definition of leadership. Neither CJ Lee nor David Merrit are anywhere to be found in the University of Michigan men’s basketball record book. Let that sink in. Yet, they led the Wolverines to their first NCAA tournament appearance in a decade. Thanks, CJ and David.
2009-10: The Doubts Return
Certainly, losing only two walk-on guards and returning two NBA-prospects should result in continued success, right? Such was not the case for the Wolverines. Michigan won their first three games but would never win three consecutive games again for the rest of the year. It was a year that will be defined by the birth of “Death to Backboards” and Evan Turner’s Big Ten tournament stealing half-court heave. In a season that was all kinds of turbulent, it was no shock that Manny Harris decided to forgo his senior seson…
Manny Harris, despite his incompatibility in Beilein’s system, was a key component in leading Michigan “back.” His and-one to seal the upset of Clemson in the 2009 NCAA tournament will be his lasting legacy, however he made his mark in the record books as well. Harris finished tenth all-time in scoring for the Wolverines as well as in the top 35 in rebounding. Harris would go on to sign undrafted with the Cleveland Cavaliers and have some pretty remarkable games for the Cavs.
DeShawn Sims battled through incomparable adversity during his time at Michigan, including the death of his brother. In the end, Sims earned his degree and finished as a team captain that was a major component in the end of the tourney streak. Sims finished sixth all time in games played, 16th in scoring, 13th in rebounding and ninth in field goals made. He’ll forever be remembered for his monster 28 point game against Kyle Singler (who had just 15) in the 2008 upset of Duke. Thanks, DeShawn.
2010-2011: Back to the Tourney
Behind a hot shot sophomore point guard and Tim Hardaway Jr. (sound familiar?) Michigan returned to the tourney in 2011. However, it wasn’t easy. Michigan started Big Ten play 1-6 and there were very audible rumblings for John Beilein’s firing as Michigan stared a 1-7 start dead in the face with a trip to East Lansing on the docket. East Lansing, meet Zack Novak: Novak poured in 19 to save the Michigan season. The Wolverines would go onto win 5 of the next 6 Big Ten games with the only loss at #1 OSU. That turn-around led to a more comfortable berth in the tournament: as a 8 seed in Duke’s regional. That week, the Fab Five documentary came out and all Ann Arbor could talk about was “Shocking the World.” Perhaps it wasn’t the world, but the state of Tennessee was shocked when Michigan ended Bruce Pearl’s career as a Volunteer with a 30 point beat down. Onto Duke. Where Michigan shocked…
Darius Morris’ runner that could have shocked the world was long. Perhaps by an inch. And just like that, his stay in Ann Arbor was over. Though only a two year stay, Morris flourished in John Beilein’s 1-3-1. The 6’4” point guard used his length to perfection in the wacky Beilein zone, and Beilein used his oversized point guard to exploit mismatches throughout the year. Darius would go onto the NBA were he’s enjoying a productive career, but not before: notching the third best assist per game season in Michigan basketball history (behind Cary Grant and Trey Burke), breaking the season assist record (later broken by Burke), 7 total 10-plus assist games, and one of only three triple-doubles in the history of Michigan basketball. Thanks, Darius.
2011-12: Big Ten Champions
With the early departure of Darius Morris, Michigan went to freshmen point guard Trey Burke to guide a mix of veterans and youngsters. Michigan would be ranked for the entire season, peaking at #10 late in the Big Ten season. While Burke proved to be an excellent replacement for the departed Morris, it was the season of senior captains Stu Douglass and Zack Novak.
Two barely-recruited, undersized, white boys from Indiana would lead Michigan to its first Big Ten championship in 26 years.
Stu Douglass – in addition to sporting a Spock-like haircut as a freshmen – was a prototypical example of what a player can be under John Beilein. Initially only an outside shooter (and a streaky one at times), Douglass turned into one of the teams most reliable ball handlers and its best off-ball defender by the end of his senior season – a compliment to both Douglass’ hard work and Beilein’s staff’s ability to develop players. Stu Douglass is the all-time leader in games played at the University of Michigan, beating out his partner in crime by two games. Douglass ranks fifth in career 3-pt field goals made and ninth in minutes played. He was the perfect ying to Zack Novak’s yang, providing a cool and calm leadership that led Michigan to that ever-elusive Big Ten championship. His number may not be retired, he may not be as dramatic and outgoing as #0, but he will never be forgotten by this Michigan basketball fan. Thanks, Stu.
Zack Novak started out as an undersized forward who missed a dunk that almost cost Michigan a win to Savannah St (!!!). He finished as a charge-drawing, dunk contest winning, Blake Griffin-checking stud of a glue man. He wore the number 0 for gosh sakes. A Michigan legend made from hard work, passion, and, yes, grit. As mentioned, Zack finished with two fewer games played than Stu, good for third all-time. He also finished third all-time in starts, behind Louis Bullock and Cary Grant. Novak cracked the top 50 all-time scorers and top 25 all-time rebounders. He finished eight 3-pters ahead of Douglass all-time, good for fourth in Michigan history. Zack Novak is the all-time leader in minutes played at the University of Michigan and is the only three-time captain in the history of the program. Simply a remarkable career. Thanks, Zack.
I didn’t plan writing this. It kind of just happened. And wow, 2,500 words later I am glad I did. I’ve always jokingly (but really serious) described myself as one of the few people who likes Michigan basketball more than Michigan football. I can honestly say I am proud of being a fan at the beginning and now enjoy where Beilein has taken us. I am so proud to call all of the above Michigan Men. Some fellow alumni, some not. But all Michigan Men. Writing this brought back so many great memories and I hope someone reading it feels the same way.
None of these players ever got the opportunity to play in the Final Four. But they are all a part of this. They all have contributed to this. Them and many others.
Enjoy tomorrow. It’s the icing on the cake. Win or lose, it has been a remarkable journey.
In the style of
Kevin Johnson arrived in Ann Arbor in the fall of 2007. The first athletic event he attended would forever shape the rest of his 6 years on the University of Michigan campus. Kevin found himself jumping up and down with joy on a typical Ann Arbor fall Saturday afternoon as Mario Manningham was dragged down after receiving a 46-yd pass from Chad Henne in what assuredly was going to be the key in avoiding an embarrassment of epic proportions. When Mountaineer Corey Lynch blocked the would-be game winning field goal, every Wolverine fan was stunned. Kevin, however, fell into a deep depression.
Kevin would go on to attend Michigan football and basketball games with regularity. The 2008 return to the NCAA tournament was just a slight reprieve from what was a year of routine disappointment for Kevin. By sophomore year, Kevin attempted to live the life of a regular UM student. Kevin settled on a political science major, hung out with friends and held down a campus job. Still, the pain from the Horror of 2007 stuck with Kevin. By the time graduation came in 2011, Kevin was at a loss. His inability to move past the Horror resulted in his girlfriend dumping him. After failed internship interview after failed internship interview, Kevin decided that grad school was his only choice.
In the fall of 2011, Kevin enrolled in Law School with a renewed vigor and things started to look up. Michigan football exceeded expectations in Brady Hoke’s first year and Kevin began dating Annie – who he quickly fell in love with. The following summer was full of promise, though Kevin still worried – was he past the unmentionable start to his college career? As the penultimate semester concluded Kevin’s life again was thrown into shambles. After an intense outburst following Michigan’s loss to Ohio State, Annie left Kevin, saying she could never date a man who put a sports team ahead of his girlfriend. Parents and friends warned Kevin of his impending massive debt and grim career prospects in the law field. The malaise returned, with no end in sight.
Still, Kevin kept going to athletic events. On February 5, 2013 Kevin witnessed the unthinkable – a Michigan basketball program cement itself as the nation’s top team. After six tumultuous years, it was suddenly worth it. As if the heavens said “All your travails have been for this moment. Enjoy it, my son.” Kevin would walk home on air that night, proudly wearing his banana suit. There was nothing in the world that could hold him back.
Feel free to add the stories of the other characters in what will be the greatest story told on MGoBlog since the Naked Banner Guy.
I figured this would be the easiest way to compile a list of potential inagural class candidates. The 190 comment thread would be a difficult place to keep track, so here we can be a little more organized. Make suggestions and I'll add them to the lists. Since this is just a way to keep track of potential candidates, feel free to throw out some "maybes." Mods, feel free to edit the OP accordingly.
This may also help keep that initial thread focused on the manner in which people are elected, etc. Without further adieu...
|Van Bergen, Ryan||2011|
|Van Bergen, Ryan||Football|
Saturday night, while we were doing our best to avoid the bros, the volleyball team upset #6 Illinois at Cliff Keen Arena. It was a huge game for the spikers with Lexi Zimmerman posting her second career triple double (43 assists, 13 digs and 13 kills) in an epic performance, even for the best volleyball player in the history of the program. Michigan now sits atop the Big Ten standings at 5-1 along with Illinois and Northwestern.
Senior setter Lexi Zimmerman is a two time All-American. She's got ups.
This year the volleyball team expected a bit of a transition after making the elite eight and then losing outside hitters Juliana Paz and Megan Bower to graduation. However the team is off to a scorching 16-2 start to the season, with a loss coming early on to Toledo and more lately at powerhouse Penn State. How have they done it? It's been an exciting mix of veterans and rookies for the Maize and Blue:
Everyone knows, or should know Lexi Zimmerman - the two time (soon to be three) All-American setter for the Wolverines. Lexi is the floor general and has been doing what she does - DOMINATE - all season for the Wolverines.
Junior Alex Hunt needed to step up big this season for the Wolverines and she has. She led the team with 19 kills against Illinois last Saturday and has shown that she can pick up the slack left by Paz and Bower.
Junior libero Sloane Donhoff anchors the back line for Michigan, routinely leading the team in digs.
Junior middle blocker Courtney Fletcher got off to a solid start early and is well on her way to surpass her kill totals from last season.
Several underclassmen have made a big impact on the team this year early on in their careers. After appearing in only seven sets last season, RS Sophomore Claire McElheny is off to a great start to the 2010 season. She has started 15 matches for the Wolverines and recorded 10 kills in M's upset of the Illini. Her contribution has certainly been a big one and helped in the replacement of Paz and Bower.
True freshmen Molly Toon and Jennifer Cross have come on strong and are showing some promise for Michigan's future. Jennifer Cross, a 6-4 middle blocker, has started 16 times this year for the Wolverines and notched 8 kills and 6 blocks against Illinois. Molly Toon, daughter of the NFL's Al Toon, came up big in the Wolverines' win over Illinois, notching a career high-tying 9 kills.
How They Got Here: 16-2 (5-1)
Michigan opened the season at the Toledo Classic, winning their first two games of the year before falling to the host Rockets in the championship game in five sets. Since then the Wolverines have been on a tear.
M won 12 straight matches including an early season win at Oregon State and sweeps of the Michigan/adidas Invitational and the ASU Sheraton Tournament.
To start Big Ten play, Michigan hosted and defeated Iowa and #15 Minnesota before taking their first conference road trip. On the road M beat OSU in 4 sets before travelling to Penn State. While Penn State isn't the beast that they have been in years past (currently standing at 3-3 in B10 play), the Nittany Lions took care of the Wolverines in straight sets.
The Wolverines returned home this past weekend to defeat Wisconsin and Illinois.
Tonight: MSU at 7pm; Saturday #20 Northwestern at 7pm (Live on BTN)
If you want to feel better about little sister, come to Cliff Keen tonight, where the Wolverines should be able to take care of the Spartans. Alex Hunt currently sits are 989 career kills and the good money says that she will notch kill 1000 against MSU tonight.
As previously mentioned, Northwestern is tied with Michigan atop the Big Ten standings. So Saturday's matchup is a big one with a lot on the line. Michigan will head back out on the road so it's important to get this win to set up what could be a great Big Ten season.
|Wed., Oct. 13||vs. Michigan State *||Ann Arbor, Mich.||7:00 p.m. ET|
|Fri., Oct. 15||vs. No. 20 Northwestern *||Ann Arbor, Mich.||7:00 p.m. ET|
|Fri., Oct. 22||at Indiana *||Bloomington, Ind.||7:00 p.m. ET|
|Sat., Oct. 23||at Purdue *||West Lafayette, Ind.||6:00 p.m. ET|
|Fri., Oct. 29||at Illinois *||Champaign, Ill.||7:00 p.m. CT|
|Sat., Oct. 30||at Wisconsin *||Madison, Wis.||7:00 p.m. CT|
|Fri., Nov. 5||vs. Penn State *||Ann Arbor, Mich.||7:00 p.m. ET|
|Sat., Nov. 6||vs. Ohio State *||Ann Arbor, Mich.||6:00 p.m. ET|
|Fri., Nov. 12||at Minnesota *||Minneapolis, Minn.||6:00 p.m. CT|
|Sat., Nov. 13||at Iowa *||Iowa City, Iowa||7:00 p.m. CT|
|Fri., Nov. 19||vs. Purdue *||Ann Arbor, Mich.||7:00 p.m. ET|
|Sat., Nov. 20||vs. Indiana *||Ann Arbor, Mich.||7:00 p.m. ET|
|Wed., Nov. 24||at Michigan State *||East Lansing, Mich.||6:30 p.m. ET|
|Sat., Nov. 27||at Northwestern *||Evanston, Ill.||7:00 p.m. CT|
If Michigan can go to 7-1 in conference play this week, they set themselves up for a legitimate run at a Big Ten Championship. The Big Ten is one of the best volleyball conferences in the nation, though, so they'll need to show up every night. A westernish road trip to Indiana and Purdue should produce two victories, but road games are road games. It'll be the following week at Illinois where we see what this team is made of. In their first true road test they fell hard to the Lions. Can they show up and upset the Illini for the second time on the season?
After four on the road, it doesn't get any easier with Penn State coming to town. But with Penn State's losses to graduation this could be the year (last year M took them to 5 sets) that Cliff Keen witnesses a victory over the Nittany Lions.
NEEDS MOAR PAZ
The following letter appears in the Fall issue of the Alumni Association Magazine. I have wrote a letter in response. I encourage you all to do the same and/or offer some feedback on my letter. This dude graduated in '61 and is probably completely out of touch with reality, but I still want to slap him across the face. And if the Alumni Association prints something like this, I think it says a lot about the pressure David Brandon will be faced with if this season does not go well.
Let's Return to Athletic Tradition
I have been a long-time supporter of U-M athletics. My dad was a track man, holding a Big Ten record for nine years. My daughter was a swimmer and lettered for four years. I went to school at U-M in the late '50s and graduated in 1961.
Now please ask me how I can support our two major sports teams when our University has let things go so far away from any and every Michigan tradition. I still have season tickets for football and basketball (sustaining member of the Victors Club), but sometimes I ask myself why. I am not alone with this very negative attitude, and only the future will tell the University how its supporters are disgusted. Just another example was that terrible defensive call for the last 2.2 seconds of the OSU game during the Big Ten Tournament. The University, regents and president are not responsible caretakers of our athletic tradition. Why Michigan fell in love with coaches from West Virginia, I have no idea, but they have put us back way before our glory days starting with 1969. The entire thing makes me upset.
The president is very kind to send us all a nice Christmas card every year, but I wish she could understand what is happening on State Street. The only positive thing I can think of is our new athletic director, but it bothers me he seems to support these coaches and that one of them was on the president’s selection team for his new position. I would assume his hands are tied for at least the next few years. Maybe when Michigan gets NCAA sanctions in August, we will all really understand how far we have fallen. Oh, but the football coach’s job is secure for yet another season. I guess someone forgot the old and new investments that the University has on State and Stadium streets.
T.H. Smith, '61
My letter to the Michigan Alumnus:
Stick By Our Teams, Keep Believing
T.H. Smith (’61) wrote a letter that appeared in the Fall ’10 edition of the Michigan Alumnus. Mr. Smith asked how he can support our two major sports teams. To Mr. Smith and anyone else who may feel similarly, I would like to offer a response to that question.
Coach Beilein, in just his second season in Ann Arbor, took a squad to the second round of the tournament – the first time Michigan had even made the NCAA tournament in over a decade. Additionally, Coach Beilein is highly regarded throughout the collegiate basketball sphere and is the head of the NCAA Ethics Coalition, a major reason that President Coleman trusted him for insight on the search for a new athletic director. Coach Beilein is a man of the utmost dignity and respect and deserves every Michigan fan and alum’s support.
Coach Rodriguez came into a difficult situation. Our football team happened upon a severe lack of depth in talent on both sides of the football, forcing Coach Rodriguez to rebuild from the bottom. He has come under fire for major violations even though they appear to be the result of a lack of institutional accountability in the athletic department.* And, yes, on the field he may have underachieved in the first two years of his tenure. However, he has said and done nothing but proudly represent the University of Michigan. Most importantly, he is the coach of 105 student athletes that proudly play for Michigan, and that should be reason enough to earn your support.
Last year Michigan Athletics saw great accomplishments in volleyball, hockey, softball, women’s tennis, women’s gymnastics, and water polo in addition to a National Championship in men’s gymnastics. All reasons to support the athletic program we love.
In closing, I leave you with this quote, and urge you to support our coaches and student-athletes in all sports:
“When your team is winning, be ready to be tough, because winning can make you soft; on the other hand, when your team is losing, stick by them. Keep believing.” – Bo Schembechler
EDIT: * Updated. Previous sentence referenced the Lloyd Carr era b/c that was when Labadie and Draper were hired, but it came off as being accusing of Lloyd, which I did not intend.