The Michigan Man does exist despite what drivel you may have recently read; He's just not what everybody thinks he is. ‘They’ think a Michigan Man is some kind of prototype forged in the mold Bo Schembechler. Bo’s famous quote seared into the public perception an awesome and tenacious image that resonated within the Michigan community and throughout the sports world to this very day, a generation later; the very definition of a meme. As the man who coined the phrase and undoubtedly a Michigan Man himself, he himself is said image.
A closer Look at the context of the quote reveals the true definition of Michigan Men. Bill Frieder accepts a job elsewhere and leaves Michigan behind. As soon as that agreement was made, it was determined that Frieder was not a Michigan Man. At that moment he was no longer the right man to lead Michigan.
So, the definition of a Michigan Man is simple: He who is unequivocally devoted to Michigan. A Michigan Man stands for what he believes is right and has the grace to acknowledge and correct his errors. A Michigan Man loves Michigan and represents her with courage, valor, and passion; to his grave. A Michigan Man respects his adversary but will never fear him.
Unfortunately, many within the Michigan community do not understand this simple definition. This is not to say that they do not love Michigan, but they fail to see what it was about Bo that made him a Michigan Man. Gerald Ford. Bob Ufer. Those who stayed in ’69. Gary Moeller. Tshimanga Biakabutuka. Lloyd Carr. Tom Brady. Brian Cook. This list never ends.
Bo and Lloyd were clear-cut Michigan Men but they do not encompass all Michigan Men. What I saw on August 31 was stark contrast to what I would expect to see from any of the afore mentioned men, but make no mistake…I saw a Michigan Man.
What we’re dealing with in this episode of evolution is the unknown. It is scary to not know what to expect and it’s OK to be critical of what you see. But it’s not OK to reject someone because you don’t understand him and are so attached to the mystique of what has come before that you won’t take the time to get to know him. That’s not Michigan.
Do you love a mystique or do you love Michigan?