We are lucky to have constant reminders of Pat, through his family, the student's lives he impacted and this scholarship fund. And when I asked Brian to help out our cause he was more than willing and suggested I write a post as a diary entry. So instead of just plugging the Auction (which is now in it's second go round) I thought I'd provide you with information pertaining to the process of gathering the auction items, for instance, what its like tracking down numerous former Michigan athletes and the gratitude associated with the process. I also hope we can provide some insight into the impact Pat has had on our community, not just at Kinesiology, but University wide. So I sent a few questions to Auction Co-Founder Noel Cimmino who has attacked this effort with sincere passion, the kind that would make Pat proud.
Thanks so much for your time and please take a minute to continue reading and sign up for the auction.
Co-Chair Pat Maloy Auction
Vice-Chair Kinesiology Alumni Board
Dedicated mgoblog reader
Noel, what's it been like trying to track down all these tremendous former Michigan athletes?
Hard work for sure but for a good cause. I have a full time job (I don't work for the University) plus a family so finding the time is tricky. I'm a firm believer in helping causes that matter to me and I wouldn't be the person I am nor in the place where I am in life had I not spent my undergraduate days at Michigan and met people like Professor Maloy. Like many people, I don't have the money to just cut a check and endow a scholarship. However, when you think about your professional and personal contacts, you might be surprised what you have to offer back. For me, I knew a lot of people in the world of sports having previously worked in that industry and having majored in Sports Management. I figured that if I couldn't cut that check, maybe I could find a way to sell something of value in order to raise that money. After a few phone calls and conversations to some fellow former students of Professor Maloy who also have connections to the sports world, everything fell into place. SInce I've started this project a few alums have gotten a hold of me with similar ideas. One owns an arcade and is thinking about starting a scholarship and holding a day at his arcade where the proceeds go towards starting it up. A couple of young accountants had the same idea of offering a day of their services doing tax returns and using the proceeds to start a small scholarship at Michigan. The possibilities are endless, people just need to put their minds towards it and think about what they can offer. Despite seeming like hard work it must also be kind of cool to talk to so many former Michigan athletes... As far as the actual task of finding the former players, yes, it does take some time. Some of the former players update their information with the University so its not so hard, particularly the ones in metro Detroit. Others require a lot more research on my part. E-mail, Google and Facebook are very very helpful. Many of the former players from the late 80's and 90's remember Professor Maloy and they've jumped at the chance to help out. Most recognize that this is a good cause and are happy to help as well once asked. Its definitely been a treat to meet these guys in person. Its also a unique perspective on the guys who are now done with football to see what they do with themselves after their playing days are over. I'm happy to report that the former players I've been dealing with all seem to be doing very well for themselves. In terms of specifics, I'd say Mark Messner and Billy Taylor win the award for the purely nicest guys. Charles Woodson and I had a pretty interesting conversation focused on wine (Charles has his own label and became an enophile while playing for Oakland, their training camp is in Napa Valley). Rod Payne and Jim Abbott were the most eager to help and Rod was a particularly good conversation in light of his perspective as a coach for another University's football program. If you want to talk football, John Wangler is the man, I could have spent all day just talking Michigan football with him. Anthony Carter was very gracious. He had me meet him at his house in Florida and he was very pleasant, happy to help and he seems to really miss Ann Arbor. I'm still blown away by Tyrone Wheatley. That guy wants so much out of his life, the life of his kids that he coaches and to give back to the communities that are relevant to him. I found him very inspiring and not the least bit affected. Larry Foote definitely got the award for Mr. Personality. If that guy doesn't run for Mayor of Detroit at some point, we're all missing out. All that said, the singular most memorable meeting for me was Bob Chappuis from the 1947 National Championship team. He had me meet him at his home and after we talked for an hour and he signed some items he took me around his home and showed me all of his memorabilia from his playing days including a copy of Life Magazine that featured an amazing picture of him and his then cheerleader girlfriend who is now his wife of many years. He showed me a wonderful letter that Fritz Crisler wrote to all the players to inspire them and talked about his service in the Air Force in World War Two. He's really an amazing guy.
What inspired you to start this scholarship?
So many things. Like many people, I've lost family members and friends to cancer. While my sister was a sophomore at Michigan she was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. The first thing that went through my mind was "how can a 19 year old have cancer? Thats for older people". As I learned later from sitting with her through chemotherapy treatments at the UofM Cancer Center, cancer clearly doesn't discriminate by age. There were too many young kids, too many high school and college aged kids who should be worrying about grades and where the party is on Saturday and not when their next radiation treatment is going to be. My sister made it through but I remember distinctly when she went to a funeral of a girl who was also being treated as she was who never made it out of high school. Shortly after my sister went into remission, Professor Maloy was diagnosised and, sadly lost his battle with esophageal cancer in 2001. I hope everyone gets the opportunity somewhere along their educational career to bond with a teacher or professor who helps them finally flip that switch and understand the whole point of education as something more than just a series of hurdles towards a professional career. Professor Maloy was that for me and his passing hurt a lot. The final straw occurred during a UofM Alumni Association event a few years later where I was chatting with an alum who was boasting about the recent admission of his daughter. A few hours later when I was walking back to my car I saw the same man standing by his car in tears. I talked to him and as it turned out his wife had been diagnosed with cancer and while insurance paid for much of her treatment, it had not covered everything and the remaining health care costs and the time he had to take time off from work to care for her had drained their finances. He was crying because he was contemplating having to send his daughter to community college because he couldn't afford a Michigan education for her. That was a defining moment for me. At some point you have to stop saying "that's a shame" and get off your rear and be the one to do it. If our little band of alums can make a Michigan education affordable for students like that alum's daughter, we've done good.
Why is it important to carry on the legacy of Pat Maloy?
No one should go through their life without having had that teacher, professor, coach or mentor who takes the time with you to really show you what an education is really about, what can be done with it, and what's out there. Pat was a lawyer before he was a professor. I didn't go into college with any thoughts of being a lawyer. There are none in my family but Pat taught the sports law class at UofM back then and was the first to pull me aside and put me on to the path of considering it. I've been practicing law for eleven years now and would absolutely never have considered it had Pat not got a hold of me. I knew Pat meant a lot to me but through the course of this process I'm still surprised when a former player tells me about their memories of Pat, or when I talk to some of the people who work in the football office or athletic department like Coach Hutchins from the Softball program, or Coach Carr and his secretary Mary Passink who remember Pat from his days of counseling their former-student athletes. Professor Maloy touched a lot of lives and the ease with which people who knew him have flocked to our effort has clearly proven how much he meant. I know there are a lot of professors at the University who have inspired so many and I would only hope their former students would find a way to do the same for them.
Tell me about the items...
This is the second go-round for the Maloy Scholarship Auction. We only had about seven or eight months to put the first auction together once we got the green light for the Scholarship back in 2007. Now we've had two years to put together Round Two and where we only made contact with about 20 or 25 former Michigan football players the last time, we've stretched that to more than 100 former athletes from the four revenue sports this time around and we're still getting items in every day as the auction runs the entire Michigan football season (if you've got tickets or something you'd like to donate, there is a way to contact us on the website). We've also focused on getting a lot of multi-signed items. We're trying to bring more to the table. One of our jerseys is signed by three famous Michigan quarterbacks who wore #7 (Rick Leach, Chad Henne, and Drew Henson). You'll see a mini-helmet signed by four of the standout running backs from the 70's, three of the stars of the 2007 team rather than just one, six famous offensive linemen rather than just one or two. Then of course, there is the coup de grace. Just follow the link http://www.cmarket.com/auction/item/Item.action?id=92792904. Can't describe this one with words. Its been my personal pet project for the last three years and I expect the winning bidder to give it a good home. We also have lots of non-UofM items including a pretty solid NFL collection including several current players and a bunch of Hall of Famers and some great items signed by Michael Phelps. You'll also find "experiential" items like the chance for your child to be an Honorary Captain at a UofM Soccer game, great seats to the GLI paired with dinner at a restaurant in Detroit, and of course, Michigan vs. Ohio State tickets. As I mentioned, you can see about 110 items right now but every time one ends, I post another. By the end of football season I suspect we'll go through about 200 to 225 items but you'll have to keep checking back to see what's new. Items range in price from the affordable to the extravagant. With a number of items in the 60-80 dollar range.